June AAC Recruiting Roundup

Patrick breaks down the state of AAC football recruiting in his June roundup!

June is usually the busiest month for football commitments outside of the month leading up to National Signing Day. June 2015 was certainly busy, with 28 members of the Scout 300 announcing their choices and 56 players committing to AAC schools. Here’s a look at each AAC football team’s current 2016 recruiting class, highlighting the newest commits. The teams appear in order of total commitments.

1. SMU: 17 commits

Top-rated commit: Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton QB David Moore, Scout’s 42nd-ranked QB and 3rd-ranked in Georgia.
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (0) WR (1) TE (0) OL (4) DL (3) LB (4) DB (4) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: The Mustangs top the AAC with 17 commits, 11 of which came in June (Two more came on May 31). Of those 11, nine are on defense. Three-star Mansfield (Texas) Timberview DE Michael Badejo was one of the bigger hauls for Chad Morris, choosing SMU over Texas Tech, Washington, Houston, Boise State, Illinois, Pittsburgh, Iowa and a few others. He joins Dallas Kimball DE Demerick Gary as June DL commits. The big offensive commit for the month was three-star Plano (Texas) interior OL Kadarius Smith. Smith, along with fellow June commit Harrison Barton, plus Jacob Todora and Braxton Webb gives the Mustangs a very good four-man offensive line class. SMU picked up four linebackers in June, including Sugar Land (Texas) Kempner OLB Jordan Ward and Mansfield Timberview OLB Craig JimLawson. SMU also added three defensive backs, led by Cedar Hill (Texas) CB Eric Sutton and Waco (Texas) Midway’s Christian Davis. It did lose Richmond (Texas) Bush defensive back Javian Smith, who flipped to Houston on June 16, just eight days after he committed to SMU.

Targets to watch: SMU wants to take about 25 players in the class, so there aren’t too many spots left. DeSoto (Texas) RB La’Darren Brown, Houston Stratford RB Rakeem Boyd, Waco (Texas) La Vega WR Brandon Benson, four-star Plano (Texas) East WR Audie Omotosho, Katy (Texas) Cinco Ranch TE Corey Rau and Jasper (Texas) TE Cody Mitchell are some offensive targets to watch, and most of them could decide by the end of the summer. SMU will likely take one player at each of those skill positions and then is done on offense. Defensively, Dallas Skyline DT Joe Wallace, Coppell (Texas) DE Solomon Wise, Flower Mound (Texas) DE Andrew Fitzgerald, Irving (Texas) Nimitz LB Noah Spears, Cedar Hill (Texas) safety Michael Clark and DeSoto DB A.J. Green are a few names to watch. Look for about five more defensive players.

2. Tulane: 13 commits

Top-rated commit: New Orleans St. Augustine ILB Giovanni LaFrance, Scout’s 49th-ranked ILB and second-ranked in Louisiana.

Commits by position: QB (1) RB (1) WR (0) TE (0) OL (2) DL (2) LB (4) DB (2) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: Tulane grabbed six commits in June, Miramar (Fla.) Everglades OL Keenan Forbes and Miramar (Fla.) OL Obinna Nwankwo. They joined the seven pre-June commits, led by LaFrance, who held offers from Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Arizona State and Cal. Tulane has its quarterback in Oxford (Miss.) QB Jack Abraham, a three-star and Scout’s 67th-ranked QB nationally. Abraham, Belle Chasse (La.) S Kazmi Antoine and Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee LB Kwanzi Jackson were the most notable early commits. Tulane lost three-star New Orleans McDonogh 35 DE Sci Martin on June 19, who holds Mississippi State and LSU offers. His teammate, center Jamal Crawford, also decommitted.

Targets to watch: The Green Wave recently offered Tampa (Fla.) Sickles WR Trey Fullwood, who would be a nice addition to the receiving corps. Tulane may take another QB, with Phoenix Brophy’s Cade Knox high on the list. Crawford is still on the radar, even after decommitting. Defensively, Baton Rouge natives LB Laryon James (University Lab) and DE Nicholas Wiggins (McKinley) are a couple targets.

3. Houston: 12 commits

Top-rated commit: Houston Westfield DT Ed Oliver, Scout’s 13th overall-ranked player for 2016
Commits by position: QB (1) RB (0) WR (0) TE (0) OL (2) DL (4) LB (0) DB (5) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: The Cougars entered the spring evaluation period without a 2016 commit, but Tom Herman's #HTownTakeover helped them end June with the best haul of any AAC team (38th-ranked class by Scout). Headlining the class is the highest-rated commit in the conference, five-star DT Ed Oliver, who announced his decision in late May. He’s Scout’s 4th-ranked defensive tackle and the first five-star prospect to ever commit to a non-Power Five school. Houston Westside DT and former Baylor commit Jordan Elliott, Scout’s 101st-ranked player nationally, pledged to the Cougars a day later. Houston reeled in a few other big commits as well, including Missouri City (Texas) Hightower teammates OG Darta Lee and three-star DE Michael Johnson, three-star Katy (Texas) S Collin Wilder, three-star Houston Lamar OL Dixie Wooten and Manvel (Texas) DE Hasaun Glasgow. Houston also earned an early May commit from three-star Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy QB Bowman Sells.

Targets to watch: Houston has its QB, but doesn’t have anyone committed at the skill positions. That’s a major focus going forward. Houston took four tight ends in 2015, so they may not look for one too heavily this year. But expect a running back and two to three wide receivers. Former Texas A&M commit and four-star Houston Westfield WR Tyrie Cleveland a name to watch. Other offensive possibilities are Temple (Texas) WR Davion Curtis, Lovejoy WR Aaron Fuller, Houston Stratford RB Rakeem Boyd and Glasgow’s teammate, RB D’Vaughn Pennamon. Houston May be done at defensive back, but doesn’t have any linebackers and took just two last year. That’s the defensive need right now. The defensive line isn’t done either. Tyler (Texas) John Tyler DT Braylon Jones or Missouri City (Texas) Elkins DT Ross Blalock could round out the DL class. The biggest challenge will be keeping Elliott committed. His commitment was a bit of a surprise, and USC was his presumed leader until he committed. He also recently stated that he will officially visit Michigan. Right now, Elliott’s chances of signing with Houston are shaky.

4. Cincinnati: 10 commits

Top-rated commit: Three-star Cincinnati La Salle RB Jeremy Larkin, Scout’s 38th-ranked RB and 2nd-ranked in Ohio.

Commits by position: QB (1) RB (2) WR (1) TE (0) OL (3), DL (0) LB (1) DB (2) ATH (0) specialist (0)

Class quick hits: Six of the 10 commitments came in June, with Larkin and fellow three-star RB Gerrid Doaks from Indianapolis Lawrence Central as the most notable. The Bearcats also secured a commitment form Berea (Ohio) OG Zach Bycznski, whose offer list included Illinois, Maryland and Minnesota. They added a quarterback when Avon (Ohio) QB Jake Sopko committed in late May.

Targets to watch: Cincinnati took 27 and 28 players in 2015 and 2014, respectively, so this class may be smaller. On offense, offers recently went out to Highland Springs (Va.) WR K'Von Wallace and Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) RB Jarrion Street, who holds a couple SEC offers but kept Cincinnati in his top five. Akron (Ohio) Garfield DB Jatairis Grant and Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland DT Kevin McCrary are a couple defensive targets, although McCrary would be a tougher one to get.

5. South Florida: nine commits

Top-rated commit: Three-star Panama City (Fla.) Bay Senior OT Christion Gainer, Scout’s 78th-ranked OT and 2nd-ranked in Florida.

Commits by position: QB (1) RB (1) WR (0) TE (0) OL (3) DL (1) LB (2) DB (1) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: Seven of USF’s nine commits came in June, led by Gainer, Punta Gorda (Fla.) Charlotte RB Elijah Mack and North Florida Christian CB Armunz Matthews. Two more offensive linemen, Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson’s Michael Wiggs and Davenport (Fla.) Ridge Community’s Logan McDonald, committed in late June. The Bulls have had a quarterback since October, when Tampa (Fla.) Sickles’ Chris Oladokun committed.

Targets to watch: USF will look for a couple more at the skill position, although it took four wide receivers last year. But another running back and a couple receivers make sense. Hallandale (Fla.) WR Chris Cotto and South Fort Myers (Fla.) Andre Polk are high on USF, as is Miami Edison OG Keldrick Cesar, who could finish the offensive line class. Defensively, the Bulls took five defensive backs in 2015, so they may take just a couple more in this class. Hallandale (Fla.) DB Andrew Hines is one target. Miami Westminster Christian OLB James Sutton is another who holds USF in high regard.

6. East Carolina: eight commits

Top-rated commit: Three-star Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook QB Reid Herring, Scout’s 94th-ranked QB and 5th-ranked in North Carolina.

Commits by position: QB (1) RB (0) WR (3) TE (0) OL (2) DL (2) LB (0) DB (0) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: The Pirates doubled their commit total in June. Herring had Miami and Boston College offers when he committed in April and continues to get Power Five interest. Bailey (N.C.) Southern Nash WR Tajh Deans committed in early May and spurned Power Five offers from Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. Greensboro (N.C) Hopewell Kenyon Taylor and JUCO product Dre Massey join Deans at wide receiver. Chesapeake (Va.) Great Bridge OL Justin Chase and Saluda (S.C.) OG Cortez Herrin committed around the end of the school year. The two defensive linemen, Williamston (N.C.) Riverside’s Jalen Price and Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian’s Rondre Knowles-Tener, committed in June.

Targets to watch: Asheboro (N.C) WR Emmanuel Jones is high on ECU and could still be a take if ECU wants another receiver or the class suffers attrition. With Deans still getting interest and Massey listening to other offers, attrition is a real possibility. To get Jones, the Pirates will need to outdo West Virginia, who’s also high on his list. Greensboro (N.C.) Dudley RB Connell Young and Voorhees (N.J.) Eastern Regional OL Jacob Gruber are a couple other offensive targets. On the defensive side, ECU missed on Virginia Beach (Va.) Landstown OLB LaRonde Liverpool but Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe CB Nick McCloud has expressed early interest. Chesapeake (Va.) Indian River LB Tavante Beckett is another possibility.

7. Navy: seven commits

Top-rated commit: Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal DT Joe Goff, Scout’s 64th-ranked DT and third-ranked in Virginia.

Commits by position: QB (1) RB (1) WR (0) TE (0) OL (1) DL (1) LB (2) DB (1) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: Goff was an impressive pickup for Ken Niumatalolo’s team, choosing the Midshipmen over Maryland, Virginia, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Army and Air Force. He was one of four June commits for Navy. The other three were Toledo (Ohio) Saint John’s Jesuit OL Sean Rattay, Statesville (N.C.) South Iredell LB Sion Harrington and Nashville (Tenn.) East Literature DB DeVarius Cortner.

Targets to watch: The service academies don’t offer the same type of scholarships as other schools do, so they can take as many players per class as they’d like. So it’s hard to pin down the exact targets, since they send out so many offers. A couple recent offers went out to Lancaster (Texas) RB Rickey Henderson, Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven WR Kerrick Jones and Oceanside (Calif.) OLB Spencer Katoanga.

8. Temple: six commits

Top-rated commit: Wyncote (Pa.) Cheltenham QB Branden Mack (unrated)

Commits by position: QB (1) RB (0) WR (0) TE (0) OL (1) DL (2) LB (0) DB (2) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: The Owls’ class doesn’t seem like much right now. But the last two classes have been talented, and fairly large. So expect things to pick up. Four of the six committed in June. Mack is 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds entering his senior year, and Chester (Pa.) DT D’Andre Hill is a beefy 6-foot-3, 295. Four-star Camden (N.J.) Brad Hawkins gave Temple a long and serious look before committed to Michigan.

Targets to watch: Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek WR Noah Ellison is one local target, and his teammate, OLB Tyreek Williams, is on Temple’s radar as well. Temple took five wide receivers in 2015, so the spots there for 2016 could be very limited. Three running backs signed in 2015, so spots there may be at a premium too.

9. Connecticut: five commits

Top-rated commit: three-star Chicago Phillips WR Quayvon Skanes, Scout’s 126th-ranked WR and second-ranked in Illinois

Commits by position: QB (1) RB (0) WR (1) TE (0) OL (0) DL (0) LB (0) DB (1) ATH (2) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: UConn waited until June 19 for its first commit, but it splashed that day with Glastonbury (Conn.) athlete Keyion Dixon and three-star C.D. Hylton (Va.) quarterback Donovan Williams committed. Just five days later, three-star Red Bank Catholic (N.J.) athlete Eddie Hahn both committing. He held offers from N.C. State and Temple. A day after that, Skanes chose the Huskies over Illinois, Northwestern, Toledo, Ball State, Bowling Green and Miami (Ohio), plus a couple others. UConn made the final two for three-star Skokie (Ill.) Niles North RB Barrington Wade, who committed to Iowa.

Targets to watch: A team coming off a 1-11 season won’t turn away anyone with talent who wants to commit. UConn’s quarterback play has been awful for a couple years now, so getting new faces into the program there is a priority (UConn did sign two QBs for 2015). Three-star Oswego (Ill.) QB Steven Frank is one target with an offer and is deciding soon, and it could still be committable even with Williams already in. Three-star New Caanan (Conn.) OT Lucas Niang and three-star Williamsville (N.Y.) South DT Jake Fuzak are a couple other realistic targets.

10. UCF: four commits

Top-rated commit: three-star Miami Gulliver Prep CB Dontay Mayfield, Scout’s 116th-ranked CB and 17th-ranked in Florida.

Commits by position: QB (1) RB (0) WR (1) TE (0) OL (0) DL (0) LB (0) DB (2) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class recap: Central Florida didn’t get its first 2016 commit until June 2, when Gonzalez (Fla.) Tate QB Sawyer Smith pledged. Joining him and Mayfield is 6-foot-3 Tampa (Fla.) Wharton WR Devontres Dukes, who chose USC over N.C State, Middle Tennessee State and Toledo. The fourth member is 6-foot-1 John Ehret (La.) safety Jarrius Wallace. UCF was his only offer.

Targets to watch: The Knights took 18 signees in each of their last three classes, so they have room to take a fairly large class if they want to. A couple offensive possibilities are Seminole (Fla.) OT Brandon Walton, who has UCF among his early leaders, and Miami Westminster Christian TE John Raine. Defensively, Orlando (Fla.) Bishop Moore DT Josh Keeler, Miami Southridge CB DiCaprio Bootle and Gibsonton (Fla.) East Bay DB K.J. Sails are possibilities. Sails would be the toughest to get of the three.

11. Tulsa: two commits

Top-rated commit: two-star Stillwater (Okla.) WR Jordan Brown

Commits by position: QB (0) RB (0) WR (1) TE (0) OL (1) DL (0) LB (0) DB (0) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Brown chose Tulsa over Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Wyoming and Southern Mississippi, although Tech likely didn’t have room for him. Joining him is Wichita Falls (Texas) Rider OL Clay Greathouse, who held Texas State, North Texas and New Mexico State offers.

Targets to watch: Tulsa has recruited Texas heavily under first-year head coach Philip Montgomery, but in-state RB Quan Hogan of Norman North is an offensive target, along with Broken Arrow (Okla.) OT Rowdy Frederick, Oklahoma City Heritage Hall OL Luther Harris, Cedar Hill (Texas) WR Josh Stewart and Jarrell (Texas) QB Tony Brown. Defensively, South Grand Prairie (Texas) DB Caesar Williams and JUCO DE Manaia Perese are two to watch.

12. Memphis: one commit

Top-rated commit: Memphis University School S Thomas Pickens

Commits by position: QB (0) RB (0) WR (0) TE (0) OL (0) DL (0) LB (0) DB (1) ATH (0) specialists (0)

Class quick hits: Memphis hasn’t cashed in on the momentum from last season’s 10-3 record, securing just one commitment so far. Pickens committed in late June, choosing Memphis over Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, Air Force, Miami (Ohio), Army and Troy.

Targets to watch: A couple Houston-area players were offered in the spring, Manvel (Texas) WR Sean Dykes and Alief Elsik (Texas) TE Amorama Noel. A couple defensive possibilities are Decatur (Ala.) Austin DE Marcus Webb and Olive Branch (Miss.) CB Sanchez Blake.

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