Consensus No. 1 2013 recruit commits to Clemson

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As one of the nation’s top running backs in the Class of 2013 proved Wednesday, a verbal commitment literally means nothing until pen is put to LOI paper in February.

That said, Clemson just landed a huge verbal “nothing”.

As first reported by TigersIllustrated.comand later confirmed by multiple recruiting websites, five-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche gave his nonbinding verbal commitment Thursday to Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers (So much for the Big 12 talk impacting their efforts on the recruiting trail, eh?).  Two of Nkemdiche’s high school teammates have already committed to the Tigers, but the move is nonetheless surprising in both its timing and the school selected.

Back in early May, and roughly 10 days before a scheduled announcement was set to take place, the Loganville (Ga.) senior-to-be bid an about-face by stating that he would be delaying his decision so he could focus on his final season of high school ball.

“I’m probably going to try to take all my official visits, and then pick the best school,” Nkemdiche said over a month ago. “I probably won’t take any visits during the season because I want to stay focused on my main goal — and that’s helping our team win another state championship. I’ll probably wait until after the season and then go visit schools and stuff.”

At the time of that announcement, Clemson wasn’t even considered one of the front-runners.  That honor fell to Alabama and Ole Miss — his brother, redshirt freshman defensive back Denzel Nkemdiche, plays for the Rebels — with Clemson, Georgia and LSU perceived to be perhaps a step below those two SEC programs on the 6-5, 250-pounder’s collegiate to-do list.

Rivals.com… and 247Sports.com… and Scout.com all have Nkemdiche as the top-rated prospect in the Class of 2013.

The only problem for Swinney and his coaching staff in landing the consensus No. 1-rated player in the nation?  They have to hold on to Nkemdiche’s verbal for nearly eight months by fending off the likes of, among others, Nick Saban.

Good luck with that, Dabo.

(Photo credit: Loganville Grayson (Ga.) High School)

Miami wideout Ahmmon Richards sits out Hurricanes’ scrimmage with pulled hamstring

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The focus in Miami’s preseason camp has been on the budding battle to be the starting quarterback but Mark Richt might have bigger concerns after an injury to another star offensive player.

The Hurricanes head coach confirmed to reporters on Saturday that receiver Ahmmon Richards missed the practice after he pulled his hamstring earlier in the week. Safe to say that’s not the kind of injury you want a burner like that to suffer right before the season starts.

The Palm Beach Post reports that senior Braxton Berrios stepped up in Richards’ absence during the scrimmage with six catches for 107 yards but things figure to be a little different against real opposing defenses this fall if his running mate can’t go full blast down the field like he potentially could.

Richards averaged 19 yards a catch last season and racked up nearly 1,000 yards through the air as a true freshman. He was expected to play a pivotal role in an offense that is breaking in a new signal-caller but, given the tricky nature of hamstring pulls and wide receivers, it could be a few weeks into the year before he trots out onto the field for the ‘Canes.

FAU-bound John Franklin III says he wasn’t having fun at Auburn

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John Franklin III has had a ton written about him for a player going on his fourth program in five years but here’s a little more.

The quarterback-turned-wide receiver recently gave an interview to Matthew DeFranks of the Florida Sun Sentinel on his decision to transfer to Florida Atlantic for his senior season and seemed to lob a subtle shot at his former coaching staff at Auburn while doing so.

The not “having too much fun” line will probably draw most of the attention but don’t discount the issue Franklin has with playing every snap. While he arrived on the Plains as a signal-caller, he gave way to Sean White as the starter last year and was moved all over the field in a variety of packages. This spring he changed positions to wide receiver full time as a result but decided to transfer before catching passes for the Tigers.

The former ‘Last Chance U’ star will now head to Boca to play for former coach Clint Trickett with the Owls. It’s not super clear what exact role he will have in the offense but hopefully for Franklin he can have a little more “fun” this season along the way.

Alabama RB Bo Scarbrough misses practice for second time

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A running back is on the loose in Tuscaloosa and no, that’s not as good as it sounds for the Crimson Tide.

Beat reporter Alex Byington noted on Saturday that star tailback Bo Scarbrough was noticeably absent from Alabama’s practice on Saturday when it came time for media viewing periods, the second straight time that he’s been out of sight on the field.

The Tuscaloosa News followed up on the matter and reports that Scarbrough’s attendance (or lack thereof) was “nothing serious” and Nick Saban confirmed as much later in the afternoon by saying the running back was sick with an illness that kept him out.

Sophomore Josh Jacobs also missed the viewing period on Saturday.

Scarbrough has had a light work load the past several months as he recovers from a broken leg he suffered in the national championship game. The presumed starter is still expected to be good to go for the season opener against Florida State but the absences at practice will at least make things interesting in the next two weeks at a crowded position on the depth chart.

Four-star DT Tyler Shelvin will redshirt at LSU after NCAA partially denies eligibility

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The state of Louisiana’s top recruit will not be playing for the state’s top football team this fall.

Four-star defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin will enroll at LSU next week, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate, but will not be eligible to play in 2017 following a ruling from the NCAA on his status. The news is a big blow not only to Shelvin, but to the Tigers who are thin on the interior defensive line and were hoping to rotate in the 380-pounder this year.

Shelvin’s high school coach told the paper that the NCAA “partially denied” the defender’s eligibility, forcing him to redshirt in his first year on campus. He reportedly took several classes over the summer in order to meet requirements but apparently fell short of hitting the association’s standard to be cleared.

The loss of Shelvin’s services is a tough one after he turned into one of the center pieces of head coach Ed Orgeron’s top 10 recruiting class from February. The Tigers have had a history of talented defensive tackles running into eligibility issues in the past but the rather thin depth chart in the middle of the defensive line made bringing in Shelvin a priority.

That is not to be the case however, as LSU will move forward sans the big defender just two weeks out from the start of the season.