Breaking down every commitment from high school All-America games
With about a month before National Signing Day, the nation’s top senior prospects took center stage over the weekend in three nationally televised All-America games. Here is a breakdown of every announced verbal commitment:
Under Armour All-America Game
Ronald Jones II -- USC
McKinney North (Texas) High’s Jones, the No. 9 running back in the class of 2015, chose the Trojans over Notre Dame, among other programs. “I really believe in coach (Sarkisian’s) vision for the team -- not only for myself,” Jones said on ESPN2. He had been committed to Oklahoma State since April but renounced his pledge to the Cowboys in December. The 6-foot, 185-pounder is the third running back in the 2015 class to commit to the Trojans, joining fellow four-star prospect (and Texas native) Aca’Cedric Ware and Bishop Alemany (Calif.) High’s Dominic Davis.
Tim Settle -- Virginia Tech
Stonewall Jackson (Va.) High’s Settle, the No. 14 defensive tackle in the class of 2015, is one of six four-star prospects in that class committed to the Hokies. Two others have already signed with Virginia Tech. “They been there forever,” Settle said of the Hokies on ESPN2. “And I have a great opportunity to come in here as a freshman and [make an] impact.” The 6-foot-3, 339-pound Settle chose Virginia Tech over Louisville and USC, among other programs. Settle is the highest-rated defensive line prospect to pick the Hokies since Wyatt Teller in 2013.
Daron Payne -- Alabama
Shades Valley (Ala.) High’s Payne, the No. 3 defensive tackle in the class of 2015, chose the Crimson Tide over Auburn, among other programs. “Just the development, and I love the coaches down there and I feel like that’s a great place for me to be,” the 6-foot-3, 330-pound Payne said on ESPN2. Alabama now counts more five-star commitments (five) in the class of 2015 than any other program. The others are quarterback Blake Barnett, defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick and Deionte Thompson and wide receiver Calvin Ridley.
Kendall Sheffield -- Alabama
The good news continued for Alabama when Fort Bend Marshall (Texas) High’s Sheffield committed to the Tide. Sheffield, the No. 5 cornerback in the class of 2015, chose Alabama over Texas A&M, LSU and Florida State, among other programs. Texas A&M had been considered the favorite to land the 6-foot, 181-pounder. “Once I got (to Alabama) the atmosphere was good, the coaches are good and I enjoy myself up there,” Sheffield said on ESPN2. He joins St. Peter’s (N.J.) Prep’s Fitzpatrick and Lovejoy (Ga.) High’s Montrell Custis as the trio of cornerback prospects in the class of 2015 to pick Alabama. The Tide landed two five-star cornerbacks last year, Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey.
Tyron Johnson -- LSU
Warren Easton Charter (La.) High’s Johnson, the No. 2 wide receiver in the class of 2015, picked the Tigers over Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Georgia and Auburn, among other programs. “It’s a great feeling, you know, when your family and everybody can come watch you play,” Johnson said on ESPN2 after holding up an LSU jersey with his name on the back. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder is the highest-rated prospect in the class of 2015 to commit to LSU. This is the second consecutive year the Tigers have landed a five-star receiver (2014 prospect Malachi Dupre picked them) and the fourth time in the last five years they’ve added Louisiana’s top prospect.
Anthony Wheeler -- Texas
Skyline (Texas) High’s Wheeler, the No. 8 inside linebacker in the class of 2015, chose the Longhorns over Oklahoma, LSU and Baylor, among other programs. “That’s where I felt most comfortable and just, that’s where I see my future to be,” Wheeler said of Texas on ESPN2. He is the fifth linebacker in the class of 2015 to commit to Texas, joining a group that includes five-star outside linebacker Malik Jefferson, the No. 2 prospect in the state of Texas. After several commitments over the last week, the Longhorns’ 2015 class counts 27 members and ranks No. 10 in the country.
U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Devonaire Clarington -- Texas
Clarington added to the Longhorns’ haul this weekend as the Booker T. Washington (Fla.) High standout chose Texas over Florida, LSU and Miami, among other programs. “A wise man once told me, ‘Everything is bigger in Texas,” Clarington said on NBC. The No. 11 tight end in the class of 2015 is the only prospect at that position to pledge to Texas from this recruiting class. He joins Booker T. Washington teammate DaVante Davis, a four-star safety who committed to the Longhorns in November.
Tim Irvin -- Texas
The Longhorns picked up another commitment at the All-American Bowl from Westminster Christian (Fla.) High’s Irvin, the No. 23 safety in the class of 2015. Irvin, who chose the Longhorns over Auburn, Florida, Miami and West Virginia, among other programs, is the nephew of former Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Michael Irvin. The 5-foot-9, 186-pound Tim Irvin is one of five prospects to pledge to Texas since the turn of the new year and a member of the so-called “Florida Five,” which also includes four-star linebacker Cecil Cherry, three-star receiver Gilbert Johnson, Clarington and Davis.
Ykili Ross -- USC
Less than a day after picking up a commitment from Jones, USC received a verbal pledge from Riverside Poly (Calif.) High’s Ross. He is the No. 3 athlete in the class of 2015, but told Rivals.com that he will “probably be playing safety a lot but going both ways” for the Trojans, whom he picked over Arizona State, Notre Dame and Oregon, among other programs. When the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder made his announcement, Ross hinted that he doesn’t plan to exhaust his college eligibility. “For the next three years, I’ll be attending the University of Southern California,” Ross said on NBC.
Marvell Tell -- USC
USC added another commitment later in the game when Crespi (Calif.) High’s Tell announced he was pledging to the Trojans over Oregon and Texas A&M, among other programs. After Tell made his announcement, Ross could be seen celebrating on the sideline. “It’s where I feel like I fit,” said Tell, the No. 7 safety in the class of 2015. “For the next four years, I’ll be happy, feel like I could be successful, and you know we’re going to bring that national championship back.” The Trojans have now received commitments from four 2015 prospects expected to line up in the defensive backfield: Tell, Ross, Muir (Calif.) High’s Taeon Mason and Foothill (Calif.) High’s Isaiah Langley.
D’Andre Walker -- Georgia
Langston Hughes (Ga.) High’s Walker, the No. 6 weakside defensive end in the class of 2015, drew national attention last month when he announced his top three schools -- Georgia, Tennessee and Auburn -- with an Elf Yourself video. When he chose the Bulldogs, Walker pulled out an “Uga” stuffed animal. He reportedly still has plans to take official visits in January and told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his “final decision won’t be final” until National Signing Day (Feb. 4). Walker is the sixth defensive end and 12th Georgia-based prospect in the class of 2015 to pledge to the Bulldogs.
Stanley Norman -- Arizona State
Junipero Serra (Calif.) High’s Norman is the No. 6 athlete in the class of 2015 and can play on both sides of the ball but was reportedly recruited to Arizona State as a cornerback. The 6-foot, 180-pounder picked the Sun Devils over Alabama, Oklahoma, Washington State and UCLA, among other programs. “It wasn’t really a hard decision,” said Norman, who did not play in the game as he continues his recovery from a knee injury. When he made his announcement, Norman removed Army All-American Bowl apparel to reveal a Sun Devils jersey bearing his nickname, “Scrappy,” on the back.
Lawrence Cager -- Miami
Calvert Hall (Md.) High’s Cager, the No. 36 wide receiver in the class of 2015, picked the Hurricanes over Georgia, Alabama and Virginia Tech, among other programs. “Just because Brad Kaaya, the offense, really, and building a relationship with Al Golden and coach Carroll, the wide receivers coach,” Cager said on NBC. Shortly after Cager made his announcement, Kaaya, Miami’s starting quarterback, tweeted, “LETS GO!!!” Cager is one of three receivers in the class of 2015 to commit to the Hurricanes. The others are three-star prospects Terrell Chatman and Therrell Gosier.
Kyle Phillips -- Tennessee
Hillsboro (Tenn.) High’s Phillips, the No. 11 strongside defensive end in the class of 2015, picked the Volunteers over LSU and Ole Miss, among other programs. “I just felt at home at Tennessee,” Phillips said on NBC. “I loved it since I’ve been there. My family enjoyed it. It’s perfect for my family and me, so that’s why I picked Tennessee.” Phillips joins a group of defensive line commitments for the Vols that also includes five-star tackle Kahlil McKenzie, four-star tackle Shy Tuttle, three-star tackle Quay Picou, four-star ends Darrell Taylor and Andrew Butcher and three-star end Marques Ford.
Neville Gallimore -- Oklahoma
Canada Prep Football Academy’s (Ont.) Gallimore, the No. 9 defensive tackle in the class of 2015, is the only DT in this class to commit to the Sooners. He chose Oklahoma over Florida State and Ohio State, among other programs. “I was very comfortable with my decision,” the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Gallimore said on NBC. “Me and my family, we have high hopes for Oklahoma, and they did a great job in terms of involving me and my family, so I chose that school.” He is the first prospect from Canada to be invited to the All-American Bowl but did not play in the game due to a knee injury.
Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl
Austin Joyner -- Washington
"I’m taking my talents to the Huskies," Marysville-Pilchuk (Wash.) High’s Joyner said, according to Rivals.com. Joyner initially committed to Washington in November 2013 but renounced his pledge less than a month later when the Huskies hired former Boise State coach Chris Petersen. Joyner then committed to Washington State in April but backed out of that commitment after the Cougars fired defensive coordinator Mike Breske. Joyner, the No. 9 athlete in the class of 2015, renewed his commitment to Washington over reported finalists Boise State and Washington State, among other programs.
Dwayne Lawson -- Virginia Tech
After picking up a commitment from a standout prospect on the defensive side of the ball on Friday (Settle), the Hokies boosted their offense by landing a coveted quarterback two days later. Hillsborough (Fla.) High’s Lawson is the No. 16 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2015 and decommitted from Miami in December. "I made up my mind probably a week after I decommitted from Miami," Lawson told Rivals.com. "Even before that, I knew what school I wanted to go to. I knew what school had the best opportunity for me and I'm excited about this opportunity." Lawson is Virginia Tech’s only quarterback commitment in the class of 2015.
All rankings according to Rivals.com.