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Daxton Hill commits to Michigan Wolverines

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Michigan landed a huge piece to its 2019 recruiting class Tuesday when ESPN 300 athlete Daxton Hill announced his commitment to the Wolverines.

Hill is the No. 14-ranked prospect overall in the class and is the highest-ranked commitment for Michigan since the 2016 class, when Rashan Gary, ranked No. 1 overall, signed with the Wolverines.

Hill, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound athlete out of Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, Oklahoma, chose Michigan over in-state Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, among others, but the primary thought was that Hill had been down to Michigan and Alabama. Hill took official visits to only those two schools, and he felt as though he had enough information to make a decision after taking an official visit to Michigan for its game against SMU this past weekend.

Michigan landed its highest commitment of the 2019 class with the addition of No. 14 overall Daxton Hill.

From rivalry games to the battles that will decide the College Football Playoff, these are the biggest contests for the nation's top teams.

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Guard James Bouknight commits to Connecticut Huskies

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First-year Connecticut coach Dan Hurley scored an important verbal commitment Tuesday, with four-star guard James Bouknight pledging to the Huskies on his 18th birthday.

The commitment comes less than three days after he completed his official visit to UConn after having previously visited Virginia Tech and Miami officially in recent weeks.

Bouknight, ranked 87th in the ESPN 100, was sidelined by injury last spring but was nonetheless an immediate priority for Hurley and his staff when they arrived in Storrs.

The 6-foot-4 guard rejoined his PSA Cardinals AAU program in time for the EYBL Finals in July and continued to emerge through the remainder of the recruiting period with strong performances in Pennsylvania and Las Vegas.

"I had already built a relationship with [assistant] Coach Kimani [Young] when he was at Minnesota and that continued when he came to UConn with Coach Hurley," Bouknight told ESPN. "He stayed in touch with me throughout my injury process and that meant a lot to me and my family. We trusted him.

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Women's basketball prospect Malu Tshitenge-Mutombo commits to North Carolina

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Women Basketball Recruiting

Sep 14, 2018
espnW.com

Malu Tshitenge-Mutombo, niece of former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo and one of the top women's basketball recruits in the 2019 class, on Friday committed to North Carolina.

The 6-foot-3 senior post player at St. John's College High School (Washington, D.C.) and the No. 56 prospect in the espnW HoopGurlz Top 100 chose the Tar Heels over Notre Dame.

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Playing in Texas gives teams chances to recruit Texas

When Texas plays host to USC at 8 p.m. ET Saturday, the Longhorns won't just be competing against the Trojans. They'll also be competing with Ohio State, which takes on TCU in Arlington, Texas, at the same time only 200 miles north of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

They'll be competing for the attention of in-state recruits with the Buckeyes and other programs who have seen success recruiting Texas in the 2019 class.

The momentum the Longhorns and coach Tom Herman seemed to be gaining from a top-three 2018 class has dwindled in a short period of time. From the excitement of Jimbo Fisher joining Texas A&M to the lingering questions about the Longhorns, recruiting is seeing another shift within the state.

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Basketball prospect Mir McLean of Roland Park and Team Takeover soars on court, in classroom

By Walter Villa | Sep 13, 2018
Special to espnW

Courtesy Jayla James

Mir McLean averaged 18.6 points and 13.5 rebounds as a sophomore at Baltimore's Roland Park Country Day.

Every time Mir McLean hears a referee's whistle, she thinks of her dad, who officiated and coached basketball games.

Every time she sees someone wearing blue and orange -- her father's colors when he played wide receiver for Morgan State -- she thinks of her dad.

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Bryan Antoine commits to Villanova Wildcats

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Five-star guard Bryan Antoine announced his commitment to Villanova on Tuesday.

Antoine chose the Wildcats among a final five that also included Duke, Florida, Kentucky and Kansas. Duke was long thought to be the favorite for Antoine, but Villanova came on strong recently and got Antoine to commit before he began taking official visits.

Antoine, ranked No. 12 in the ESPN 100 for 2019, is the highest-ranked recruit to commit to Villanova since point guard Corey Fisher pledged back in the Class of 2007.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Ranney School (New Jersey) is among the best scorers in the class, averaging 16.6 points and shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range on the Under Armour Association circuit for Team Rio National.

The defending national champions added a third player to their 2019 class.

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Scout's Take safety Nick Cross to Florida State Seminoles

A few hours before Florida State kicked off its 2018 season, ESPN 300 safety Nick Cross gave his commitment to the Seminoles. Read below to see what Cross adds to head coach Willie Taggart's first complete class.

What he brings: Cross possesses a wealth of physical tools that can allow him to be a productive, versatile player. The four-star safety has a good blend of height and length and is an excellent overall athlete. He has the speed to be a sideline-to-sideline defender and flashes explosive ability to close. With a good blend of speed, quickness and size, he can be a scheme-versatile player in both man and zone coverage. He also is strong and physical enough to develop into an in-the-box safety. Cross demonstrates that he can be a good wrap-up tackler who can make plays in space.

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Tennessee Lady Volunteers dismiss Anastasia Hayes for violation of team rules

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Anastasia Hayes, a member of Tennessee's top-ranked recruiting class in 2017, is no longer with the team.

"Anastasia Hayes has been dismissed from the Tennessee women's basketball team due to a violation of team rules," coach Holly Warlick said in a statement Friday morning.

Hayes, a 5-foot-7 guard from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, averaged 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game last season for the Lady Vols. She didn't start but averaged 24.3 minutes per game and was named the SEC's sixth woman of the year. Hayes hit her season high of 17 points twice, against East Tennessee State on Nov. 12 and in the SEC tournament quarterfinals against South Carolina on March 2.

Her exit means that Tennessee will return only one of its four top scorers from last season. Tennessee went 25-8 in 2017-18, falling to Oregon State in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Tennessee opens the season Nov. 11 by hosting Presbyterian.

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From Ethiopia to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, a difficult but quick trip for Ajulu Thatha

By Katie Barnes | Aug 30, 2018
espnW.com

Courtesy DeeEllen Davis

Ajulu Thatha learned how to play basketball and already has accepted a scholarship to play in college.

Basketball tucked under one arm, Ajulu Thatha steps out of her Indianapolis apartment and into a hot and humid July day. Her long braids flop over her shoulders as she hops into the front seat of the car. She's quiet. Until the topic turns to her newfound passion: basketball.

Thatha has played the sport for only five years, and she has been in the United States for only six. She was inspired to give basketball a try after attending an Indiana Fever game within months of her plane landing from Ethiopia.

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No. 15 USC debuts freshman QB J.T. Daniels vs. UNLV

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LOS ANGELES -- Southern California head coach Clay Helton walked up to quarterback JT Daniels, looking into his eyes for confirmation the second freshman to start a season opener in the program's storied history was not overwhelmed by the moment.

"They're either that big," said Helton, holding his hands wide open, "or they're like, `All right, let's roll.' "

Daniels was ready, throwing for 282 yards with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown to help the No. 15 Trojans overcome a sluggish performance and defeat UNLV 43-21 on Saturday.

Outside of an early gaffe where Daniels turned the wrong way trying to hand the ball off to running back Stephen Carr, forcing the 2017 Gatorade national player of the year to scramble for a 5-yard gain, there were no apparent nerves from the 18-year-old.

Daniels did admit to feeling goosebumps coming down the tunnel for the first time before joining Matt Barkley in 2009 to start in his USC debut.

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Scout's Take Tre Mann to Florida Gators

ESPN 100 guard Tre Mann verbally committed to Florida on Tuesday. He chose the Gators over North Carolina, Kansas and Tennessee. He recently checked in at No. 30 on our updated player rankings board.

Why he committed: The Gators have had impressive recruiting classes since Mike White's arrival. Mann is the first impact in-state player to commit to the Gators. Mann told ESPN what impressed him about White. "He recruited me real hard," Mann said. "Every time I would look up he would be at one of my games. He told me he would not let me fail."

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Tom Herman, Texas Longhorns head coach, was other Ohio State assistant on Zach Smith strip club trip

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Texas head coach Tom Herman was the assistant coach who accompanied former Buckeyes assistant Zach Smith to a strip club while on a recruiting trip, an Ohio State spokesperson confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

The 2014 strip club trip also included high school coaches.

Smith's $600 involvement in the Miami-based excursion was noted in the school's detailed 23-page summary of its investigation released last week, although Smith was the only person named in the documents. The $600 came from Smith's own money, and he did not seek reimbursement for it from the football program or the school.

Upon discovering the information about the strip club trip, the investigators reported it to Ohio State's Office of University Compliance and Integrity and the Athletic Compliance Office to investigate whether the conduct violated NCAA rules.

Under the terms of their suspensions, coach Urban Meyer and AD Gene Smith were allowed to meet with Ohio State players and coaches last Thursday.

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2018 ESPN 100 Jaykwon Walton commits to Georgia Bulldogs

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Five star 2019 ESPN 100 Armando Bacot commits to North Carolina Tar Heels

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Five-star big man Armando Bacot commits to North Carolina Tar Heels

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Five-star big man Armando Bacot announced his commitment to North Carolina on Thursday.

Bacot, the No. 21-ranked recruit in the 2019 ESPN 100, chose the Tar Heels over a final group that included Duke, Oklahoma State, Georgia and VCU. North Carolina was considered the heavy favorite for most of the past few months, although Duke made a renewed effort toward the end of July.

Bacot, a 6-foot-10 center from Richmond, Virginia, who attends IMG Academy (Florida), is coming off an impressive July in which he cemented himself as one of the top big men in the country. He won MVP honors at the Nike Peach Jam, leading Team Takeover to a championship, then helped lead them to another title at The 8 in Las Vegas.

Bacot averaged 14.7 points and 11.0 rebounds in bracket play at the Peach Jam, including a 14-point, 14-rebound effort in the championship game.

The Tar Heels will honor coach Roy Williams, who has won three national titles in his 15 seasons at UNC, by naming the basketball court after him.

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Parents of Jordan McNair say Maryland Terrapins coach DJ Durkin 'needs to go'

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NEW YORK -- Marty McNair, the father of late Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, told ESPN on Thursday that football coach DJ Durkin should be fired because he didn't deliver on his recruiting promise -- simply taking care of Jordan.

"When I think of DJ Durkin, all I remember is him sitting at our kitchen table and assuring me that he would take care of my son," Marty McNair said, "and he did anything other than that.

"I think he should be relieved of his job. I don't think that he should be allowed to coach anyone else's child in an environment like this. My child died. That's something we'll never get back. That's something that will never heal. Yeah, he needs to go."

In an interview with ESPN at the Algonquin Hotel, Marty McNair and Jordan's mother, Tonya Wilson, openly grieved the June 13 death of their son as they talked about his final practice on May 29, which ultimately led to heatstroke.

The University of Maryland board of regents has called a special meeting Friday to receive updates about the school's actions in the wake of the June 13 death of football player Jordan McNair.

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USA Basketball gold medalists share memories from FIBA U17 World Cup, FIBA Americas U18 Championship

By Walter Villa | Aug 16, 2018
Special to espnW

Courtesy USA Basketball

MVP Jordan Horston, right, and her teammates at the FIBA U17 World Cup had plenty to celebrate this summer.

It was a golden summer for USA Basketball's U18 and U17 women's teams. For the players, the highlights weren't contained to the court. From Colorado's Rocky Mountains to Latvia's Baltic beaches, their memories dot the globe.

We caught up with several of the gold medalists from the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Mexico and the FIBA U17 World Cup in Belarus. They shared their most memorable moments.

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Ed Oliver, Rashan Gary, Khalil Tate and others; reranking the 2016 recruiting class

The 2016 recruiting class was one of the most hyped classes in recent memory. After a run of five consecutive No. 1 classes, Alabama was unseated in 2016 by Florida State. The Seminoles' class was led by No. 5 overall recruit Levonta Taylor, one of nine players who earned five-star ratings from ESPN that year. Three years later, the class has by and large lived up to expectations and also produced some breakout stars. We examined how different the class would look if we reranked players based on their college production. Here are the top 25 players knowing what we know now.

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ESPN 300 Hot Board Five-star predictions

Recruiting has slowed down a touch now that we are in a dead period and approaching the season. Most prospects will focus on their high school team and put recruiting on the back burner, and that includes some of the top prospects in the nation.

Of the 11 five-star recruits in the 2019 class, five remain uncommitted. While most of them are planning to wait to announce their decisions, there are a select few schools that stick out, helping to make predictions on where those recruits will eventually land. Here is a look at the uncommitted five-stars and where they currently stand.

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True freshmen Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence compete for starting QB job

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Trevor Lawrence's reputation was already something of a local legend before he hit high school. His mom, Amanda, remembers being at a restaurant about a half-hour outside their hometown of Cartersville, Georgia, when a man nervously approached, asking for an autograph. Trevor was in eighth grade at the time.

Cartersville high school coach Joey King had heard the hype, too, and he knew Lawrence would be something special. But the first-year coach had another QB on the roster, a 6-foot-5 junior with a strong arm, too. Still, he was curious enough about the kid everyone was buzzing about to invite him out for spring practice, four months before Lawrence would officially begin high school.

Could quarterback J.T. Daniels go from high school junior to USC's starting lineup as Sam Darnold's successor? Daniels is among the first-year players who could make plays from the minute they step on the field.

Preseason all-ACC team, players to watch, words from the ACC commissioner and everything you need to know for the start of the season.

From the All-SEC team to power rankings and Heisman hopefuls, we've got you covered, gearing you up for college football Saturdays this fall.

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