Friday, November 30, 2007

Alabama gets HUGE commitment...literally

Huge might not be the right word. Massive? Gi-normous? At 6-5 and one jelly donut shy of 400 pounds, Gulf Coast Community College (Perkinston, MS) defensive tackle Terrence Cody is truly a large commitment for Nick Saban and Alabama. It has been no secret that Alabama has been focused on upgrading the defensive front in the class of '08. Cody went with Alabama over Tennessee, Ole Miss, Auburn and Mississippi St.

With four defensive end commits and three defensive tackle pledges, Nick Saban has most certainly addressed that need. Alabama even has a commitment from a top notch 2009 defensive tackle, DJ Fluker of Biloxi, MS. At 6-7, 335, Fluker is still no comparison to Terrence Cody. Fluker is ranked the #35 prospect in the preliminary 2009 Rivals top-100.

Like most humans that weigh 4-bills, Terrance Cody is not incredibly fleet of foot. But relatively speaking, he can move. For a man his size, the JUCO shows a surprising lack of power at the snap of the football. However, it is impossible to coach two things on a football field: speed and size. Cody absolutely has size. Once the play gets going he uses his size to basically clog holes wherever he goes.

In a Saban 3-4 defense, the nose tackle must be able to play head-up on the center and man both A-gaps. He can fill both of those holes by just standing there much less firing off the football. With the depth of this class along the defensive front, Cody should be a nice role player.

Saban will have him lose a few pounds and that will allow Cody to utilize the "relative" quickness that he could possess if he did not weigh as much as a small Volvo. has him ranked as the #23 JUCO player in the nation for 2008.

Top player in Washington stays home

After landing record breaking WR Cody Bruns last week (304 receptions), the man who could not recruit, Ty Willingham has landed the best player in the state of Washington for the 2008 class.

6-6, 250 lb tight end, Kavario Middleton committed to play for the Washington Huskies. The Lakes high (Lakewood, WA) product chose Washington over Oregon, Miami, Cal, Arizona St and Michigan. How he ranks:

Rivals: #30 overall, #2 TE in nation
ESPN: #65 overall, #3 TE in nation
Scout: #17 overall, #2 TE in nation

Kavario Middleton is a physical specimen. He is as physically gifted as maybe any athlete in the entire nation for 2008. For a player his size he can fly. The two-way star - he is an outstanding defensive end also - is as versatile a player as I have seen in this class.

As a pass catcher he is an impossible match-up for defenders. He can run past and around any linebacker you can throw at him. When he splits out, he towers over smaller defensive backs, over-powering them for the football. Middleton is superb at working the seems of the football field. He follows his namesake as going over the middle is where he is comfortable. He will stretch any defense at the next level.

He is simply an outstanding athlete. I've seen him completely hurdle a defender much like Ben Troupe did against Georgia when he was at Florida. Kavario is the gem of this Husky recruiting class.

Oh, and just to add a little value, Willingham gets his teammate in the deal too. Jermaine Kearse is one of the top-5 players in the state of Washington as well. The 6-0, 175 pound wide receiver has great speed and will make a nice compliment to the pass catching class Washington is building right now for '08.

The guy who is most excited about this class has to be Jake Locker though. The additions of Middleton, Kearse and Bruns all offer unique abilities to the position players at Washington. Locker will have plenty of weapon at his disposal.

Willingham, once again remember that this man clearly did not know how to recruit, (*cough* Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija, John Carlson, Tom Zibby, *cough*) has a chance to land most of the top-20 players in the state of Washington. He already has nine of them locked up and is in the running for seven more.

Willie Mobley is FINALLY a Buckeye

The Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie, MN) defensive end has finally made his choice and it was no surprise. Willie Mobley, 6-2, 270 lbs, committed to Ohio St. He goes with OSU over Minnesota, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Tennessee.

It has been rumored for nearly a month since his official visit that Mobley would be a Buckeye. How is ranked:

Rivals: #9 Strongside DE
Scout: #19 DE
ESPN: #14 DE

Ohio State continues to rake in top notch talent from all over the country as they dip into Minnesota and take the second best prospect in that state (#1-Michael Floyd).

Willie Mobley is an interesting prospect. He will enter school as a defensive end but if he can add some weight to his frame he will play inside. He has good enough power and explosion at the point of attack that he can be a threat as a pass-rusher possibly even from the tackle position. Mobley has a strong motor and will be a good tackler at the next level.

When he fires off the ball low he is very difficult to stop but he needs to stay focused on keeping his pads low. If he ends up at tackle he will also need to rely more on going through blockers not around them, albeit he does have a quick swim move. He does have the ability to collapse the pocket using his strength and power.

Mobley is the 15th commit for the Bucks as Jim Tressell is putting together a top-5 class. Especially if they land Terrelle Pryor, who many people think will end up in Columbus.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Harold Lathers up the Vols

LSU and Tennessee square off Saturday in Atlanta to determine the SEC crown. Tennessee thought it would be nice to get a quick recruiting jab to the LSU kidney right before kickoff. Phil Fulmer and Co. dipped into Louisiana and snagged 6-1, 195 lb linebacker Harold Lathers.

Amidst the swirling rumors in Baton Rouge of a Les Miles departure and a Steve Spurrier arrival, Harold Lathers decided to get out of town. The Baton Rouge native (Istrouma HS) made himself the 12th commitment for the 2008 Tennessee Vol recruiting class (not counting Brandon Warren and Demitrice Morley). Lathers chose Tennessee over Tulane, Ole Miss, Stanford and Baylor.

Lathers has great instincts and is most likely a weak side linebacker. He has great closing speed and quickness. Once he zeros in on the ball-carrier he gets there in a hurry. Lathers is definitely an athlete with the ability to be a solid contributor on special teams in terms of blocking kicks.

My one spot of concern is his overall lack of size and power. He has a wiry, rangy frame that would allow for him to put on weight, which he will have to do if he expects to start at Tennessee. Not only that but big offensive guards and tackles will get the better of him at the point of attack due to his lack of power. He is a solid tackler but can get overwhelmed at times because he is so small. His range and cover skills are still a bit of a question mark too but he does have the speed and athleticism to develop those abilities through good coaching. Too bad no one in the Tennessee secondary gets any coaching.

Lathers is much in the mold of a Tommy Tuberville linebacker. Tommy likes his players on defense to be smaller but faster. He prefers an attacking, aggressive style. Attacking the line of scrimmage is certainly Lathers strength.

This Week's Podcast

Each week The Visitor, yours truly, does four podcasts for his current employer Athlon Sports. The National Recruiting Blitz will be posted permanently on this here front page. I am joined by old friends from throughout the network to bring you the latest and hottest news in the world of recruiting.

This week I am joined by Tim O'Halloran of to break down the hot streak the Illinois Fighting Illini are on. Alabama, Georgia and Virginia are also discussed.

The other three can be found in the Audio Catalog on

The College Fantasy Red Zone is a weekly trip through the NCAA Fantasy landscape. We give you sleeper picks, updates on every BCS game, injury reports and start-or-sit discussions.

The NFL Fantasy Scouting Report is look around the world of NFL fantasy football. Athlon Sports' own Kelly and Dan Grogan join me every week to give you free agent pick-ups, the "Can't Miss-High Risk" segment and always injury reports and start/sit discussions.

Inside The Paint is Athlon Sports brief trip around the nation within the world of College Hoops. Senior editor Mitch Light joins me each week to talk NCAA hoops.

Introductions by Eric Cartman

Trey Parker and Matt Stone are the creators of South Park. They are also Colorado graduates. Well, I am not sure if they actually graduated but they certainly went to school there. Well, at least they enrolled, making it to class is a different story.

But I digress. This is why college football is single greatest sport on the planet. As rabid women get up at the crack of dawn to go shopping on Friday after Thanksgiving, I wake up in a turkeyed haze and implant myself firmly on the couch. As a South Park fan myself, it was a pleasure to see Eric Cartman introduce the Colorado starting line-ups...

But that was not enough for the comical know what I mean...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Big Weekend in Ohio

Florida, Texas and California - in that order - are the top three talent producing states in the nation. This is not really a surprise. Ranking states from there gets tricky. Georgia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana, Virginia and even New Jersey have legit claims to be in the top-5. Per-capita, Mississippi might be the most talent producing state in the country!

I lean towards the state of Ohio. It is already has the Cradle of Coaches so why not give it the unofficial crown for 4th best recruiting state. That being said, if you are in the Canton/Massillon area this weekend I recommend getting to one of these two stadiums for one of six state championship games. These six games feature plenty of high level D-1 talent, especially in the 2009 class.

Maria Stein Marion Local v. Youngstown Ursuline
Fri. 11 am, Massillon Paul Brown Stadium, Division V

Ursuline is led along the offensive line by big Harold Coates. They also have two stellar '09 prospects. Darrell Mason is a tremendous athlete, maybe the best in the state of Ohio in 2009. Cornerback Dale Peterman is also getting plenty of looks right now. Keep your eyes on these two kids.

Sunbury Big Walnut v. Newark Licking Valley
Fri. 3 pm, Canton Fawcett Stadium, Division III

Make sure to watch SR. running back Josh Bailey who won the game last week for Licking Valley with a 65-yd run with less than :30 left on the clock breaking a 21-all tie. Two more 2009 kids will do battle in this contest too. Licking Valley's Storm Klein is a versitle athlete at 6-2, 220. He is already committed to Jim Tressell and the Buckeyes. Look for Big Walnut linebacker Will Studlein to answer the bell for his squad.

Cincinnati Anderson v. Louisville
Fri. 7 pm, Massillon Paul Brown Stadium, Divison II

Although not loaded with high level prospects, this game should have plenty of fireworks. Louisville starts four wide receivers as they like to spread it out and have only had one close game during the entire playoffs. Anderson RB Elijah Storey has broken the 200 yard barrier in four of his last five games including a 201-yd, 3 touchdown performance over Ashland in the state semis.

Bascom Hopewell-Loudon v. Newark Catholic
Sat. 11 am, Canton Fawcett Stadium, Division VI

Newark Catholic is playing in its 13th state title game. They have won seven championships. Bascom head coach Brian Colatruglio, in his 4th season, has only lost four games as head coach (49-4).

Coldwater v. Youngstown Cardinal Mooney
Sat. 3 pm, Massillon Paul Brown Stadium, Division IV

Current Buckeye Ross Homan will be watching his little brother, Adam Homan, play for Coldwater. Cardinal Mooney is LOADED. Linebackers Taylor Hill (OU), Mike Zordich (PSU) and standout '09 defensive tackle John Simon lead the way on defense as YCM tries to defend their state title. Simon already has offers from Notre Dame, Illinois, Nebraska, Pitt and Ohio St. Penn St commit Brandon Beachum will be on display as he has rushed for 1569 yards and 17 TD's on the season.

Cincinnati St. Xavier v. Mentor
Sat. 7 pm, Canton Fawcett Stadium, Division I

The grand finale. The top level of competition in arguabely the fourth most talented state in the nation features a dynamic running back in St. X's Darius Ashley. The underrated Louisville commit has carried his team all season long. Also, keep an eye on St. X linebacker Fred Craig (Stan). Mentor will be hungry after losing the first ever state title (Division I) to go to overtime last season to Hilliard Davidson.

Top players for 2009 released released its top-100 prospects for 2009 today. It is the earliest release of a top-100 for the website ever. Who is the early favorite for No. 1 player in the nation? A 6-3, 225 lb quarterback from the football powerhouse Mater Dei high school (Santa Ana, CA) Matt Barkley gets the nod as Rivals' top prospect.

Back on October 4th, I had the pleasure of watching a truly epic battle between the #1 team in the state of California - Mater Dei - and the #2 ranked team Centennial (Corona, CA).

In a nationally televised showdown, Matt Barkley and Mater Dei took Centennial's best shot and won a shootout 51-37.

Barkley was very impressive. Not only does he show the arm strength to make all the throws but his intangibles are off the charts. His poise and toughness are what won him that game. He stood tall in the pocket and delivered the football in the face a potent Centennial blitz. A blitz that involves the #17 player in 2009, the hard-hitting linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Barkley has great downfield vision as he had the patience to work through his progressions even in the face of pressure. If Barkley does not choose USC it would be a shock to everyone.

Rivals top-10:
1. Matt Barkley - QB Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA)
2. Jamarkus McFarland - DT Lufkin (Lufkin, TX)
3. Cierre Wood - RB Santa Clara (Oxnard, CA)
4. Russell Shepard - ATH Cypress Ridge (Houston, TX)
5. Dre Kirkpatrick - DB Gadsden City (Gadsden, AL)
6. Manti Te'o - LB Punahou (Honolulu, HI)
7. Rueben Randle - WR Bastrop (Bastrop, LA)
8. Devon Kennard - DE Desert Vista (Phoenix, AZ)
9. Jacobbi McDaniel - DT Madison (Greenville, FL)
10. Bryce Brown - RB Wichita East (Wichita, KS)

That last name might look familiar as Bryce Brown is the younger and more talented brother of 2008 star LB Arthur Brown.

7 of the top-100 are already committed. Go figure, USC has three of them.

#35 DJ Fluker - DT (Alabama)
#52 Jordan Whiting - LB (Ohio St)
#55 William Campbell - DT (Michigan)
#65 Randall Carroll - WR (USC)
#78 Morrell Presley - TE (USC)
#86 Marlon Pollard - DB (UCLA)
#88 Kevin Graf - OL (USC)

The aforementioned #1 versus #2 battle:

Florida St lands JUCO Tavares Pressley

Florida St's regular season is over. Jimbo Fisher immediately hoped a flight to the golden coast to enjoy the sun, beaches and junior colleges of California. His primary target was a 6-1, 215 running back by the name of Tavares Pressley. Pressley accepted his scholarship offer on the spot and committed. He chose the Seminoles over Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas St, Ole Miss and Colorado.

El Camino College (Torrence, CA) has been good to Florida St. Corey Surrency, a top-10 JUCO wide receiver, committed earlier this season. Surrency and Pressley are roommates at El Camino. Pressley is originally from Arcadia, FL. ranks the top-50 JUCO players each season. Surrency is #8 and Pressley is #12.

Pressley is a big back with game breaking speed. He runs between the tackles with aggression and has no problem playing a physical style of football. What makes him special is his ability to get to the corner though. Once Pressley sees daylight it is over. He can take it to the house on any play. Defenses don't give him the edge, he takes it.

He is built and runs much like Darren McFadden. Pressley probably does not have the explosion/speed that Run-DMC has but who does? Because he is so shifty in the open field for a RB his size, he has a tendency to dance to much but that is just something to watch and fix with coaching.

Living on JUCO's is a dangerous tight rope to walk however. Dennis Erickson and Bill Snyder are two guys that have made JUCO's work but few others have done it with their level of success. A school cannot live on JUCO talent though. It is nice that FSU has landed two game-breakers at skill positions but if a program ends up too dependent on JUCO infusions it will come back to haunt them.

All-in-all, great pick-ups for Florida St but be weary.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Giving Him the Business: 15 yard penalty?

The 'business' comes with a heavy price: 15 yards penalty for 'giving it' to people. I would like to read the officials' handbook to see where exactly 'giving the business' is listed.

Record Setting WR Cody Bruns is a Huskie

Washington got beat Saturday by Washington St in the 100th match-up between the interstate rivals. In Cody Bruns mind, it played out a bit differently. The Huskies got the better of the Cougs this time. Bruns had offers from Boise St and Oregon St as well.

The Prosser High School (Prosser, WA) wide receiver is not a big target at 5-11, 175 lbs. His numbers, however, are huge. The little guy set a NATIONAL record for career receptions in high school with 304 catches for 5080 yards and 72 touchdowns.

Oh yeah, Prosser matches up with Burlington-Edison for the Class 2A Washington state championship this Saturday. National records and a state title, not a bad way to go out.

How Cody Bruns ranks:
Rivals: #99 WR nationally
Scout: #34 WR nationally
ESPN: #100 WR nationally

Cody Bruns, despite his diminutive frame and inferior athletic ability, is a great pick up for the Huskies. He has great hands and consistently catches the ball away from his body. He attacks the football with a very natural feel. He lacks all-around speed and athleticism but he makes up for it with good "football" speed. Speed that translates on the field not in a combine. He is a classic over-achiever. One can never have enough over-achievers on their roster.

Wes Welker is a solid comparison. This kid will put up huge numbers with Jake Locker.

Markelle Martin first to jump Aggie ship

According to and, the highly ranked safety prospect Markelle Martin has de-committed from Texas A&M and joined the Oklahoma Sooners. How Martin Ranks:

Rivals: #12 safety in nation
ESPN: #11 safety in nation
Scout: Unranked wide receiver

The Rider High (Wichita Falls, TX) product is listed at 6-2, 190 lbs. Martin plays with reckless abandon. He announces his presence at the ball carrier. He has no regard for his bodily safety. Once he reads run, he is flying past blockers to the ball.

He is very strong at reading the play when sitting back in a zone scheme. He is fundamentally sound when it comes to turning his hips and staying low as he turns to run. He has great ball skills and has no problem going up and fighting for the pass.

This is a kid who uses his superior diagnostic skills to mask the lack of overall speed and athleticism. He is quicker than he is fast.

The real question is how many kids jump ship? Some are nervous and some are excited. The quick coaching turn-around will help continuity. However, new coach Mike Sherman will be building a staff and recruiting kids all while he does this little thing called coaching in the NFL. It will be tough.

Texas A&M only has two out-of-state commits though so it should be easy for Sherman, who is with the Houston Texans, to visit kids and calm their nerves. It will also help if he keeps some of the coaches from Fran's staff. It always helps the recruiting class if former coaches are kept.

Losing Martin is a big hit though. If they lose kids like Sedrick Johnson it will not be pretty. Especially if those kids go to divisional foes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jameel Owens to Oklahoma?

At least to the state of Oklahoma. The Muskogee High School (Muskogee, OK) wide receiver is just one of many in the fabulous 2008 WR class. Jameel Owens is listed at roughly 6-3, 215 lbs.

A '08 WR class that has names like DJ Shoemate, AJ Green and Julio Jones it is easy to see how the 6-3, 215 pounder gets lost even at his size. A sidenote: this WR class may be the best crop of pass catchers EVER.

Owens is a big powerful target. He rarely goes down at first hit and is very allusive in the open field using not only his quick feet but also his raw power to shake tacklers. His speed is legit. He has the ability to run away from corners on a regular basis. Owens also plays safety. Now, the Muskogee product will be playing offense but he is a technically sound tackler in the open field. He is fundamentally sound which illustrates coach-ability. It means that if there is something wrong with his game, it can be fixed easily.

Jameel Owens has narrowed his list to LSU, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Owens as well as his head coach are saying that they would both be "shocked" if he went far from home.

So that narrows it down to Boomer Sooner and Okie State. The young wideout will announce his school of choice at the 8th Annual Army All-American game on January 5th. Owens has stated openly that he would like to be involved in the offense early.

Both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have interesting situations. Six players caught touchdown passes in 2007 at the WR position for Oklahoma. All six have the option to return. Most likely Juaquin Iglesias returns but Malcolm Kelly could see the dollar signs and bolt for the League. Either way he will not see a lot of balls thrown his way as a true freshman. Adron Tennell will step in and fill Kelly's shoes very nicely. This does not include young TE Jermaine Gresham and RB DeMarco Murray, who both will be major parts of the offense for at least the next two seasons.

Oklahoma State loses its best WR in Adarius Bowman. The depth is much more appealing at OSU as only three WR caught more than 9 passes. The major issue here is that true frosh Dez Bryant had a nice first season and will likely be the number one target at least for one season if not two.

So if it really is about playing time then Oklahoma St has more to offer.

The only other issue to consider is how long does the staff stay in place in Stillwater? Gundy's priceless temper tantrum does not bode well for a coach losing five games a season at best.

Just a hunch here (that and I have friends *cough* at *cough*) but I say Oklahoma is the team to beat.

Just in case,

The 757

No, I am not writing about planes. The area code '757' might be the most talent producing area code in the United States. Yes, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles all may produce more talent overall but all have more than 1 area code.

The 757 consists of Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth and
Williamsburg. From now on these towns will be known as one of three things: The 757, Hampton Roads or the Tidewater area. I make my case that The 757 is most talent producing area code in US history.

All-time team:
QB: Aaron Brooks - Newport News (clearly Mike Vick is the most talented QB but he killed dogs so he doesn't make my list) - NFL free agent
RB: Percy Harvin - Va Beach - Florida Gators
WR: Plaxico Burress - Norfolk - New York Giants
WR: Ronald Curry - Hampton - Oakland Raiders (was a stellar QB in high school)
WR: Al Toon - Newport News - New York Jets
TE: Ben Watson - Norfolk - New England Patriots
OL: Dwight Stephenson - Hampton - NFL Hall of Famer

DL: Dwight White - Hampton - member of Steel Curtain defense
DL: Bruce Smith - Va Beach - maybe greatest DE of all time?
DL: Henry Jordan - Newport News - NFL Hall of Famer
LB: Lawrence Taylor - Williamsburg - maybe greatest LB of all time?
LB: Xavier Adibi - Hampton - Virginia Tech
LB: Chris Hanburger - Hampton - Washington Redskins
DB: Shawn Springs - Williamsburg - Washington Redskins
DB: Dre Bly - Chesapeake - Denver Broncos
DB: Jimmy Williams - Hampton - Atlanta Falcons
DB: DeAngelo Hall - Chesapeake - Atlanta Falcons
DB: Antoine Beathea - Newport News - Indianapolis Colts

KR/PR: Allen Iverson - Hampton - Denver Nuggets
K: Mike Husted - Hampton - Former Tampa Bay Buc
Coach: Mike Tomlin - Newport News - Pittsburgh Steelers

BUT WAIT!!! There is a lot more.

11 of the Rivals top-30 state of VA prospects in 2008 are from THE 757, including the top player in the state E.J. Manuel. Manuel is committed to Florida St. Also, the top player in the state for 2007, Tyrod Taylor is making his early marks in Blacksburg as we speak. Don't look now, but Hampton has a 2009 QB by the name of Tajh Boyd who will be highly sought after young prospect.

How about a celebrity hoops game? Featuring: Allen Iverson, Alonzo Mourning, Joe Smith, JR Reid and Tennessee Vol Duke Crews and good ole Lefty Driesell coachin 'em up. All from Tidewater area.

Fancy baseball instead? No problem. Softball game featuring: David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, B.J. Upton, Justin Upton, Mark Reynolds, Michael Cuddyer. All from Tidewater.

During halftime of the celebrity hoops game we will have live performances by: Ella Fitgerald, Tonedef, Missy Elliot, Timbaland, Robert Cray, The Neptunes, the Wooten Brothers and Wayne freakin Newton! Yes, all from Tidewater.

Broadcasting for THE 757 classic will be none other than Wanda Sykes, Mark Hamill and Danny Tanner. I know what you are thinking. Bob Saget is from this planet? Yup, Virginia.

Entertainment will be provided court side with the dynamic duo of Nikki Nova, who you will remember from "Night Calls:411" on the Playboy channel, and the open-minded, free-thinking Pat Robertson from his program "The 700 Club."

Nova has since had some trouble with farm animals. Don't worry, its clean. Pat disapproved.

Both from THE 757.

If that was not enough proof. Everyone will be dressed from head-to-toe in Perry Ellis wear. Also from Hampton Roads.

The Fighting Illini Smokin Hot!

Ron Zook is a recruiter. He may have learned how to coach in 2007 but he certainly hasn't forgot how to recruit. Or better yet, Mike Locksley has learned from Master Zooker and is now applying the lessons. These kids have no chance against powers such as those. Needless-to-say Illinois is not only having a great run on the field but off of it as well.

Since October 21st The Zooker, Locksley and Co. have been roaring through the recruiting trail landing 8 commitments. They are arguably the hottest team in recruiting and it all started with a big defensive lineman from Florida.

Corey Luiget (who may or may not be having cold feet) is a 6-3, 260 lb defensive dynamo who chose Illinois over LSU, FSU, Va. Tech, Tennessee, Ohio St and South Florida. Ron Zook continues to go into the south, particularly Florida, and pull talented kids.

Another area that Zook and the Illini have been abel to exploit: District of Columbia. Names like Regis Benn and Vontae Davis have been huge pulls from that area. of the country. Reggie Ellis, a defensive tackle listed at 6-2, 280 lb, is considered by many the top player in D.C. this year. He recently committed to Illinois.

The Eight:
Corey Luiget - DE 6-3, 260 (Hialeah, FL) 4-star
Reggie Ellis - DT 6-2, 280 (Washington, DC) 4-star
Hubie Graham - TE 6-4, 230 (Scranton, PA) 4-star
Jason Ford - RB 5-10, 210 (Belleville, IL) 3-star
Mikel LeShoure - RB 6, 220 (Champaign, IL) 3-star
Fred Sykes - WR 6, 180 (Tampa, FL) 3-star
Supo Sanni - LB 6-2, 200 (Homewood, IL) 3-star
Russell Ellington - LB 6-2, 207 (Homewood, IL) 2-star

Mike Locksley, who will get looks at any of the new jobs (Georgia Tech anyone?), is responsible for landing five of those eight kids. He is a serious up-and-comer!

I wonder what former Michigan State head coach John L. Smith thinks?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Day 5 of the Michigan coaching search:

Candidate No. 5: Mike Trgovac (DC with Carolina Panthers, 48-41)

Carolina Panthers - Defensive Coord (2002-present)
Washington Redskins - Asst Coach (2000-2001)
Green Bay Packers - Asst Coach (1999)
Philadelphia Eagles - Asst Coach (1995-1998)
Notre Dame - Asst Coach (1992-1994)
Colorado St - Asst Coach (1990-1991)
Navy - Asst Coach (1989)
Ball St - Asst Coach (1986-1988)
Michigan - Grad. Asst (1984-1985)

Positives: This seems to be a theme, he is a Michigan guy. He started for Bo for three seasons and was a GA for him after graduating. This guy has plenty of experience at all different levels (except Head Coach). Thought of as one of the top defensive minds in the NFL, Trgovac helped lead his Panthers to a Super Bowl in 2004 with one of the nastiest defenses in the NFL.

Negatives: Despite having a TON of experience at many different levels he has never been a head coach at the level of a school like Michigan. Being in the NFL certainly exposes him to the pressures of the game but he has been away from the college game for a long time. He does not have any solid recruiting ties to the state of Michigan or any where else for that matter. The recruiting learning curve would also be steeper due to the fact that he has never been the captain of a ship, especially one as famed as the SS Wolverine.

Probability: 35%
Visitor Hire Rating:

Next Week: All the stupid candidates that will never get hired (Cam..*cough*..Cameron)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Day 4 of the Michigan Coaching Search

Candidate No. 4: Brian Kelly (144-53-2 as NCAA head coach)

Cincinnati - Head Coach (2007-Present)
Central Michigan - Head Coach (2004-2006)
Grand Valley State - Head Coach (1987-2003)

Positives: He is a winner. Kelly has won two national titles at Grand Valley State and a MAC title at Central Michigan. He has also turned Cincinnati into a Big East contender. He also clearly has ties to the state of Michigan. He knows the state and has relationships with the high school coaching staffs. Kelly is considered a "up-and-comer" in the coaching ranks these days with his offensive innovations.

Negatives: Is this a destination job for Kelly or is he looking for the next step? That means the NFL. Michigan is NOT a stepping stone job, PERIOD. Plus, the last time Bill Martin went after an up-and-comer (Tommy...*cough*...Amaker) it did not play out quite the way he wanted. Kelly is a risky choice.

Probability: 45%
Visitor Hire Rating:

Fri: candidate No. 5 Mike Trgovac

Florida State Update: Everett Dawkins

Florida St. normally waits until Signing Day to finish off a top-10 type class. This season has been a bit different for Bobby Bowden and the new coaching staff. There was a lot of talk surrounding OC/QB guru Jimbo Fisher and O-line maniac Rick Trickett but it may be another new coach that this recruiting success can be attributed. Former NC State head coach Chuck Amato is on this star-studded staff now and one thing he has always been able to do is recruit. Amato and Co. have put together a stellar class for 2008 and its not even signing day yet! Unofficial BCS Team Recruiting Rankings

Who could forget this classic film about Amato

A recent trip by FSU DE coach Jody Allen to watch 6-3, 250 lb defensive end Everett Dawkins paid off with a commitment from the Byrnes HS (Duncan, SC) player. He goes with the Noles over Illinois, Wisconsin, Va. Tech, Tennessee South Carolina and others.

Byrnes is a football juggernaut in the state of South Carolina with facilities that rivals small D-1 football programs. This means that physical development should be ahead of schedule as compared to most high school programs. Dawkins is a finalist for Mr. Football in the Palmetto state.

It shows on the field. Dawkins is an athlete. He is very explosive, has quick feet and runs very well. He can get to ball in a hurry. On film he looks bigger than 250 and he carries the weight very well as he is comfortable in open space. He also has one of the quickest swim moves I have ever seen on film. Because of his athleticism he is comfortable in a two-point stance.

His comfort level with standing up comes from the utilization a very unique defensive front scheme. At times he is cock-eyed in as a DT and sometime the entire defensive line is standing. The New England Patriots has at times used this to confuse QB's pre-snap.

I am worried about his reliance on one move, the swim. He uses it even as a DT and he rarely shows the power and strength to stand a O-lineman up at the point of attack and hold his ground. He will need to learn to go through blocks not constantly try to go around them. D-1 athletes are too quick these days. They will beat him to the hole if he tries to go around blocks. Make no mistake, however, he is an physically gifted athlete.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Day 3 of the Michigan Coaching Search:

Candidate No. 3: Ron English (20-5 as defensive coord. at Michigan)

Michigan - Defensive Coord. (2004-Present)
Seattle Seahawks - Secondary Coach (2003)
Arizona St - Secondary Coach (1998-2002)
San Diego St - Secondary Coach (1996-1997)
Northern Arizona - OLB Coach (1995)

Positives:He is a current member of the staff. This is a huge factor when considering the current class of recruits. Most kids commit to the coach that is recruiting them, or at least have a stronger relationship with them than the head coach. If English is hired it almost guarantees that the recruits stay committed. English is not a bad coach either. He was the DB's coach in his first two seasons and was elevated to DC prior to last season. It paid off. Michigan's defense finished #1 against the run, 4th in sacks, 7th in 3rd-down defense, 10th in total defense and 15th in scoring defense. These are all national rankings. He is a high-energy guy that is a solid recruiter also.

Negatives:His lack of head coaching experience at the high D-1 level will hurt his case. And he is still learning as a play caller and in-game adjuster. His defenses were beat pretty bad in a four game stretch spanning the final two games of last season (OSU/USC) and the first two of this season (App St/Ore). Now to his credit, all of those offenses are very high powered, with the exception of Appy St of course. No one has stopped Dennis Dixon this season and no one slowed Troy Smith last.

Probability: 60%
Visitor Hire Rating:

Thu: Candidate No. 4: Brian Kelly
Fri: Candidate No. 5: Mike Trgovac

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cordy Glenn: UGA lands No. 24

Mark Richt and the UGA Bulldogs will be sitting around this Thanksgiving holiday eating turkey, drinking wine and just generally being merry. Georgia fans, however, may not even watch the annual tilt between the Dawgs and the Ramblin' Wreck of Georgia Tech. All eyes will be fixed north to the Bluegrass state. If Kentucky can knock off Tennessee it means a bus ride to the ATL and a shot at #1 ranked LSU for the SEC title.

A title Georgia may have already wrapped up, however, is the SEC recruiting title for the 2008 class. Georgia has very few holes in this class and one small hole was filled by a not-so-small offensive lineman. Cordy Glenn (6-6, 315 lbs), from Riverdale HS (Riverdale, GA), makes the 24th commitment for Richt and the Bulldogs. O-Line was one area that the staff felt needed to be addressed. While still waiting for Zebrie Sanders, the big offensive tackle from Ohio, to make his decision, Richt was glad to hear from Glenn.

Cordy Glenn is a beast. Once this big offensive lineman locks onto a defender, he is going for ride. And it normally does not end well for Mr. Defender, who is normally laying on his back with a 6-6, 315 pounder on top. He is almost impossible to disengage from. He has quick enough feet and decent athleticism for his size.

One thing the big kid will need to work on is maintaining his pad level. Because Glenn is so overpowering at the point of attack, he sometimes just mauls people to the ground with poor technique. If he can keep his focus on firing off low while consistently playing with good balance he will be a star at the next level.

Now, before Alabama fans go crazy here, in my first ever Unofficial BCS Team Recruiting Rankings, I actually ranked Alabama 3rd in the nation and UGA 4th. If names like Julio Jones, William Green, Chris Tolliver, Jerrell Harris, Chris Jordan jump on the Cruise De Saban then Alabama will probably win the SEC recruiting crown.

Mark Richt sure is making it interesting though. If Sanders commits (its down to FLA and UGA) then Georgia and Alabama should finish atop their divisions respectively and absolutely in the top-10 if not the top-5.

Day 2 of the Michigan Coaching Search:

Candidate No 2. Jim Harbaugh - Head Coach @ Stanford

Stanford - Head Coach (2007-present)
U of San Diego - Head coach (2004-2006)
Oakland Raiders - QB Coach (2002-2003)

Positives: He is a Michigan guy. There are not many people out there that bleed Maize and Blue more than Harbaugh. The former Michigan QB, also has experience at a BCS school, albeit very limited. However, within that limited time, Harbaugh has made a huge impact with the biggest upset in Pac-10 history beating USC earlier this season. That team plays with dramatically more emotion and intensity. He also coached in a Super Bowl with the Raiders. The Visitor thinks he is the clearly the best option.

Negatives: He is a bit boisterous. He opened his yapper and got into a family feud with Michigan and Lloyd Carr. He also took a poke at Petey The Poodle at USC. I suppose he backed that one up. The comments on Michigan academics (who better to comment on them than a former player by the way?) drew a lot of resentment from Mich. AD Bill Martin and HC Lloyd Carr. He may have burnt that bridge. Its unfortunate too, because he would be the best man for the job.

Probability: 15%
Visitor hire rating:

WED: candidate No. 3 Ron English
THU: candidate No. 4 Brian Kelly
FRI: candidate No. 5 Mike Trgovac

Terrelle Pryor goes off!

We all know that Terrelle Pryor is a special player. The Jeannette HS (Jeannette, PA) quarterback is listed at 6-6, 230 lbs. Almost a unanimous choice for the #1 high school senior in the nation (ESPN #3), Pryor played a game that will be remembered for a long time.

In what was the highest scoring playoff game in WPIAL history, Jeannette HS defeated Aliquippa HS 70-48.

Pryor brought back memories of Tony Dorsett as the young QB ran for 331 yards and five rushing touchdowns. Just for kicks, he threw in 90 yards passing and two scoring throws. Thats 421 yards of total offense and 7 touchdowns!

I realize that most of these kids trying to tackle the Vince Young clone will not be playing D-1 football but Aliquippa and the Western PA. football league is no joke. Jonathan Baldwin, David Posluszny (brother of Paul), and Ryan Turnley are all ranked in the PA. Top-40 by Rivals. And that is just the Sr. class.

He has narrowed his list to Ohio St, WVU, Tennessee, Florida and PSU.
Ohio St is the team to beat for Pryor. He has taken multiple unofficials and was on campus for the Wisconsin game officially. Pryor is very concerned with the style of offense. He wants to be able to run the ball. Fla and WVU are following in a close 2nd.

Oh, and did I mention that Pryor is also one of the top-30 basketball prospects in America too? Thad Matta anyone? Not to mention the fact that star recruits Michael Brewster, DeVier Posey and Lamar Thomas have been recruiting him hard for Jim Tressell.

Just imagine everyday Thad Matta, Jim Tressell, Ted Ginn Sr, Brewster, Posey and Thomas call you just to say, 'hey, we are thinking about how much we love you.' Tough to say no to that.

Here is a taste of what Pryor did in the state title game last year...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Chris Jordan down to 2

Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, TN) standout RB Chris Jordan has two schools left on his list of suitors. Unofficially of course, I have it on good authority from inside the walls of a certain website company that Jordan has narrowed his list to Alabama and Clemson.

Jordan is on record as wanting to play running back. Alabama and Clemson have, at least, promised him a chance at that. The 6-1, 205 lb running back is a dynamic play maker but I just don't know if he will end up in the backfield. I have seen him play in person and will get another chance this weekend as BA matches up with local power Montgomery Bell Academy for the state championship game. He is a big kid and reminds me a bit of former Colorado and current Tennessee Titan RB Chris Brown. Brown, while more upright than Jordan, has consistently battled injury issues due to his style and size. I would like to see him out on the edge, possibly in the slot.

Look for a decision from the stellar athlete soon. Stay tuned to the Visitor for more on Jordan.

You Can't Spell Lloyd Carr Without 2 L's...

Or in the 2007 version: 4 L's. Lloyd Carr announced Monday that he would be stepping down as the head coach of Michigan. This immediately raises the question of who will take his place. The Visitor has complied his list for all the Michigan folks out there. Today, we start with "The Hat."

1. Les Miles - head coach LSU

LSU - Head Coach (2005-Present)
Okie St - Head Coach (2001-2004)
Dallas Cowboys - Asst coach (1998-2000)
Okie St - Asst coach (1995-1997)
Michigan - Asst coach (1987-1994)
Colorado - Asst coach (1982-1986)

Positives: Les Miles is logically the choice of the alumi base in Ann Arbor. He played at Michigan, he coached under Bo Schembechler and has experience as a head coach in big time NCAA football. He wants to get back to the Big Blue. He also had a strong record against Stoops and Oklahoma in the Bedlum Series.

Negatives: The timing is terrible. Miles is coaching his own team right now that sits at #1 in the polls. If you wait to hire him until after the season you leave a solid recruiting class sitting around wondering what will happen. Not a good thing. He is also a bit of a basket case, calling timeouts when you don't need to (see Tenn game 2005). His Freudian slips surrounding Alabama, the Pac-10 conference, and the Louisiana city of Monroe have not made him any friends. Snoop Dogg, a USC Trojan fan, quickly slayed the Miles dragon with his pleasant and classy response. I must issue a STRONG warning, however, as this audio file contains language not suitable for everyone. Its amazing that the cerebral ramblings of a rapper still won the verbal sparring match with Mr. Miles.

Probability: 80%
Visitor hire rating:

Godzilla or Les Miles??

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Team Recruiting Rankings

As we near the end of the actual football season, we begin to head into the heart of another type of season. The recruiting season. The bowl season, for those teams not practicing for such historic bowl titles as the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, means hitting the recruiting trail. I have searched high and low to bring you the first ever Unofficial Visitor team recruiting rankings. With a little help of course...

Rivals and Scout are both completely computerized awarding points for quality and quantity. Hence Ohio St and USC are lower. ESPN is completely objective (Its just some guy ranking classes).

I will be the BCS of recruiting rankings. It will be two parts computer and two parts human poll. I will input my rankings and come up with "The Unofficial Team Rankings:"

D'anton Lynn: Underrated?

Penn St got a good one from the state of Texas. I believe he is better than the experts think.

D'anton Lynn was originally from the state of Florida and moved to Texas and attends Celina HS (Celina, TX). The 6-1, 180 lb safety prospect has recently committed to Penn State. He chose PSU over Oklahoma, Florida, USC and Ohio St. Here is how the big boys rank him:

Rivals: #30 safety, #34 in state of Texas (3-star)
Scout: #17 safety (4-star, but they hand those out like Hargrave Military Academy hands out diplomas)
ESPN: #8 safety

Much of Lynn's success will be derived from the system with which he is used. His strengths lie in his attacking style of play. He is lightning quick once he diagnosis the play and when he gets to the ball he announces it. He is a very physical player and can cover sideline to sideline. He was used in a system that allowed him to play down in the box, much like a Rover back, which could hurt him if he is playing predominately at a high-point position.

His speed and acceleration does make up for his slower diagnostic skills. Which is something he can work on and will need to do. I believe that Lynn is much like Roy Williams the former OU and current Dallas Cowboy safety. Lynn will need to work on his hip turn and cover ability when it comes to playing in open space with high level D-One athletes. Williams struggles in pass coverage but is a monster when playing the run. If PSU utilizes his explosiveness and tenacity around the line-of-scrimmage, Lynn could be a huge steal from the state of Texas, a state that has been dramatically under-utilized by JoePa and the Nittany Lions.

In case you forgot, Roy Williams was a hell of a player at OU...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Draft Rankings: QB's

At each draft position I will be giving my top-7. Followed by my "Workout Warrior Alert" in which a player impresses physically and will be subsequently overrated. Last will be my Super-Sleepers. I might as well start at the quarterback position:

1. Andre Woodson - Kentucky 6-4, 220
All the top-3 QB's in this class have separated themselves from the rest. All three have great size/frames and all possess the arm strength to make those throws into the tiny NFL window. The difference for me between the three is Woodson's poise. Whether its in the huddle, at the line of scrimmage pre-snap, or throwing a corner route when a 6-3, 275 DE is about to give him a collapsed lung, Woodson has poise. He has won big games with big-time throws. The one thing that scouts will knock him for is his release. That must be worked on, its a bit quirky and slow.

2. Matt Ryan - BC 6-5, 225
Ryan is probably the smartest of the top-3 QB's. The final two drives against Va. Tech proved that he has the ability to lead and make the big play. As I said before, all of the top-3 have the arm and the size. Great motion and footwork from this heady veteran. His toughness and leadership are unquestion as he threw for nearly 1700 yards and 9 TD's witha broken foot in 2006.

3. Brian Brohm - Louisville 6-4, 230
Brohm is the biggest and most physical of the group. He also has the strongest arm of the top-3. His inability to win close games will hurt him. Also, he is the least mobile of the top-3. The question remains, was it switching coaches and the subsequent poor play-calling of Steve Kragthorpe or was it poor play from Mr. Brohm that led to those loses. However, make no mistake about it, this kid is special. You think Bobby-P in ATL would like to see Brian Brohm in a Falcon uni next season?

4. Erik Ainge - Tennessee 6-6, 220
The tallest QB in the draft, Ainge has proven to me this season that HE can be the play maker. Much of his success his Jr. year was attributed to great athletes all over the field. Not so this season. With an injury/suspension riddled backfield, pourous o-line play and a VERY weak wide receiving corp, Ainge has the Vols poised for a showdown with LSU in the SEC title game. Solid arm strength and great toughness, at least physically.

5. Chad Henne - Michigan 6-2, 220
Although a smaller frame than the rest of the top-5, Henne has easily the strongest arm. He has strong footwork and has a proven track record, not just everyone starts for four full season at Michigan. He is not very mobile and the questions will surround his inability to win the big game (OSU, Rose Bowls, Appy St?).

6. Colt Brennan - Hawaii 6-3, 200 The most accurate QB in the draft
7. John David Booty - USC 6-3, 215 Has the quickest release in the draft

NFL SCOUTS BEWARE!! Stay Away! These are the Workout Warriors:

Anthony Morelli - Penn St
Kyle Wright - Miami
Dennis Dixon - Oregon
Sam Keller - Nebraska

Josh Johnson - San Diego
Joseph Flacco - Delaware

Matt Patchan tells the truth

It is understandable that former Miami players should be mad at what happened in the final game in the OB (Orange Bowl). But recruits?

Armwood HS (Seffner, FL) OT Matt Patchan has gotten some heat for his comments following the 48-0 waxing the Canes received from Al Groh's Wahoos. Patchan is probably the best offensive tackle left uncommitted in the '08 class. His father played at Miami. According to the Miami Herald, Patchan pulled no punches when referring to the effort that the Canes gave Saturday night:

"half those guys in Miami uniforms shouldn't be there -- they physically don't cut it"

In an interview with he said,

"there's too many guys that it doesn't bother them that they lost the game. There's too many guys now at the U that [say], 'It's OK we lost. Well, what am I going to do tonight?' Like it doesn't mean anything. They need to get rid of those types of guys."

Needless-to-say the current Miami players did not take it well. However, some of the biggest recruits that are committed to Miami currently are agreeing with Patchan. Marcus Fortson is one of those who agrees with Patchan and is arguably the best defensive tackle in the nation and is even more important to Miami because he is the spearhead of the Miami (FL) Northwestern High School class. SEE BLOG "The U!"

If Randy Shannon can nail down Patchan and all those Miami-Northwestern kids they should be fine. But publicity like this from the arguably the top OT in the nation is never good. Some advice for the Canes, and I am stealing this from a kid in the crowd at the Oregon-Arizona game who held up a sign that simply read, "Play Better!"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

And the hits just keep on coming...

Nebraska Cornhusker fans have had a rough season. I think bringing Tom Osbourne back into the fold eased some of that pain. Let's hope he brings in a head coach that will return the Big Red to the option attack that we all grew to know and love.

First, big OL prospect Trevor Robinson (Elkhorn, NE) de-committed.

Next, what most people believe to be the best player in the state of Michigan, Jonas Gray (RB - Detroit), de-committed and then joined Chuckie Weis and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Next came the Blaine Gabbert de-committment. The 6-5, 230 lb QB from Ballwin, MO is the top prospect in that state. He, behind Terrell Pryor and possibly EJ Manuel, is the best QB in the nation.

Then the vaunted Blackshirt defense allowed 76 points to the Kansas Jayhawks. Which, funny enough, was 9 more points than the Huskers D allowed to Kansas during the entire decade of the 80's (67 points). Oh, and then starting QB Sam Kellar gets a boo-boo and is out for the rest of the season.

To top it all off, Big XII North division rival Missouri gets great news. Blaine Gabbert has committed to Gary Pinkel and the Tigers.

Gabbert has dropped down some lists due to his poor play this season. To his credit, he has been injured the entire year and has shown good toughness in trying to play through the pain. Do not be fooled, this kid is a great all-around athlete. He has a big enough arm to hit the deep routes but has the touch to connect on the shorter patterns as well. He is surprisingly fast for his size, very deceptive, much like Ben Roethlisberger. He scrambles to throw instead of scrambling to run. There is a huge difference. One is Steve Young and the other is Michael Vick. One will be in the Hall of Fame and the other is in jail.

Here is a video of Gabbert at a camp, ironically, at Nebraska. This is a good picture of his footwork.

Draft Rankings

As I have established myself as a world-class talent evaluator working for such premium companies like, Sirius Satellite Radio and Athlon Sports, I feel that it would also be selfish to keep my NFL Draft content locked away as well. SO, NFL draft rankings and evals will be added.

I had to get that off my chest. I feel better now.

You can filter the blog through the links at the top right corner of the front page.

Me and Julio Jones down by the schoolyard

The state of Alabama has named its All-Star team. It is one of the strongest rosters in recent years. It would probably be even stronger if the selection process did not force at least one player from each of the 8 athletic districts be selected. This team will square off against the Mississippi All-Stars in the 21st annual interstate battle.

Names like Julio Jones, Burton Scott, William Green, Antoine McClain, Dee Finley, Jerrell Harris, Courtney Upshaw, John Michael Boswell and Brandon Lewis are joined by others to make up the 27 man roster. According to, 15 of the 27 are ranked in the top-30 prospects in the state of Alabama.

Alabama is absolutely one of the most territorial states when it comes to recruiting anyway (meaning the kids stay at home) so it is no surprise that Alabama and Nick Saban have already landed 6 of the 27 "All-Stars:"

Burton Scott - Ath Vigor HS (Prichard)
Courtney Upshaw - DE/LB Eufaula HS (Eufaula)
John Michael Boswell - OL Tuscaloosa County HS (Northport)
Brandon Lewis - DE Pleasant Grove HS (Pleasant Grove)
Wesley Neighbors - DB Huntsville HS (Huntsville)
Robert Lester - DB Foley HS (Foley)

That list of course does not include the kids that might still be headed to Alabama. Jones, Green, McClain, Harris. Stay tuned to The Visitor for a Julio Jones update VERY SOON!!

My point? That the state of Alabama for the 2008 recruiting class is loaded. What better year for Saban to take over than a year that is stacked with talent. They will have a top-10 recruiting class. That team will win a SEC West title very soon. The other thing that really stands out to me is the talent along the defensive front. This is an area of heavy need for Alabama. Saban has fixed that problem. Upshaw, Glenn Harbin, Michael Williams, Lewis, Cameron Henderson, Undra Billingsley and Jomarcus Savage all could play along the DL in college. And that is just in the state of Alabama.

A few names I was surprised that did not make the all-star list but are headed to Alabaama:

Tyler Love - OL Mountain Brook HS (Mt. Brook) Arguably the best OL in the nation
Mark Barron - Ath St. Paul's HS (Mobile)
Michael Williams - DE Pickens County HS (Reform) and there are more...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Don'ta Hightower chooses...

Roll Tide.

Two very simple words that accurately describe how Nick Saban and Alabama is doing on the recruiting trail. After a heart wrenching defeat at the hands of Les Miles and the LSU Tigers, Alabama and Sarah Jessica Parker Wilson got Croomed again by Miss. St. Bama fan could not be happier however.

The LSU weekend was one of the biggest visit weekends I, in my brief professional career, have ever seen. Quality and quantity absorbed all that the Capstone had to offer. Names like Barrett Jones, who committed that weekend, Julio Jones, Chris Tolliver, Mr. Hightower, and many others. Also, a "massive" commitment from 6-7, 335 lb DJ Fluker from Biloxi HS (Biloxi, MS). Stay tuned to The Visitor for more on Fluker who will likely be one of the top DT in the 2009 class.

The aforementioned Don'ta Hightower committed Wednesday morning to the Tide. He chose Bama over Vandy. The smart kids never win do they?

The 6-3, 250 lb Mr. Do-Everything is a local product, at least to me. The DE/TE/LB/WR/bus driver is from Marshall County HS (Lewisburg, TN). This kid carries his weight very well. He is a big, physical defender who has the agilty to catch screen passes and return kicks. In a Saban 3-4 defense where the "Jack" backer is used as a hybrid LB-DE, Hightower fits perfectly.

As a side note, Marshall County plays David Lipscomb this Friday night about 10 minutes from my home. I will unofficially be in attendance.

College Fantasy Redzone

For you college fantasy football fans out there, I would like to shamelessly promote the "College Fantasy Redzone." Each and every week, myself, Steve Lassan of and Alex Esselink of sit down and give you latest injury reports, wavier wire pick-ups and Super-Sleepers. Check it out every week at

Karnell Confusion

LSU fans thought they got good news this weekend. After landing another QB named Jefferson, highly rated defensive back prospect, Karnell Hatcher from Atlantic HS (Delray Beach, FL) was reported to have committed by numerous websites. I never thought I would actually say this but where is Lee Corso when you need him? Whoa, nooooot so fast my friends!

The Sun (Fla.) is reporting that this is not the case. "I don't consider myself committed. Everybody's still in the running," the young safety said after practice.

Karnell Hatcher is a big hitter. He has a big frame at 6-2 and has room to put on weight. He has no problem playing coming up and playing the run but is athletic enough to cover a good amount of field in the secondary.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Darrell Scott update

Darrell Scott has begun his cross country tour of campuses (or is that campii?). Arguably the best running back prospect in the nation, possibly the best player at any postion, visited Colorado for the beat down Mizzou put on the Buffs. But no worries CU fans. The St. Bonaventure HS (Ventura, CA) star loved Boulder.

According to the Daily (Co.) Camera, the 6-1, 210 lb running back says that Colorado is firmly in the lead for his services. Apparently his uncle, Josh Smith, is a freshman WR at CU and Scott would love to play with him. The math is a little fuzzy on that one but whatever.

Now before you go jumping into some Dan Hawkins Lotus pose, keep in mind that this kid just got back from his visit in Austin, TX (one of the many cities I have lived). He will be soon visiting LSU, Florida, UCLA and of course USC. This process is far from over. However, it is very difficult to see him not getting ALOT of playing time VERY early at Colorado.

Keep in mind that this kid was born in FLA, lived in Texas and now resides in Cali. Not bad football played in any of those states.

If you have not had the pleasure...

Hawaii QB's...

I realize this is not technically recruiting but Hawaii may need to pick up its QB recruiting efforts after Colt Brennan actually died on the field Saturday night agsint Fresno St...

Don't Miss the Forest

In a world of cynical sports writers I feel compelled to quickly touch on a story that I have been following for sometime. One that is positive none-the-less. Imagine that.

Robert Quinn, a promising young DE from Fort Dorchester (North Charleston, SC), was having a subpar season. The 6-5, 245 lb kid collapsed a few weeks ago for no apparent reason. He had no clue anything was wrong with him. He was taken to the hospital and a brain tumor was discovered. He had immediate emergency surgery as the doctors operated on his brain removing the tumor. The procedure succeeded.

Recently I read that the young man, who is sporting offers from the likes of Fla, Ten, Aub, Va Tech, FSU, Bama and others, has been cleared to play football.

I live with someone who has recently overcome cancer. It is a scary, confusing situation. And in a world where kickers who miss five field goals (John *cough* Vaughn) get death threats, it is a pleasure to see a young man step back and realize what he has. It is unfortunate that it normally takes a life-or-death situation for us to figure out that there are more important things in life than the W.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The U!

Seeing as how The U played so well on Saturday in its final game at The OB, I felt the urge to help out poor Randy Shannon. How does an NFL talent factory go from back-to-back national title games to getting beat by Virginia (no offense Wahoos) 48-0 in less than 5 years?

Hmmm? Lack of talent maybe one of the answers. I am sure poor coaching, terrible fan support, gunfights and on-field brawls also probably aided in the demise too. However, I think I will stick with the talent angle. Larry Coker was a great guy. A very noble and respectable coach that any parent would love to have their kids play for. However, he lost his focus while recruiting southern Flordia. He went to national. Luckily for Miami fans, I have the solution.

Northwestern High School. Yes, it is that simple. Take a page from the Urban Meyer play book. Meyer landed 7 prospects from Lakeland High School in 2007. That is nearly half of a recruiting class supplied by one high school. In case you missed it last season here is the list (rankings according to Rivals):

Chris Rainey - RB 5-9, 165 (#11 in state of FL)
John Brown - DT 6-2, 285 (#15 in state of FL)
Maurkice Pouncey - OL/DL 6-4, 285 (#33 in state of FL)
Ahmad Black - DB 5-11, 180 (#35 in state of FL)
Michael Pouncey - OL/DL 6-4, 280 (#36 in state of FL)
Paul Wilson - WR 6-2, 190 (#84 in state of FL)
Steve Wilks - S 6-2, 200 (not in FL Top 100)

Miami did not even offer 4 of them. The Pouncey twins (but they really count as a package deal) and John Brown are the three that got offers. So what have we learned? While Urban Meyer is busy winning championships, The U is busy trying to recruit gaurds from the state of Idaho.

To Shannon's credit, he learned. Miami could pull off a similar feat this season. Here are the kids from Northwestern High School (Miami, FL):

Marcus Fortson - DT 6-2, 286 (#5 in FL) Miami commit
Aldarius Johnson - WR 6-2, 205 (#7 in FL) Miami commit
Brandon Washington - OL 6-4, 310 (#17 in FL) Miami commit
Tommy Streeter - WR 6-5, 200 (#36 in FL) uncommited
Sean Spence - S/LB 6-1, 190 (#38 in FL) Miami commit
Ben Jones - OL 6-6, 280 (#41 in FL) uncommited
Jacory Harris - QB 6-4, 180 (#46 in FL) Miami commit

The U is on their way to landing all of these kids. If Shannon can lock down all of these kids, not only would it be more impressive than what Meyer did at Lakeland last season (all these kids are ranked higher) but it would mean more to a program that has lost at least 11 games in the last two years. Northwestern HS is right in U of M's backyard. It would mean reclaiming the south Florida region that has seen teams like Rutgers come in and raid talent. It looks like Randy Shannon knows what he is doing.

DJ Shoemate makes me happy...

Now that I have gotten that out of the way. I want to get started with the stuff I actually care about: RECRUITING.

There is no better place for me to start than to start spewing about who I think should be the No. 1 player in the nation for the class of 2008. Yes, Terrelle Pryor is a freakin stud. 6-6 230 lbs QB who glides when he runs? Vince Young you say? Just hold on a minute. Vince Young has a cannon. He does not always know how to use it properly, but a very strong arm. Pryor's arm is not nearly as strong as VY's. Yes, he he looks like Vince when he runs and I love Pryor but maybe my favorite player in the nation this season is from Cali baby. (Ok, maybe Shoemate is No. 2 this season)

DJ Shoemate - Athlete, Servite High School (Anaheim, Ca)
Depending on who you talk to: 6-1, 218 lbs (USC commit)

To give you a break down on where he ranks with the big boyz:
Rivals: #22 overall
Scout: #41 overall
PrepStar: #12 overall
ESPN: #56 overall

Now, these rankings are low due to one thing and one thing only. Shoemate did not play his Jr. season due to injury (broken foot in the first game of the year). Sometimes, the kid is just too good. Ask the Chargers about Antonio Cromartie who just picked off Peyton Manning three times and he did not play a down of his last year at FSU. Injuries create doubt. Fo Sho.

I have none about DJ.

First, let me tell you that the most difficult area to evaluate about a 17-year old, pimply-faced kid is his mental maturity, whether that is leadership, intelligence or work ethic. Shoemate is the leader of his football team. He is well-spoken and worked hard off the field in the classroom during his injury to make sure he got into school.

On the field, he is Percy Harvin plus 3 inches and 30 pounds. His straight line speed may not be that of Harvins, but it is close. He is just as versatile. Is a game against Orange Lutheran DJ carried the ball 36 times for 242 yards and 3 scores. He also registered a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery (check out the video: ). Did I mention that he is listed as a wide receiver?

He has great ball skills, is not afraid to go over the middle, and can be used out of the backfield much like Percy Harvin is used. The difference? Percy just sat out the South Carolina game because he is injured. DJ is much bigger and thicker. The size-speed combo is unreal.

Percy was No. 1 in the nation by in 2006.

The Unofficial beginning of life....

Yes, this is unofficially the first ever post on this here blog.

What do I know about recruiting? Well, I will tell you. If you read my profile you will have figured out that I worked for the market leader in recruiting news and information: They eat, breath, sleep, drink and do other things to, recruiting. I produced and hosted a national radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio. If you are a fan of college sports, I recommend that you check out RivalsRadio on Sirius 123. Just a quick plug for my boys still slaving away at 4:00 am. Don't miss that one bit. But I digress....

I have since began work at Athlon Sports, another market leader in the sports media industry. This has allowed me to broaden my scope of focus to include baseball, nascar, etc. As the not-so-great Stevie A. Smith would say, HOWEVA, college football and subsequently college football recruiting are still my favorite sports on the planet. You cannot argue this fact. Not only will you lose but you will look foolish trying to tell me that Tuesday's Bobcats-Raptors NBA game was anything but meaningless.

SO, what does this all mean Mr. Visitor?

Well, after much deliberation and many, many hours pondering the deodorant brand that Terrelle Pryor uses, I have come to the ingenius conclusion that this thirst for recruiting information must be shared. I feel it would be selfish of me to keep it all locked inside. And so your Unofficial Visit has begun and of course your trip comes with complimentary hostesses (and I don't mean those little chocolate fakecakes with the cream in the middle either).