Thursday, December 5, 2013
Under Armour game storylines: Big 12
By Damon Sayles
The Under Armour All-Americans have been announced; now, it’s a wait-and-see process for many of them. Will the committed players stay committed? Will the uncommitted make decisions soon? Can we see a major flip before national signing day?
This week’s recruiting storylines focuses on some of the Under Armour All-Americans being recruited by Big 12 programs.
Big 12 representation -- or lack thereof -- at the UA game. The Big 12 currently has four representatives who will compete in the Under Armour All-America Game -- Texas defensive end commit Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) and cornerback commit Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/St. Augustine), Oklahoma quarterback pledge Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) and Kansas offensive lineman pledge Jacob Bragg (Nacogdoches, Texas/Nacogdoches).
UA All-American Leonard Fournette appears to have LSU and Alabama atop his list, but he still could take an official to Texas.
That’s not necessarily a huge number, but it could grow with the upcoming decisions of several uncommitted players. Plenty can happen in the next eight weeks before national signing day.
The nation’s No. 1 player, ESPN 300 running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) is believed to be headed to either LSU or Alabama, but he has been to Texas on an unofficial visit, and an official visit isn’t completely ruled out.
Another potential Big 12 commit is ESPN 300 safety Edwin Freeman (Arlington, Texas/Bowie). The nation’s No. 7 safety, Freeman has Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma high on his list. There are some who feel the Aggies lead this list.
ESPN 300 offensive tackle Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) is another Under Armour All-American who could end up wearing a Big 12 uniform. Smith, the No. 1 player from Kansas, has offers from TCU, Texas, Kansas State, Kansas and Oklahoma, but he also is entertaining offers from Alabama, Michigan, Missouri, Texas A&M, Stanford, South Carolina and other non-Big 12 programs.
Watching Bedlam … from home? The big question for the weekend: Will Mother Nature conquer Bedlam?
As Oklahoma and Oklahoma State prepare for their annual in-state clash, a major winter storm -- which has already forced the Oklahoma high school playoffs back a week -- is threatening the attendance of Saturday’s college football clash.
One player who will be paying attention via television is ESPN 300 cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra). The Under Armour All-American and No. 1 player in California will be paying attention to what the Sooners’ defense can do against Oklahoma State’s potent offense.
Jackson visited Oklahoma the weekend of Oct. 4. LSU, Florida, Tennessee and USC also are in the mix. Jackson has more than 20 offers from coast to coast.
Texas DBs visiting Death Valley. Back in April, ESPN 300 defensive back Ed Paris Jr. (Arlington, Texas/Timberview) had a vision. He knew that he could truly play the role of player-recruiter at the Nike Football Training Camp in Allen, Texas, with several big-time studs in attendance competing.
Two ESPN 300 athletes he targeted: No. 11 Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) and No. 23 Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) – two Under Armour All-Americans and two of the premier defensive backs still uncommitted.
“I want to play for the best,” Paris said, “and I want to get the best to play with me.”
LSU will have the chance to impress Brown and Adams this weekend. Both are expected to be in Baton Rouge, La., for an official visit. The Tigers have 15 commits -- 11 of which are ESPN 300 commits -- and are ranked No. 11 in the latest ESPN class rankings.
Landing Brown or Adams could vault LSU into the top 10. Landing both could put the Tigers in the hunt for a top-five finish.
Springs wants visits … but still Oregon strong. ESPN 300 cornerback Arrion Springs is an Oregon commit -- and he’s very solid. But the nation’s No. 6 cornerback still wants to take official visits. He took in Florida State the weekend of Nov. 1, and he visited Oklahoma the weekend of Nov. 15. LSU, Baylor, Notre Dame and others have offered the Under Armour All-American, and those schools are in the hunt for a potential official visit.
Regardless of if Springs takes any more visits, he’s adamant about being solid with Oregon. Springs is a big fan of head coach Mark Helfrich, as well as secondary coach John Neal, who recruited him.
ESPN JC 50 receiver visiting Manhattan. Kansas State has 16 commits, which gives it plenty of room to work with. The Wildcats will host several commits this week, but all eyes could be on ESPN Junior College 50 wide receiver Andre Davis (Santa Rosa, Calif./Santa Rosa Junior College) for the week of Dec. 13.
Ranked No. 36 in the new juco player rankings, Davis has offers from Kansas State and Washington State. At 6 foot and 190 pounds, Davis is a three-star recruit and the No. 5 juco receiver in the country.
Davis’ versatility makes him an intriguing prospect. He can line up as both an inside and outside receiver, and he also can be an asset on special teams.