Big 12: Rueben Randle
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's a collection of letters I received over the last week.
Ross Struss of Lincoln, Neb., writes: Hey Tim, I just wanted to know how you would rate spring games across the Big 12? In my opinion Nebraska should be No. 1 not only in the Big 12 but maybe even in the nation.
We had to buy our tickets for the Cornhuskers' spring game on Wednesday and it took us three hours to get through. Any other place like this?
Tim Griffin: I don't know of many schools that emphasize a spring game as a promotional tool for the school quite like Bo Pelini and the Cornhuskers. There is more pent-up demand to watch that game than any place across the Big 12 and likely anywhere in the country.
I think the excitement that Pelini has helped foster there in less than a year has made this the toughest ticket in all of spring football. It will be interesting to watch the spectacle this season, particularly as Shawn Watson sorts through his quarterback options. I'm kind of curious to see how Cody Green looks, too.
Darrell from Orlando, Fla., writes: Any news on Miami quarterback Robert Marve's proposed move to a Big 12 school? Does Oklahoma or Oklahoma State even need Marve. Your thoughts?
Tim Griffin: I know that both Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are on Marve's list of "finalists" along with Purdue and South Florida. All of the Big 12 schools would appear to have more national appeal for the former Miami quarterback than his other finalists. I think he will face some acclamation "issues" wherever he ends up.
Marve would be a natural addition if he chose Oklahoma State, considering that Zac Robinson is leaving school after next year. Most presume that Sam Bradford likely will remain at Oklahoma for only one more year, providing a natural entry at Oklahoma in much the same manner. And Taylor Potts will have two remaining years at Texas Tech.
Strong sources around the Oklahoma program told well-connected Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler the Sooners have no interest in Marve. So I think it's more likely he would end up at Oklahoma State or Texas Tech, if he ends up in the Big 12.
But I'm guessing that the most likely place for Marve to land will be somewhere a little closer to home like South Florida. He grew up in Tampa and staying at home might make sense for him in the end. It will be interesting to see where he ends up.
Matt from Dallas writes: I know in the course of monitoring Texas and Oklahoma recruiting as well as fawning over the talent the Aggies are about to spend four years wasting, you may not have noticed that Texas Tech pulled in a very solid class on the defensive side of the ball. Pearlie Graves and Myles Wade will be added to Colby Whitlock and Chris Perry. Suddenly Texas Tech may not be so soft up the middle anymore.
Tim Griffin: I agree with you. I think this might be the most solid defensive recruiting class that Mike Leach has ever attracted. And I know that Graves and Wade, along with Whitlock, should really anchor the Red Raiders' interior for the next couple of seasons.
I thought the Red Raiders showed a lot of improvement defensively until their late slide against Oklahoma and Mississippi. It will be interesting to see how they will rebound from those struggling performances next season.
Austin R. from Austin writes: Hey Tim, it really didn't surprise me that my Longhorns lost out on Dre Kirkpatrick from Alabama or Devon Kennard from Arizona. The moment I hear that these guys are going to announce their school sitting at a table with hats, I knew the Horns are out of the running. Is it that Texas gets the guys that are not into the dramatics? Or is Texas not cool enough for some recruits?
Tim Griffin: I saw Kirkpatrick's announcement on television as well. Longhorn fans might not have liked his sense of dramatics, but I bet they would have warmed to him if they had seen him play cornerback in the burnt orange.
It was interesting to me that Texas wasn't as successful out of state as in previous seasons when they missed out on recruits like Kirkpatrick and Kennard. I'm thinking that the Longhorns are good enough to be at the top of the Big 12 recruiting lists almost every season by dominating Texas talent as they did this season.
But for them to make to challenge for the mythical national championship in recruiting, they need to generate a national splash by attracting a couple of quality out of state recruits. They did it recently with recruits like Blaine Irby and Lamarr Houston and previously were successful recruiting top out-of-state recruits like like Chris Simms, Bo Scaife, and Ricky Williams. They probably need to do it again to reclaim the top spot in national recruiting in future years.
And here's an intriguing nugget I came up with when looking at their recent recruiting lists. Texas has earned only three commitments from out-of-state players in the last three recruiting lists. Compare that with the 49 out-of-state players who have committed to Oklahoma during that time, or the 29 who have committed to defending national champion Florida.
Brent from Overland Park, Kan., writes: Tim, you haven't mentioned Kansas very much since the bowls ended. They are quietly putting together one of the best classes in the nation, but have had little coverage on ESPN, from what I've seen. Mangino is known for getting the 'diamonds in the rough' (Reesing, Briscoe, et al.). Do you see any more in this 09 class?
Tim Griffin: No coach has done a better job in developing underrated talent after their arrival at college than Mark Mangino. The story about how they got hooked up with Dezmon Briscoe ranks as one of the most notable recruiting stories in Big 12 history. But this class for the Jayhawks appears to have more talent than any since his arrival. I think recruits are starting to notice the Jayhawks after their back-to-back bowl appearances and particularly their trip to the 2008 Orange Bowl. And I think the fact they attracted top recruits Prinz Kande and Bradley McDougald is a testament to that.
Bruce from Columbus, Ga., writes: This is a long-term recuiting question I asked during your recruiting-day chat and you didn't answer it. Anyway, I had thought that Bo Pelini's tenure at LSU would provide the Cornhuskers with access to top players to recruit, yet he has none. Will it be a source in the future and why hasn't it helped in the short-term? Thanks.
Tim Griffin: Bruce, thanks for the question and I apologize to not getting to it during my chat. I might not have even seen it. I would answer one question and 15-20 more would materialize in the time I had been away from the board. I wasn't able to answer or even read many of them.
You do raise an interesting question. But I don't see the South ever really being a critical recruiting area for Nebraska. Pelini only had three years of exposure in that area when he was coaching at LSU.
Because of that, I think the Cornhuskers will always look first to areas like California and especially Texas. I think they have contacts in place in both states. It was critical for them this year with eight recruits from Texas and six from California.
The South is
really a closed shop where the Southeastern Conference teams really dominate. Look at how both Texas and Oklahoma both were stoned in their bids for top talent when Texas unsuccessfully tried for Dre Kirkpatrick and Oklahoma went for Rueben Randle. So I think most Big 12 teams will look elsewhere for their major areas of recruiting.
J. Aston of Lubbock, Texas writes: Who in your opinion does the most in the Big 12 with the least as far as recruiting goes? I have my personal opinion, but it might be a little biased. And do you think that if those teams got more highly recruited players, would they be able to do better in the big 12?
Tim Griffin: I think in recent years the coaches that have done the most with underrated talent have been Mark Mangino of Kansas, Gary Pinkel of Missouri and Mike Leach of Texas Tech. All have turned their programs into consistent bowl teams while not normally having access to the upper talent base.
It's been interesting to me that those teams all have had trouble with winning consistently against Oklahoma and Texas - the two teams that typically recruit the most top athletes in the conference.
It would be interesting to see what all programs like the Jayhawks, Red Raiders and Tigers would be able to do with the access to five-star talent. Managing those players - and egos - is a little different than working with some of the other recruits. But I'm thinking all of those schools could develop into national powers if they were able to get more top-ranked talent like the Sooners and Longhorns traditionally feast on.
Clint Seaton from Tecumseh, Okla., writes: With Bill Young becoming the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, what would be a realistic timeline for improving their defense? And maybe even having their defense ranked in the top 30?
Tim Griffin: It's not like Oklahoma State fans aren't putting any pressure on Young, is there?
That being said, Young's work will likely determine if the Cowboys can live up to all of the early hype about their team during the upcoming season. The Cowboys appear to have an offense that can keep up with anybody nationally. But in order to contend for their first Big 12 South title, the defense will have to play markedly better than it did in late losses to Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oregon.
Young is known as one of the most wily coordinators in college football. And I expect him to improve the Cowboys. But moving them into the top 30 might be a little bit much - particularly with all of the prolific offenses that the Cowboys will be facing next season.
Maybe they might be able to talk about a top 30 defense in a couple of years. The Big 12's offenses should be just as potent in 2009 as they were last year. And Texas, at No. 51, ranked as the Big 12's best defense in 2008.
That's all for this week. Please keep the e-mails coming and I'll try to answer as many as I can. Thanks again for all of the good correspondence.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The Sooners' signing class can be found here.
Breakdown: 20 high school, three junior college.
Positions: 5 DB, 4 LB, 4 OL, 3 DE, 2 WR, 1 ATH, 1 QB, 1 TE, 1 RB, 1 DT.
Where they came from: Texas 11, Oklahoma 5, Kansas 2, Missouri 1, Tennessee 1, Georgia 1, Pennsylvania 1, Nevada 1.
The stud: DT Jamarkus McFarland (Lufkin, Texas). The nation's No. 54 prospect on the ESPNU 150. He's a prototypical run-stuffer who projects to be a big contributor at a position where the Sooners are already among the nation's strongest with the return of Gerald McCoy and DeMarcus Granger. He should learn from some of the nation's best.
Recruiting-class sleeper: WR Cameron Kenney of Dacula, Ga., and Garden City Community College. He becomes the most notable addition at wide receiver -- the Sooners' biggest need after the departure of Manuel Johnson, Juaquin Iglesias and Quentin Chaney. Kenney, a former Auburn commitment, is a legitimate deep threat. And he also comes with additional value after averaging 47 yards as a punter and converting eight of nine field goals including a 52-yarder last season at Garden City.
The one who got away: WR Rueben Randle of Bastrop, La. The Sooners were in the hunt for the nation's top receiver until the end, but he couldn't resist the urge to stay close to home by committing to LSU. Randle would have been a key addition for the Sooners where they really need some players.
Needs addressed: Defensive backs, linebackers, defensive line.
Didn't get it: A deep collection of skill-position talent.
Scouts Inc. grade: B (second in the Big 12, second in South Division).
My take: The Sooners loaded up on prime defensive players, but could have used some offensive playmakers. They whiffed late on receivers Randle and Marlon Brown and lost Eric Ward to Texas Tech, but still had an impressive, deep class stacked with top defensive talent.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Oklahoma attracted a typically solid group that was stacked with defensive playmakers.
The Sooners missed out Wednesday on three highly publicized offensive recruits who all opted to remain closer to home and play with Southeastern Conference schools.
Two of the more notable whiffs came for wide receiver prospects which would have met one of the Sooners' most notable recruiting needs.
The biggest disappointment came when Rueben Randle of Bastrop, La., the nation's No. 1 wide receiver recruit, decided to play for LSU. Marlon Brown of Memphis, Tenn., the nation's No. 3 receiver, chose Georgia.
And Eddie Lacy, ESPNU's No. 143 ranked prospect and Scouts Inc.'s No. 17 running back,, announced on Wednesday he would attend Alabama.
The Sooners' class is strong defensively with all six of their ESPNU top 150 recruits defensive players. Included in that group were defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland of Lufkin, Texas; safety Gabe Lynn of Jenks, Okla.; outside linebacker Ronnell Lewis of Dewar, Okla.; inside linebacker Tom Wort of New Braunfels, Texas; defensive end Justin Chaisson of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School and safety Kevin Brent of Dallas South Oak Cliff.
The two most intriguing prospects are Lewis and Wort. Lewis played eight-man football at a small town in Oklahoma. And Wort, a potential special-teams standout, moved to America from England when he was 13 years old.
"We approached recruiting like we do in most years," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said in a prepared statement. "If a player isn't leaving this year, it's possible that he'll be gone in the next one or two so it's important to maintain depth across the board.
"The caliber of these players will allow us to continue to compete at a high level. We like their skill, their football intelligence and their character. All classes are better judged two or three years down the road, but this one certainly gives every appearance of being one that gives us a very solid group of players and individuals."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Rueben Randle, the nation's top wide receiver prospect, opted for LSU over offers from Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama.
Randle made the announcement during an assembly at his high school before a crowd that applauded when he made his decision.
"The most highly recruited football player we have ever had," Bastrop (La.) coach Brad Bradshaw told the Monroe News Star. "He's won every award a football player can win. But he's also academically qualified, and he has been since the ninth grade. That's a tribute to his family."
The Sooners top receiving recruit is Cameron Kenney, a junior-college recruit from Garden City Junior College. He should have a chance to contribute immediately.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
National signing day will provide its usual flurry of last-minute surprises and drama as most top players will make their commitments and finally agree to scholarship offers from their respective schools.
But today's events will provide special interest for Big 12 schools for a variety of reasons.
Here are some of the late trends to watch from around the conference:
- Will Baylor coach Art Briles find some receiving talent to surround scintillating sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin in what appears to be the Bears' top recruiting class of the Big 12 era?
- Can Colorado coach Dan Hawkins continue his recent upturn with a late victory in the heated recruiting battle for Byron Moore?
- What will the return of Paul Rhoads as the Iowa State's new coach mean for the Cyclones -- and will his familiarity throughout the state result in a fast finish after his late start after his hiring?
- Will Mark Mangino have his typical understated recruiting success that has resulted in the Jayhawks' recent North Division ascension?
- Will the return of Bill Snyder at Kansas State enable the Wildcats to land a huge statement-making recruit like Bryce Brown or Denard Robinson?
- Can Missouri hold onto the commitment of heralded defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson as the foundation for the development of a defense that matches the Tigers' recent offensive success?
- Will Nebraska's late surge last season, capped by the Cornhuskers' Gator Bowl victory, result in a couple of late surprises in Bo Pelini's largely settled recruiting class?
- Can Oklahoma pluck a late commitment from wide receiver Rueben Randle, the top remaining national commitment, at the Sooners' biggest position of need?
- Will Oklahoma State's recent development be marked with similar success recruiting Oklahoma players as it initially appears?
- Can Mack Brown pluck a couple of late recruits from heralded signees like Dre Kirkpatrick and Jarvis Jones that would enable the Longhorns to challenge for the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation?
- Will the arrival of key recruits like Christine Michael help Mike Sherman cobble together what should be the best recruiting class at Texas A&M in several seasons?
- Is the offer of playing Michael Crabtree's old position enough of a lure to attract top recruit Emory Blake to Texas Tech and finish Mike Leach's recruiting class with a flourish?
All of those questions and more will be revealed in the few hours.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Texas has a late chance to claim the mythical national recruiting championship or move up in the final ESPNU national rankings with a fast finish Wednesday on National Signing Day.
The Longhorns' chances will play out Wednesday and you can follow it during a nine-hour broadcast of "ESPNU Recruiting Insider: National Signing Day," which will start at 10 a.m. ET to 7 p.m.
Lowell Galindo will host the Signing Day special along with ESPN's Scouts, Inc. national recruiting director Tom Luginbill, ESPNU college football analyst Charles Arbuckle and former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville. David Amber will anchor another news desk at the Charlotte studios tracking news and developments from across the country with two other Scouts Inc. analysts -- Bill Conley and Craig Haubert. The show will also integrate fan comments from ESPN.com and ESPNU.com and will feature a matrix graphic that will display constant updates of school recruiting classes.
The Longhorns could jump from their current spot at third in ESPNU's current rankings behind No. 1 LSU and No. 2 USC. Texas is still in play with two of the top 60 players on the recruiting list -- No. 4 national prospect cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick of Gasden, Ala., and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones of Carver High School in Columbus, Ga., the 60th best prospect in the country.
Oklahoma currently ranks ninth in ESPNU's national rankings. No other Big 12 team is in the top 25.
Here are the current remaining recruiting battles involving Big 12 teams among the ESPNU's 150.
- Kirkpatrick is considering Alabama, Texas, Florida, LSU and USC. He will make his announcement live on ESPNU.
- Wide receiver Rueben Randle of Bastrop, La., is considering LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Auburn and Mississippi. Randle is ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the country.
- Jones is still weighing scholarship offers from Georgia, Texas, Florida, LSU and USC.
- Wide receiver Byron Moore Jr. of Narbonne High School of Harbor City, Calif., is still considering Colorado, Notre Dame and USC. Moore, the No. 71 prospect in the country, will make his announcement on ESPNU.
- Wide receiver Denard Robinson of Deerfield Beach, Fla., is considering Kansas State along with Florida, Michigan, Georgia and Rutgers.
- Running back Eddie Lacy of Dutchtown High School in Geismar, La., is considering Oklahoma among finalists including Alabama, Tennessee, LSU and Ole Miss. Lacy is the 144th ranked prospect in the country.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Wednesday is National Signing Day. To get ready, Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News provided a detailed look at the recruiting in the 2004 South Division class.
It was the class of Graham Harrell and Adrian Peterson. Jason Smith and Brian Orakpo.
McCarney goes back to 2004 to see which prospects were surprises and which were disappointments. Interesting work on the story.
Here are some other recruiting stories across the Big 12 today.
- Glenn Guilbeau of the Gannett News Service has a nice piece on how heralded wide receiver Rueben Randle has become a communal source of pride for his hometown of Bastrop, La.
- Kyle Ringo of the Boulder Daily Camera writes of Colorado's recruiting improvements since Dan Hawkins has taken over.
- Brian Christopherson of the Lincoln Journal-Star profiles running back Rex Burkhead of Plano, Texas -- one of the prime recruiting catches in Nebraska's upcoming class.
- The Houston Chronicle's Sam Khan reports on several Big 12 recruits who are finding it difficult to stick with their original commitments.
- The Oklahoman's Scott Wright writes of Oklahoma State's recent success recruiting inside the state of Oklahoma.
- The practice of grayshirting, or delaying the arrival of a recruit by at least a semester, is examined by the Dallas Morning News' Chuck Carlton.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's a representative sample from the group of letters that came this week.
Chris from Lawrence, Kan., writes: Tim, from what I'm hearing, Kansas State actually has a good shot at landing Bryce Brown. What kind of impact would you expect him to make next year if he does suit up for Coach Bill Snyder?
Tim Griffin: Obviously, Brown immediately would immediately become Kansas State's top back if he arrived in Manhattan as well as the most publicized recruit in Snyder's coaching tenure. He would give Snyder's team the kind of rushing threat it had with Darren Sproles when it was most successful in its championship season back in 2003.
But I'm still thinking it might be tough to keep him from linking up with his brother at Miami. It will be interesting to see where the younger Brown ends up, although I'm hearing it won't be until well after National Signing Day when we find out where he will be playing.
Steve from Reston, Va., writes: Is there any chance Oklahoma will be adding another wide receiver in this year's recruiting class? I think the recent addition of the junior college of junior college wide receiver Cameron Kenney will help. What do you think?
Tim Griffin: Obviously, I believe that Bob Stoops could find room for Rueben Randle if the heralded receiver from Bastrop, La., would choose the Sooners over LSU among others. Randle is visiting Gene Chizik and Auburn this weekend. And the Sooners probably will still need to add another receiver or two to help Sam Bradford, considering the loss of key targets like Manuel Johnson, Juaquin Iglesias and Quentin Chaney from this year's team.
There figures to be a lot of passes for somebody to catch for the Sooners next season.
Ryan from Lincoln, Neb., writes: You reported earlier this year that Bo Pelini was one of the lowest-paid head coaches in the Big 12. Have you heard any rumors about when he might get offered a raise after going 9-4?
Tim Griffin: Coaches are like anybody else, with ego driving their salary demands.
But that being said, I think Pelini earned every penny of his $1.1 million salary last season, which now ranks as tied for the lowest in the league along with Paul Rhoads of Iowa State and Bill Snyder of Kansas State, according to the web site coacheshotseat.com. The league's formerly lowest paid coach, Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State, got a big raise back in December.
I'm thinking Pelini would be deserving of a renegotiation, considering the way that salaries are spiraling upwards in college football. But the decision will ultimately be made by Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne.
David Correa from Dallas writes: Tim, Any truth to the rumors that Baylor and Wake Forest are looking to drop each other from the upcoming 2009 schedule?
Tim Griffin: I haven't heard any rumblings from either side about canceling that game. But I know after covering the game in Waco back in August that Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe saying that he wasn't looking forward to the rematch in Winston-Salem in 2009. And that was before Robert Griffin started really showing what he could do as a versatile run-pass option.
And with Baylor looking to qualify for its first bowl game since 1994, I could see why they wouldn't necessarily be looking forward to facing the Demon Deacons on their home field, either.
It will be interesting to see if the game comes together. Because there still is a contract for a return date in place, the last I checked.
Steve Johnson from Wichita, Kan., writes: Tim, how could you forget about the infamous story about how Josh Freeman got out of his Nebraska commitment and left for Kansas State on your list of memorable recruiting stories this morning.
Tim Griffin: Sorry, Steve, that one slipped my mind. It was a good one. Namely, the urban legend is that Freeman informed then-Nebraska coach Bill Callahan he wouldn't be attending Nebraska by a text message.
Understandably, the announcement didn't make Callahan very happy. He responded with the legendary line where he called out Freeman, although he didn't call him by name. Callahan said about Freeman's de-commitment: "If you're a prima donna, if you're a drama queen, there's no room for you at Nebraska. You can go to Kansas State."
Ryan Carrell of Round Rock, Texas, writes: Tim, you said that former Miami quarterback Robert Marve "blistered Texas A&M for 212 passing yards and two touchdowns to orchestrate a 41-23 victory over the Aggies in College Station last season." Would you like to take a mulligan on the word "blistered?" Especially in the context of the A&M squad. Blistered might have been 400+ yards, but a little more than 200 is barely enough to get a rug burn.
Tim Griffin: Except when it concerns Robert Marve. It was his career high, so I think the term "blistered" is used in the right context for him. And Marve could have thrown for many more yards if the game had been closer, but Miami ran the ball for much of the second half in the easy victory.
So putting everything into context, I think that Marve blistered the Aggies. Or at least that's what I remembered A&M defensive coordinator Joe Kines saying after the game.
Tom Krier writes: Tim, I read your comments on Nebraska winning the North if they can find a "serviceable quarterback." You might point out that Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson seems to be a master of doing just that. The success he had at Colorado with backup quarterbacks (Bobby Pesavanto, for example) was impressive.
Tim Griffin: Tom, I agree with you. The work that Watson did with Joel Klatt, Robert Hodge and Craig Ochs wasn't too shabby, either, during his time at Colorado. And I doubt many Nebraska fans could have projected Joe Ganz's record-breaking season last season if you had asked him if those numbers were possible back in August.
It's why I think that Watson is one of the most underrated offensive coordinators in the nation. I expect him to be a head coach somewhere pretty soon. While I'm writing checks for Osborne, I might considering bumping up Watson, too.
That's all for this week. Keep the letters and e-mails coming and I'll check back again next week.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
National Signing Day is five days away with the most important recruiting weekend of the season approaching at many schools. Here are a few of the late stories that people across the Big 12 are talking about.
- Top wide receiving prospect Rueben Randle is headed to Auburn this weekend, even though he doesn't count the Tigers among his finalists, the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer's Andy Bitter reports. Randle's finalists are presumed to be LSU, Oklahoma and Alabama. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops made an in-home visit to Randle on Thursday night.
- There's a reason why Colorado coach Dan Hawkins doesn't like to publicize his recruiting lists until after signing day, according to the Rocky Mountain News' B.G. Brooks.
- Keller (Texas) linebacker Brandon Mahoney, an early commitment to Oklahoma who is still weighing other options, will be among a group of players visiting Texas Tech this weekend. Others include Carrollton Newman Smith defensive end Aundrey Barr, Longview defensive end Chris Knighton and Blinn College kicker Brad Hicks, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reporter Don Williams writes.
- Baylor picked up a verbal commitment from Houston Stratford defensive end Terrance Lloyd, who reneged on an earlier commitment from Missouri, Waco Tribune-Herald reporter John Werner writes.
- Nebraska has pulled its scholarship offer to linebacker Shawn Bodtmann of West Scranton (Pa.) High School after he struggled with injuries during his senior season, Mitch Sherman of the Omaha World-Herald writes. Mike DeAntona, Bodtmann's high school coach, said the Cornhuskers' practice was unethical.
- Terry Hawthorne of East St. Louis, Ill., named by Parade Magazine as the nation's top high school receiver, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Stu Durando that he's now considering Oklahoma along with Illinois.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell defends Missouri commitment St. Louis Gateway Tech defensive lineman/tight end Sheldon Richardson's opportunity to make a late recruiting visit to Miami on the weekend before National Signing Day.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here's Thursday's installment on the wide, wide world of recruiting.
- Colorado recruit Nick Kasa told Boulder Daily Camera beat writer Kyle Ringo that he opted for the Buffaloes rather than Florida because he wants to play defense. Kasa said he got vibes from Gators coaches that he eventually would be moved to offensive tackle.
- Top remaining ESPNU wide receiver recruit Rueben Randle (say that five times quickly!) got a quick tour of the Louisiana Capitol on Thursday from top LSU alumni in the statehouse, the Baton Rouge Advocate's Michelle Millhollon reports. Randle counts LSU, Oklahoma and Alabama as his finalists.
- Jason Hickman of MaxPreps.com notes that 350 Texas players have committed to FBS programs, including 73 schools (and all Big 12 schools) with at least one commitment from the Lone Star State.
- Oklahoma State defensive back Daytawion Lowe is noted for his toughness after starting all 41 games at Midwest City (Okla.) Carl Albert High School. And Tulsa World writer Bill Haisten also found out that Lowe owns and regularly rides a horse -- a 3-year-old Tennessee walker.
- Safety Jansen Watson of Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola has switched his commitment from Colorado State to Iowa State, Natalie Meisler of the Denver Post reports.
- Eric Martin, an inside linebacker from Moreno Valley Calif., is receiving some late recruiting interest from Nebraska, according to the Lincoln Journal Star's Brian Christopherson. Martin's other finalists include Arizona and Arizona State.