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Saturday, April 26, 2014
D.C. NFTC notes: Five-star DT talks list

By Jeremy Crabtree and Gerry Hamilton

CLIFTON, Va. -- Five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle, No. 10 in the ESPN 300, will not be making an early commitment, that much has been known from the start. What is also known about Settle is that he intends to go through the entire process and take all five of his official visits.

What wasn’t known is that Settle has started to think about what schools will make the cut.

“I’m going to trim it down in August to 14,” said Settle, who earned an invitation to The Opening Saturday after a stellar performance at the Nike Football Training Camp at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va. “The reason I’m going to trim it down in August is two-a-days and getting ready for the season. I don’t want a lot of pressure on me. I just want to play and have fun my senior season.

“Clemson, Tennessee and Florida State are three I know that will make it. With Clemson, it’s family down there. It’s a great place, a great campus, great players and they are on the come up. Tennessee has a great campus and great fans. Coach [Butch] Jones and I are real tight. I talk to Coach Jones weekly. With Florida State, Coach [Odell] Haggins is great. He works with me, and helps me with what I need to do to improve. I really like our relationship.”

For those that make the top 14, surviving the November cut will be the next hurdle.

“After the season, I’m going to have a top five,” he said. “Then when I’m ready to commit, I’ll have a top three and have three hats on the table when I announce my decision.”

Settle plans to announce his decision at the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game or on national signing day.

ESPN 300 DT Tim Settle in 1-on-1's #DCNFTC RecruitingNation

— Craig Haubert (@CraigHaubert) April 26, 2014
Burrell offers the key to landing him

Not only did ESPN 300 No. 67 Matt Burrell Jr. walk away with the offensive line MVP and an invite to The Opening, he also gave the latest on his recruitment with a trimming of his laundry list of offers on the horizon.

“With the process, I’m kind of halfway through it,” Burrell said. “I’m about ready to cut it down soon, but I’m not too sure when exactly. I need to make a make a few more visits, build some relationships and evaluate things. I’m still in the evaluation mode.”

While Burrell has yet to set a visit schedule this summer, Alabama, LSU, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State and Penn State are among the likely destinations outside of the area.

With a process that the versatile lineman says could continue until signing day, the coaching staffs that do the best job of building a relationship with Burrell and his parents stand the best chance to be standing next February.

“I have the approach that I can handle the academics,” he said. “I can handle that responsibility, but the biggest thing that matters are the relationships. I have to live at a place for four years and get a good quality degree. I’m thinking more about 30 years, instead of three or four years.”

When the time comes for Burrell to cut his list to 10, Ohio State, Penn State and Alabama are solid bets to make the cut.

Highly-recruited OL Matt Burrell and #Bama OL commit Richie Petitbon working at #DCNFTC.

— Jeremy Crabtree (@jeremycrabtree) April 26, 2014
Here come the Sooners

Class of 2016 defensive end Rahshaun Smith, who was one of the top defensive linemen at Saturday’s camp, recently said Florida, Ohio State and Virginia Tech were the top three schools among the 18 schools that have offered him scholarships. But Saturday, he said a new team has emerged in his top three.

“The relationship has fallen off a little bit with Ohio State,” said Smith, who is 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds. “It hasn’t with Florida or Virginia Tech. I still like them. I would say Oklahoma has taken Ohio State’s place in my top three. I was really excited when they offered me, and I’m building a good bond with them.”

With offers from Florida, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Boston College, UConn, Florida State, Georgia Tech, NC State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Penn State, Rutgers, Tennessee and Virginia, Smith said he still covets tenders from two programs that haven’t stepped up just yet.

“I would really like to get them from Alabama and Oregon,” Smith said. “The prestige and respect Alabama has really stands out to me, and Oregon is Oregon. If you get an offer from one of those guys, it’s really big.”

2016 DL Rahshaun Smith working on his hand-to-hand combat at #DCNFTC. #Gators, #Sooners, #Hokies lead.

— Jeremy Crabtree (@jeremycrabtree) April 26, 2014
Simmons has priorities in line

He can’t sign a letter of intent for two more years, but Class of 2016 defensive end Shane Simmons can’t escape the recruiting attention. He’s noticed everywhere he goes, including Saturday’s camp, when he had a strong performance in one-on-ones and measured in at a chiseled 6-4 and 225 pounds.

“I try not to worry about what the rankings say and that I’ve got all this attention,” said Simmons, who has offers from Florida State, Maryland, Tennessee, Arizona State, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Virginia and West Virginia. “The rankings and offers don’t matter to me. If you think I’m good, good. Myself, I think I’m good, too, but I’m not going to let the whole recruiting process take my world over.”

Despite some earlier indication that Florida State was his leader, Simmons backed off of that some on Saturday and said he “likes all of his offers” and he’s not ready to “break his list down this early.” But he did say a few offers caught his attention when they came in.

“Florida State caught my attention when it offered,” he said. “I was like ‘Holy cow.’ Rutgers and Arizona State, too, I like those offers, but I don’t discriminate or put one school over the other. It’s just too early to do that for me.”

Hokies in good shape for 2016 TE

Winning recruiting battles in the DMV -- the Washington D.C. area -- is absolutely critical for Virginia Tech if it wants to continue to compete for ACC championships. The good news is that the Hokies are in good shape with one of D.C.’s top 2016 prospects. Tight end/defensive end Devante Brooks has offers from Virginia Tech, Maryland and Illinois, but he said the Hokies are clearly on top of his list.

“It’s just the atmosphere when I was up there,” said Brooks, who is 6-5 and 220 pounds. “Everybody was very welcoming. It felt like a family atmosphere. The campus overall is just beautiful. The stadium is very nice, too, and the crowd just gets into the game. It’s close to home, but also a little bit farther away, too. My mother and my dad want me to stay close.”

Brooks, who had a solid performance working at tight end Saturday, is also receiving early attention from Miami, Northwestern and a number of local ACC programs, but he said he would really like to get offers from Penn State, Clemson and Tennessee.

“Those would be big offers,” he said.

Very good 1-on-1 battle between 2016 TE Devante Brooks and 2015 LB Arthur McGinnis. #DCNFTC

— Jeremy Crabtree (@jeremycrabtree) April 26, 2014
Allen has six schools on top

Even though he has 23 scholarship offers, ESPN 300 offensive tackle Pat Allen said Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Georgia, Wisconsin and Tennessee have emerged as his top schools.

Allen also has offers from West Virginia, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Boston College, Florida, Kentucky, Marshall, Miami, Michigan, NC State, Nebraska, Old Dominion, Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse, USC, Virginia and Virginia Tech, but he said he gets a “family feeling” with the top six teams on his list.

“I like how they’re in comfortable areas,” said Allen, who was one of the top offensive linemen at Saturday’s camp. “When you combine how great those cities are with the family feeling, it’s hard to beat those guys.”

Allen said he would love to get an offer from Auburn still, and he became a fan of the Tigers’ playing style after watching them against Alabama last season. He also said LSU assistant Jeff Grimes was the first coach to call him after the start of the spring evaluation period. Over the last few weeks, though, Allen said he feels most connected with Ohio State assistants Larry Johnson and Ed Warinner, which is why some have labeled the Buckeyes the team to beat.

“When I went on my visit to Ohio State, those guys were so good to me,” Allen said. “They were really cool, and we’ve continued to talk and build that relationship.”