NCF On The Trail: 081316 mailbag

Big Ten recruiting mailbag

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
11:00
AM ET
It’s time to dip into the Big Ten recruiting mailbag and answer some of your questions. We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered. We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter to @bbournival or @TomVH. Feel free to email us as well at brad.bournival.espn@gmail.com or TomVHESPN@gmail.com.

@UMKirwin12: Which teams are in place to pull in the best group of recruits at each position?

Tom VanHaaren: If I can use my own criteria, then I’ll give you a few answers. Right now Michigan has the No. 1-ranked cornerback in Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic) and is still in the conversation with three ESPN 300 defensive backs, so I would give the secondary narrowly to Michigan because of Peppers.

Ohio State is right there with the commitment of Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) and the potential to add Cleveland Glenville teammates Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith.

I think Ohio State takes the cake for offensive linemen, but I’m going to throw a few curveballs for a few other groups. I like Northwestern’s running back haul with the 31st- 36th- and 51st-ranked backs already in the class. That’s two four-star running backs and one who's close.

I also like Penn State’s wide receiver haul led by No. 6 ranked athlete De'andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro) and Chris Godwin (Middletown, De./Middletown), the No. 21-ranked receiver.

Michigan’s wide receiver class is also very good, so I’d include the Wolverines on the list.

There is a reason Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Northwestern are all ranked higher than the other Big Ten teams, though. They have the best classes in the conference, which means they have the best players.

@buckeyfan686: If a highly rated offensive tackle commits to Ohio State, do you think they still go after Chad Mavety since he is more likely ready to play next year?

Brad Bournival: That is an excellent question and one that really depends on the numbers. If the Buckeyes can grab ESPN 300 tackles Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) or Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh/Mt. Lebanon), that would give them a force up front for the next four years with ESPN 300 guard Demetrius Knox (Ft. Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) and ESPN 300 tackle Jamarco Jones (Chicago/De La Salle) in the mix already.

Add Marcelys Jones (Cleveland/Glenville) and Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) and the 2014 class is versatile as well. That said, if Ohio State can massage the numbers and still stay under the NCAA sanctions, getting an attractive piece like Mavety might be too good to pass up. He’d essentially have three seasons to play two, so yes if the piece is there and the Buckeyes can work some magic, they could still take six offensive linemen in this class.

@MeechignAdbug1: Who is winning the recruiting battle right now (for 2014), Urban Meyer or Brady Hoke?

VanHaaren: If you are judging strictly by which team gained a commitment from a prospect that held an offer from the opposing school, then it’s a tie. Both teams have seven commitments from prospects that held offers from the other team.

If you look at the rankings of those players, then it’s Michigan. Peppers is the biggest at No. 2 overall.

Ohio State has seven ESPN 300 commitments, but five of them held Michigan offers. Michigan has nine ESPN 300 commitments and six held Ohio State offers. There are still some prospects out there who have yet to make commitments, which could swing it in either direction. Defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) still has Michigan in it, and could very well end up a Wolverine. We’ll have to wait until signing day for the final answer, but right now I would say Michigan is leading the race.

stevejeffers@comcast.net: Who rounds out Ohio State’s recruiting class?

Bournival: First let’s go through the locks, who I believe to be four-star athletes Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus) and Lattimore. After that, I really think inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) is part of this class, as is Erick Smith. Then you have to start looking at the numbers crunch. I think they miss on Prince and Bookser and nab Mavety. That leaves room for maybe two more, though I don’t know if the Buckeyes will use them. I still think defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Abraham Lincoln) picks Ohio State, and the Buckeyes could take either tight end Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) or wide receiver Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII) to round it out, though don’t be surprised if either comes to Ohio State.

@bmartinez51: Peyton Newell is deciding Aug. 30. Does he seem Nebraska bound?

VanHaaren: As you mentioned, the defensive tackle is announcing his decision on Aug. 30 and will be deciding at his high school at 2:30 p.m. local time.

The finalists on his list are Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska and South Carolina. Nebraska fans think they have a good chance, but a few other schools have put up a good fight.

South Carolina would be a tough school to say no to, but Nebraska would be a good fit for Newell.

ACC recruiting mailbag

August, 16, 2013
8/16/13
11:00
AM ET
College football kicks off in two weeks, but recruiting never stops. We present the first installment of the ACC recruiting mailbag, answering the pressing questions from ACC fans. We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered. We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter to @cdowlar or @JShankerESPN. Feel free to email us as well at cdowlar@gmail.com or JShankerESPN@gmail.com.

@Jameshall616: Do you think FSU will get a five-star prospect in this class?

Corey Dowlar: The quick answer is no, probably not. They are in the running for three -- Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover), Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen). But as it stands now, they are all heading to the SEC. I would guess the best chance at one of the three would be Humphrey when Jeremy Pruitt's Alabama ties are taken into consideration.

Humphrey intends to run track in college, too, so FSU's history of dual-sport athletes (Jameis Winston and Ronald Darby, for example) could make an impression. Winston, especially since he is not only one of the more prominent members of the football team but also from the state of Alabama, could be a factor.

@Kzovko: Outside of the state of PA, who are some "must-get" players for Pitt?

Jared Shanker: I’m not sure there any must-get players for Pitt outside of Pennsylvania right now considering the remaining top targets not just in the state but in the WPIAL. Anything less than at least two of Alex Bookser, Dravon Henry, Shai McKenzie and Montae Nicholson should be considered a major disappointment and would only intensify the longstanding criticisms of Paul Chryst’s ability to recruit.

But for Pitt’s out-of-state targets, I think Qadree Ollison from Buffalo (N.Y.) Canisius tops that list, especially if they miss on McKenzie. They have a shot at ESPN 300 receiver Jamil Kamara (Virginia Beach, Va./Bishop Sullivan), although I think he lands elsewhere in the ACC. With Rutgers filling up at receiver, four-star Juwann Winfree (Englewood, N.J./Dwight Morrow) has to move Pitt up at least a little. Pitt was at the top with Rutgers, but look out for Virginia or West Virginia. Chris James (Niles, Ill./Notre Dame) is another option at running back.

@vincevinvinny: Who are Clemson's top remaining targets? And where do they go at defensive end after Rick Leonard?

Dowlar: One guy fits both criteria pretty well. Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy) is the country's No. 168-ranked player and a four-star prospect. You'd better believe the Tigers would love to have him in this class. Another guy they'd love to bring in is 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe). Clemson will be fighting Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.

At defensive end, there is another nice option in Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page). At 6-7, 202, Featherston has a tremendous frame to add weight. And he'll need to do that. He's ranked by ESPN as the No. 27 player in the country and a four-star prospect. Clemson is thought to be the team to beat for Featherston with North Carolina, NC State and Ohio State lurking in the background.

@JacobsDj082167: You think [Ishmael] Witter goes to Cuse if [Jonathan] Hilliman goes RU?

Shanker: Now that Hilliman is officially committed to Rutgers, it probably closes the door at running back for the Scarlet Knights, who have three pledges at the position. Rutgers looked to be the favorite for Witter, but now that absolutely opens the door even more for Syracuse. He took a visit to Syracuse in late July, and at the moment I think Syracuse looks to be the most likely landing spot. However, don’t count out the SEC when it comes to pulling recruits, and Missouri has offered. Big Ten program Indiana offered recently, too, and if the Hoosiers can get to six or seven wins, they could close strong.

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