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Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Early Offer: Golden commitment

By Jeremy Crabtree

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: By staying at Miami and not flirting with Penn State, Al Golden won’t miss a beat on the recruiting trail; the first Elite 11 invitation was handed out over the weekend to a Notre Dame commitment; and Charlie Strong understands he must win the state of Texas to win at Texas.

Golden’s commitment will help Canes
Speculation was running rampant that Al Golden would be the next head coach at Penn State. It made a lot of sense with his connections to the Nittany Lions as a former player and assistant coach, but Golden pushed aside those rumors and said during his season wrap news conference on Monday that he is committed to Miami . That commitment -- and a commitment to retain the assistants on his staff -- will help Miami continue momentum on the recruiting front. The Canes are putting together a tremendous class that peaked as high as No. 2 but currently stands at No. 6. Several Miami prospects were worried that Golden would bolt for Happy Valley, and the pledge to stay couldn’t come at a better time. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnat Catholic) said he was decommitting from Miami because of the speculation, but you would have to think he’ll back with the Canes eventually. And there’s still plenty of other South Florida prospects the Canes have their eyes on before signing day.

First Elite 11 invitation goes to Barnett
Blake Barnett
Blake Barnett can make travel plans to Oregon this summer for the Elite 11 camp.
The first Elite 11 regional quarterback camp took place this weekend in Los Angeles, and it was no surprise to see Notre Dame commit Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif./Santiago) earn MVP honors. In a loaded year for quarterbacks in California, Barnett has quickly risen toward the top of the list. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Barnett is ranked as the No. 64 player in the ESPN Junior 300 and the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2015 class. He did a lot of things right at the camp and earned an invitation to the Elite 11 in Oregon this summer. “Blake’s tape was off the charts,” NFL quarterback and Elite 11 coach Jordan Palmer said. “We then put him in a competitive environment, and he competed with some of the other top guys and separated himself with everything he did.” Barnett committed to Notre Dame in November, picking the Irish over offers from Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Duke, Ole Miss, UCLA, West Virginia and others.

Strong knows Texas is important
I listened closely to Charlie Strong’s news conference Monday to see if he understood the importance of recruiting in the Lone Star State. Within a few minutes, it was pretty clear he gets it. Strong talked about having a staff that has Texas ties and wants coaches “who have recruited this state.” Strong also said it will be a priority to control the state of Texas in recruiting. “I want the best players wherever they are, but most are here within the state,” Strong said.