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Thursday, October 20, 2011
Five things to watch this weekend

By Jamie Newberg

Thoughts on Mr. No. 1
At this point, does it really matter in the grand scheme of things if defensive end Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas/Ryan) says he’s still committed to Florida State or not? Edwards, the top rated recruit in the country, committed to Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles back in March. His father played for FSU, so it wasn’t a big shock when Edwards made his decision.

But what does it really mean?

To me, with Edwards and everyone else that makes early decisions, it just tells everyone who the team to beat really is. These days, with the acceleration of the recruiting process at warp speed, this happens a lot. After all, just because Edwards made his pledge to Florida State seven months ago didn’t mean that Oklahoma, Texas, LSU and everyone else would just stop recruiting him. Certainly, Fisher and his staff realized it was far from over once Edwards told the Seminoles he was coming.

Edwards, 6-4 and 270 pounds, is scheduled to visit LSU this weekend. He will likely make his trips to Norman, Austin and Tallahassee before making his final decision. Coaches will come to him, especially when it’s time for the all-important in-home visits late in the recruiting cycle.

We will all know soon enough what Edwards will decide to do. He’s one of the lucky few that can name his school. Edwards committed early and now wants to make sure he made the right decision. On the flip side you have some of the top programs in the country putting the full court press on him.

If you think things are getting feisty now with Edwards, wait until December and January. Right or wrong, this is the nature of the beast that is college football recruiting. He isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last to waver.

ESPNU 150 athlete set to visit Alabama
ESPNU 150 athlete Cyrus Jones (Baltimore, Md./Gilman) confirmed with me via text message that he will be officially visiting Alabama this weekend. Jones, 5-10 and 180 pounds, is a two-way star both in the secondary and at wide receiver. He’s the No. 4 ranked athlete in the country, the No. 34 recruit overall and the No. 1 ranked prospect from the state of Maryland.

He told me at Gridiron Kings in late July that both Alabama and Auburn were his two favorites. Now you can add a third program in Virginia Tech. He officially visited the Hokies last month and now says that this trio “stands out.”

Curry to visit Rebels?
How often does Ole Miss battle Boise State and Iowa for a prospect? You can probably safely say this that is the first, as those three are battling it out for three-star defensive tackle prospect Aaron Curry (Keller, Texas/Fossil Ridge). Curry is hoping to officially visit Ole Miss this weekend.

“I am talking with Ole Miss tomorrow,” said Curry. “I will visit them this weekend or next. I really just want to find out about more about the coaches and players. I want to see what kind of vibe I get from them. Plus, I want to look into their business school. It will be my first trip to Oxford.”

Curry currently favors the Broncos, Rebels and Hawkeyes.

“They standout to me,” said Curry. “I may also visit Missouri and Kansas.”

Curry is the No. 47 ranked defensive tackle recruit in the country.

Big game in Mobile
There’s an enormous game in southern Alabama tomorrow night when two unbeatens in 6A meet when top ranked Daphne travels to No. 6 Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen.

“It’s gonna be a full house,” said Bart Sessions, McGill-Toolen’s coach. “I don’t think we will be able to hold them all, so you better get here early.”

There are some interesting ties to this game. Not only is there so much at stake, this is a rivalry game. The schools are ten miles apart. Sessions was Daphne’s defensive coordinator last season. He has four coaches that were at Daphne under coach Glen Vickery at some point. Vickery’s son married the sister of McGill-Toolen’s offensive coordinator. Both staffs are very close, except when it’s game time.

“This is a special game but in a very unique way,” said Sessions. “We have some great friends on the other side. The kids are very close to. We were just there last season. I know their staff feels the same way. During the game, it will be just a game. I hate to have someone have to lose. Someone will be let down at the end of the night. Fans think in this business think that coaches have animosity with each other. But it’s just the opposite. I just hope we can make it a big game. This is for the region championship. They are professionals that do a great job and Daphne is the defending state champs. There are so many ties but on Saturday morning we will all be friends.”

Daphne’s horse is a thoroughbred in running back T.J. Yeldon. This Auburn commitment is having a Mr. Football like fall. Yeldon has already rushed for 1,600 yards and 22 rushing touchdowns on only 139 carries. Yeldon is averaging 11.5 yards per carry. Trying to contain Yeldon will be the key for Sessions and his McGill-Toolen team.

“I can tell you this, I have been around SEC players and played against teams with SEC players on it,” said Sessions. “I have been a coordinator that has tried to stop these types of guys, and T.J. is best I have seen. Just give him the highest rating you have. He’s going to be an NFL player. He can compete at the SEC level right now. He’s a big kid who runs 4.4 (forty) and is going to be so difficult to handle him. You can’t stop him completely. Containing him might be a 175 yard night. We have do a great job with him. But we also can’t forget about their other weapons.”

On their way to 10 again
Buford, Ga., has been one of the most dominant high school football programs in the country for a while now. Tomorrow night they host Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian. Buford is 8-0 and ranked No. 1. A win on Friday gets them one game closer to the magic number of 10. The Wolves have won at least 10 games a year for the past dozen seasons. Amazing.