Nerlens Noel returns to Class of 2012

Updated: February 1, 2012, 11:17 PM ET
By Dave Telep | ESPN.com

The Class of 2012 received a significant boost Wednesday when Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./Tilton), the No. 2 overall recruit in the Class of 2013, told ESPN.com that he will rejoin his original classification and graduate this spring.

The move will make Noel eligible to play college basketball this fall.

"I just thought over the season that I thought I was getting a higher level of competition and was working on my game," Noel said. "I reclassified because I was hurt but I feel like I'm ready to play at the next level."

Two weeks ago, Noel was the dominant big man at the HoopHall Classic, which helped him make his decision.

"I kind of put me over the top but it was on my mind for a while," Noel said.

Noel and Jabari Parker (Chicago, Ill./Simeon) were battling for the top spot in a loaded 2013 class. With the change, Noel could pass Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) and take over the No. 1 spot in the Class of 2012.

Noel has already been to Providence and Connecticut and will visit Syracuse on Feb. 11.

"I'm ready to do it. It's a short window of time to pick a school and that's a concern to get out there and visit and maintain all my schoolwork," Noel said.

Noel said he will also visit Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown and North Carolina.

"Some of the coaches gave me dates but I have a couple of big games on those days so they're not really planned yet," Noel said.

Noel said he won't rush his decision but acknowledged his recruitment will have a quickened pace.

"There's not really a timeframe for me to wrap it up," Noel said. "I just want to get in as many visits to these schools before signing day."

Dave Telep is a senior national recruiting analyst for ESPN.com.

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