Friday, December 31, 2010
All-American recruiting mailbag
By Corey Long ESPN Recruiting
Well it's Under Armour All-American week and the Army All-American game is a little more than a week away, so the mailbag will be heavily focused on players involved in the upcoming games.
Hello Corey, a lot of different programs will be represented in the Under Armour All-America Game, but usually one program gets the postgame buzz. Who will it be this year?
Ernest Rush, Cameron, S.C.
Back in 2008, it was Clemson that got the buzz when Jamie Harper and Kyle Parker connected on the game-winning touchdown. Last year it was Florida with Jonathan Dowling and Demar Dorsey pulling down interceptions while Dominique Easley shocked everyone by committing to the Gators (ironically neither Dowling nor Dorsey is still with the program).
This year I think Alabama, FSU and USC all have the opportunity to get the buzz and those three schools will get plenty of words devoted to them in the hours leading up to the game.
But Georgia could be the talk of the event. Especially with "dream team" members Jay Rome (Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta), Malcolm Mitchell (Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta), Quan Bray (Callaway, Ga./Callaway) and Isaiah Crowell (Columbus, Ga./Carver) surely discussing the potential of playing together in Athens during the week.
Got recruiting questions? Corey Long has the answers. So send in your questions -- including your name and hometown -- to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hey Corey, I heard that five-star linebacker Tony Steward (St. Augustine, Fla./Menendez) tore his ACL. What's going to be his status for next season and is it still Clemson and FSU on top for him?
Bobby Crews, Darlington, S.C.
Yes, Tony Steward had surgery for a torn ACL in mid-December and will not play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. As for his 2011 status I couldn't be the judge of that. I'm sure it will be completely based on how quickly he recovers and regains his speed. A redshirt is definitely possible. I believe FSU and Clemson are still the two teams to beat for the linebacker.
Hey Corey, what is the current status with teammates Demetrius Hart and Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips)? Where do you think they will end up?
I had at least five questions regarding one or both. Their current status is simple -- Hart is verbally committed to Michigan and Clinton-Dix is verbally committed to Alabama. They both say they are solid in their commitments but checking out all options and Clinton-Dix often says they will play at the same school. It's a little confusing and frankly that's the way both prospects want it. They are having a little fun with the coverage and it's hard to tell where the truth ends and the fun begins in Clinton-Dix's comments.
Right now I would say that Hart is going to wait for the Rich Rodriguez situation to work itself out at Michigan. If Rodriguez is fired after the Gator Bowl, I believe Hart is going to re-open his recruitment. Clinton-Dix is probably going to keep everyone guessing until signing day. Florida and Alabama covet both players. Michigan wants to keep Hart and would do backflips if Clinton-Dix joined him, but that probably isn't going to happen. Florida State is very excited about the prospects of adding Clinton-Dix to what's already the top safety class in the nation and would gladly take Hart even though the Seminoles are happy with their current running back class.
Jabari Gorman (Miami, Fla./Monsignor Pace) is going to make his college selection at the Under Armour All-America Game. Where do you think he's leaning?
Shaun Burrows, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Gorman has been an Ohio State lean for many months, but I believe he's going to stay in state and end up at Miami. That's a bit of a wild guess because Florida looks like it is in as good, if not a better, position as Miami but I believe that playing at home will be the deciding factor. We shall see.
Hey Corey, What's the recruiting picture looking like for Jadeveon Clowney (Rock Hill, S.C./South Pointe) right now? Are Bama and South Carolina still the top two?
Brice Mitchell, Columbia, S.C.
Clowney will take visits every weekend in January starting with Florida State on Jan. 7 and following with Alabama on Jan. 14 and Clemson on Jan. 21. The fifth visit is still undetermined. I believe the only important visit on that list is Alabama, as the Crimson Tide and South Carolina are the only schools he's seriously considering.
Hey Corey, what do you think of Notre Dame's chances of landing Savon Huggins (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter's Prep), and Ishaq Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln)?
Pete Fricano, Dubuque, Iowa
I think the Irish are seriously in play for both players. If I had to guess I believe they are closer to landing Williams than Huggins. I believe Rutgers is clearly the team to beat for Huggins, and don't count out Auburn after his visit there.
Quick question Corey, give me your guess on Devon Blackmon (Fontana, Calif./Summit). Ducks, Trojans or Bruins?
Carl Drews, Phoenix, Ariz.
(Closes eyes) ... ummm ... Ducks!
Hey Corey. I'm a big Florida State fan and I would like to know something. Does FSU really have a legitimate shot at landing Tim Jernigan (Lake City, Fla./Columbia)?
Charles Reaves, Phoenix, Ariz.
Oh yeah, the Seminoles have a very good shot. I thought Jernigan was a Florida lean until the departure of defensive line coach Dan McCarney (to North Texas) and the retirement of Urban Meyer -- the two coaches that were Jernigan's primary recruiters. Add that to Jernigan's strong relationship with FSU defensive line coach Odell Haggins and I think the Seminoles are in a good position right now. New Florida coach Will Muschamp is going to make up some ground in the new year, however, so the final 30 days will be interesting to see.
Hey Corey, what are the chances that Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central) goes to Florida?
Kenberth Lopez, Lenoir City, Tenn.
I think the Gators still have some ground to make up for the 6-foot-6 wide receiver but they will have that opportunity, just like Miami, when Benjamin takes his official visits next month. FSU is in the lead but it's a slim one.
Corey, the last month hasn't been easy for Pitt fans. First Dave Wannstedt is fired. Then our top 25 recruiting class completely falls apart. Then Michael Haywood is hired as the newest coach. With most of our top commits either decommitting or re-opening their recruiting, what are the odds that Pitt is still able to salvage this and regain a possible top 25 ranking? What can we possibly expect from Haywood recruiting wise?
Greg Malek, Pittsburgh, Pa.
First, I can say the dead period couldn't have come at a better time for Haywood and Pitt. They needed a few days to collect themselves and come up with a new plan. Right now if I had to guess Haywood's plan it would be to lean on his ties in Ohio to reconstruct this class as quickly as possible, while working to improve his communications in Penn. and N.J. He has also stated that he wants Pitt to become active in areas like La. and Texas, so you will see some activity with prospects in those areas. After the recent defections I don't believe Pitt will have a top 25 class in 2011. Top 35-40 is probably the best-case scenario.
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at email@example.com.