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Friday, August 12, 2011
T.J. Davis narrows it down to six

By Corey Long
ESPN Recruiting

Four-star defensive back T.J. Davis (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby) is down to six.

The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder has trimmed his list of schools to Florida State, Ohio State, Auburn, Alabama, TCU and Notre Dame.

Davis has already planned official visits to Auburn on Oct. 14, when the Tigers play Florida, and to Notre Dame a week later for its game against USC.

Dobbs They have a great coaching staff that has the program going in the right direction. Coach [Mark] Stoops is a great position coach and he's a good teacher on the field. I love the history of the program, too.

-- T.J. Davis, on Florida State

As of now Davis is plugging through training camp and putting recruiting on the back burner for a couple of weeks.

"Training camp has been pretty good for the most part, but I'm not a big fan of two-a-days," Davis said. "Everyone's been grinding and trying to get better, though."

Davis says his favorites are in no order and has great things to say about each program:

Florida State: "They have a great coaching staff that has the program going in the right direction. Coach [Mark] Stoops is a great position coach and he's a good teacher on the field. I love the history of the program, too."

Ohio State: "The NCAA issues don't really bother me because the program is already established. I really would like to see the Horseshoe. Coach [Paul] Haynes is a great guy and he's done a great job of recruiting me."

Notre Dame: "Actually the weather doesn't bother me. I like snow and I go to the North annually. Coach [Brian] Kelly is bringing great players to Notre Dame, and I got to hang out with a few of them in Oregon."

TCU: "Now that they are going into a BCS conference, the program can finally compete for the national championship they want so bad. It's a good academic school with one of the top coaching staffs in the nation. I will know more about the atmosphere of the school when I take my official [visit]."

Alabama: "I like the fact that the head coach is also a DB coach, and playing under someone like Nick Saban would be an honor."

Auburn: "I love the way the coaches interact with the players, and the defensive backs at Auburn know how to hit."

Davis is looking at making a decision near the end of his season and will visit each school before making a choice. He had over 50 tackles and two interceptions as a junior.

McClendon stays loyal

Defensive back/linebacker Elijah McClendon (Gulfport, Fla./Boca Ciega) surprised some with his commitment to Middle Tennessee State.

The 6-foot, 190-pounder made the switch from defensive end to defensive back during the offseason and performed well enough in camps to draw interest from BCS programs that wanted to see how his skills translated to the field this season.

But McClendon said Middle Tennessee was the first school to offer and he felt a sense of loyalty to them.

"The coaches kept in touch with me all the time and they always send mail," McClendon said. "They wanted me to be part of their program and never wavered from that."

McClendon will have an opportunity to play linebacker there, but could also stay at defensive back.

"I really can do anything on the field so they can put me wherever they need me," McClendon said.

Dortch makes ACC switch

Defensive back Nathan Dortch (Fort Myers, Fla./South Fort Myers) switched last week from North Carolina to Miami, where he will join former teammate Dallas Crawford.

Dortch's switch to the Hurricanes comes after the sudden dismissal of coach Butch Davis at North Carolina.

"I think Nate's always liked Miami and he's excited about having a chance to play with Dallas again," South Fort Myers coach Grant Redhead said.

Ironically, Crawford committed to Michigan last year in November but switched to Miami when the Wolverines fired Rich Rodriguez.

"They have a terrific coaching staff at Miami and I think it's the right fit for him," Redhead said.

Notes

• ESPNU 150 tight end Kent Taylor (Odessa, Fla./Land O'Lakes) said his final four are Florida, Penn State, Alabama and Georgia. The 6-4, 225-pounder has set up an official at Penn State in early September and Alabama for Nov. 4.

• Tennessee and Michigan State are the most recent offers for wide receiver Alton Howard (Orlando, Fla./Edgewater).

• Not surprisingly, running back Jamie Gilmore (Citra, Fla./North Marion) said USF is his top school. His best friend is tight end Sean Price, a teammate at North Marion and USF commit.

• Florida International pulled off a bit of a shocker this week with the commitment of defensive end/outside linebacker Chris Hall (Defuniak Springs, Fla./Walton). The 6-3, 225-pounder had offers from Louisville and Iowa State and may have also had a verbal offer from Michigan State.

• Quarterback Jacob Guy (Dade City, Fla./Pasco) recently received an offer from Ohio. The 6-4, 200-pounder also has offers from Western Michigan and UMass.

• Defensive back Iman Smith (Largo, Fla./Pinellas Park) is planning on taking official visits to Western Michigan, Ball State, UConn and Bowling Green.

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.