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Thursday, September 15, 2011
What to watch this weekend

By ESPN Recruiting

Five things we're looking forward to watching this weekend:

Atlantic Coast

Turf war
West Virginia and Maryland have targeted the Washington/Baltimore/North Virginia area as their top priority in recruiting and there will be plenty of prospects in attendance for their game Saturday.

After eventful Week 1 victories, both teams are looking to further assert themselves in the main consciousness of college football prospects. West Virginia, which is 2-0 after a 55-12 victory over Norfolk State last week, realizes the impact a win at College Park would have on recruits in the mid-Atlantic area.

Maryland hopes to continue to ride its huge wave of momentum with a win at home after beating Miami on Sept. 5. Coming off a bye week, the Terrapins have had some extra time to work on defending schemes to handle the Mountaineers' explosive offense.

Here are some of the top undecided senior prospects in the area that have expressed interest in both schools:

• WR Stefon Diggs, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel
• ATH Cyrus Jones, Baltimore Gilman
• DE Ryan Watson, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel
• LB Ken Ekanem, Clifton (Va.) Centreville
• RB Wes Brown, Olney (Md.) Good Counsel
• OL Korren Kirven, Lynchburg (Va.) Brookville
• WR Ian Thomas, Reisertown (Md.) Franklin

• For the rest of what we want to watch around the Atlantic Coast, check out Dave Hooker's blog Insider


Visitors are welcome
If you are an FBS prospect in the state of Florida, there's a good chance you will be hitting the road Saturday to watch one of the big college football games being held in the state.

The top-five matchup between Florida State and Oklahoma is the big one with over a dozen ESPNU 150 prospects planning on making the trip to Tallahassee, including FSU commits Mario Pender (Cape Coral, Fla./Island Coast) and Marvin Bracy (Orlando, Fla./Boone). Uncommitted ESPNU 150 prospects like Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep) and Kent Taylor (Odessa, Fla./Land O'Lakes) are also planning to attend.

Another FSU commit in attendance, defensive tackle James Hamilton (Orlando, Fla./Olympia), expects an electric atmosphere.

"It's going to be the big game of the week and I expect the fans in Tallahassee are going to be crazy," Hamilton said. "It's one of the games I've been looking forward to all season."

Hamilton said he's looking forward to the opportunity to bond with his future teammates, including defensive linemen Justin Shanks (Prattville, Ala./Prattville), Chris Casher (Mobile, Ala./Davidson) and Dante Fowler (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood).

"I really haven't had the chance to meet any of them before so I definitely want to hang out with the guys I'll be playing with on the line," Hamilton said. "Everyone's going to have a great time."

About two hours south and east, Florida will be hosting Tennessee and is expected to have several commitments on hand, including ESPNU 150 wide receiver LaTroy Pittman (Citra, Fla./North Marion) and defensive lineman Leonard Williams (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland). Four-star lineman Adam Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh, Pa./Fox Chapel) will be taking his official visit to Florida.

Five hours across the Florida Turnpike, Miami will be hosting Ohio State at Sun Life Stadium, where Miami Norland teammates and Miami commits Randy "Duke" Johnson and Ekith Brown are both expected to be in attendance. ESPN 150 defensive back Deon Bush (Miami, Fla./Christopher Columbus) has also said he plans on attending the game.

• For the rest of what we want to watch around Florida, check out Corey Long's blog Insider


Brian Nance, what's your next move?
Four-star linebacker Brian Nance (Euless, Texas/Trinity) has gone on record saying he will take official visits before choosing his college home. Still, it's probably a good idea to keep an eye on him, particularly with everything going on this weekend.

Nance's current focus is on Friday, as Trinity, ranked No. 7 in the Fab 50, will face a winless Irving (Texas) team in a district competition. On Saturday, Nance will be paying attention to how Oklahoma plays against Florida State in one of the featured college football games around the country.

It's no secret that Nance is interested in Oklahoma, and his teammate and very close friend, Polo Manukainiu, recently gave his pledge to the Sooners. Nance is the 15th-ranked outside linebacker in the country, and he is entertaining more than a dozen high-major offers, including Oklahoma, USC, UCLA, Arkansas, Notre Dame and Tennessee, among several others.

• For the rest of what we want to watch around the Midlands, check out Damon Sayles' blog Insider


Big weekend for Notre Dame
It's hard to imagine a worse -- or at least more aggravating -- start to the 2011 season for the Fighting Irish. Not only are they 0-2, but both losses could have easily been wins. Despite the record, Notre Dame is still Notre Dame and the schedule sets up favorably from here on out. Recruits aren't jumping ship yet, but ESPNU 150 athlete Ronald Darby is looking around a bit. One of the Irish's top targets left, four-star Austintown-Fitch (Ohio) running back William Mahone will be officially visiting along with Darby this weekend.

• For the rest of what we want to watch around the Midwest, check out Jared Shanker's blog Insider


Yeldon on fire at Daphne
Can ESPNU 150 running back T.J. Yeldon (Daphne, Ala./Daphne) continue to put up huge numbers? Last week against Foley, Yeldon, who's No. 119 in the ESPNU 150 and the No. 8 RB, rushed for 319 yards and three touchdowns in their win and has 633 rushing yards (11.72 ypc) and seven touchdowns for the season. And that's just three games.

Yeldon, 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, powers the No. 1 ranked team in Alabama in 6A. He topped 100 yards in his first game this season, 200 yards in his second game and 300 hundred yards in his third game. What will the Auburn commit do this weekend against Mobile Williamson? Four hundred yards, anyone?

"He could put up some big numbers at this pace but we are not much into numbers," said Daphne coach Glen Vickery. "T.J. has improved overall and he's a fierce competitor. Last year he wasn't our leading rusher and played a lot in the slot. This season he has spent more time at running back and playing Wildcat. He's seeing the field better and just keeps improving year to year."

• For the rest of what we want to watch around the Southeast, check out Jamie Newberg's blog Insider


Murphy vs. Magnuson
Even though they likely won't go head-to-head much, if at all, since both players play predominately on the offensive line, it should be a lot of fun watching San Clemente (Calif.) standout Kyle Murphy and Carlsbad (Calif.) La Costa Canyon tackle Erik Magnuson competing against each other.

Murphy is No. 26 in the ESPNU 150 and the No. 3 rated player in the state. Magnuson, a four-star prospect, was an early Michigan commitment and one of the most physical and nasty offensive lineman in the country.

"I'm excited, I can't wait," Magnuson said. "My and Kyle are good friends and are cool with each other so I'm sure there will be some good natured trash talking out on the field. They have a good team so I'm going to go out there and try my best to put on a good show as well."

• For the rest of what we want to watch around the West, check out Greg Biggins' blog Insider