Why waste time ... let's dive right into the questions:
What's up with linebacker Tony Steward? Is there any chance we are going to get him here in Clemson?
-- Steve Weatherman, Orangeburg, S.C.
Oh yeah, there's a chance. Right now the five-star linebacker says FSU and Clemson are even, with Florida and Alabama in the hunt. Clemson has a few things going for it. Steward reportedly loved his trip there and loves the town. However, he's also a longtime fan of FSU and has a great relationship with the coaching staff. It's going to be a signing day decision and my feeling is he's going to go to the program that he feels has the better long-term outlook.
There are a couple of guys who stood out during the Nike 7On tournament that I believe have FBS talent. Wide receiver Dantrel Horne (6-foot-3, 170 pounds) showed good speed and hands. Add that to a frame that could easily carry 25-30 more pounds and I think someone will take a chance on him.
Also, wide receiver Dominique Rhymes is a really interesting case. He hasn't played football before, but he was a good basketball player and has above average athleticism and footwork. He showed a lot of his natural basketball skills during the Nike 7On as he was able to box out defenders with his 6-3, 200-pound frame and pull down some of Bridgewater's designed tall passes.
And of course the 2012 class has quarterback E.J. Hilliard and wide receiver Amari Cooper leading the way and should be another strong group of players.
Hello, Mr. Long. I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on how FSU will do recruiting interior defensive linemen in 2011? It's an area we've been atrocious in as far as on-field performance and recruiting.
FSU got caught in the middle of a transition along the defensive line and in 2009 was as small as it's ever been in the middle. Missing out on players like Marvin Austin and Marcus Thomas really showed in the second part of the decade as the Seminoles didn't have a good Plan B to make up for the loss of those players.
As for the current crop, I think the players on the roster like Jacobbi McDaniel and Demonte McAllister will be part of a much better group, and the incoming players from the class of 2010 like junior college transfer Antonio McCloud are full of potential and size. FSU's revamped strength and nutrition program will also be a big boost. Gone are the days of 260-pound defensive tackles in Tallahassee.
As for the Class of 2011, the coaching staff is extremely high on Derrick Mitchell (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) and adding a 300-pounder like Nile Lawrence-Stample (Davie, Fla./Nova) should give that group more flexibility. I believe Odell Haggins is a very good position coach and will show that with a more talented group of players in house.
Boise State is trying to improve its recruiting and gradually get recruits that are closer to being "blue chip." Do you think they can do this? What do they need to do to compete better in the recruiting process and how do they fare as they go against the BCS schools in recruiting? What is the perception of recruits about BSU?
-- David Price, Boise, Idaho
For questions like these, I like to go to the source and that is Tom Luginbill, ESPN's national director of football recruiting:
"Conference affiliation is always going to hinder them from getting upper-tier BCS-caliber kids, but they do not need them. The Broncos have a process that they go by in terms of what type of player they want, and need and the recipe works. Their players are good enough to compete on a national stage against a top BCS school on any given Saturday, but more importantly they have better players than the rest of their conference which is all that matters. Also, they are not forced to play with true freshmen so they can develop kids at a slower rate. Honestly, I'm not so sure they want to change the face of their program given its current state.
"In order for them to begin competing with Pac-10 and Big 12 schools for kids, they would need to dramatically upgrade their facilities and stadium. They would need to play a BCS schedule and be a regular fixture on TV. For all these things to happen, they would need to move into a BCS conference so that the perception of their status would be looked at differently from recruits.
"Keep in mind, right now they don't have to compete for those types of kids. They get their pick of the litter of top non-BCS personnel, especially in California. You alter that recipe and force them to go after more high profile kids and you may be sorry what you wished for."
Corey, you've talked to Ray Drew, any idea where he's leaning? I know Georgia has made him a big priority.
-- Lee Schwedel, Augusta, Ga.
Georgia, Auburn, Florida State, Miami, Florida ... who hasn't made Ray Drew a big priority?
In talking to him, he didn't give any particular hints to which way he's leaning and even if he did say something, he admits he's having fun with the process so it could be a ruse. Drew is going to make his decision around signing day and there will be a ton of rumors and speculation before he makes that choice. Just prepare for the best and hope it works out.
In terms of Wilder, the Hurricanes were never really interested in him as a running back so that was a long shot even before he committed to FSU.
Steward hasn't really mentioned Miami as much as Clemson, FSU, Florida and Alabama. Steward prefers the small-town college life and while Coral Gables itself is a very contained community, I do get the feeling that the city of Miami as a whole is very overwhelming to him.
I expect Miami to make a run at Clowney, however, and I believe the Hurricanes will find themselves in a position to get an official visit.
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.