Everything you need to know about national signing day
Top Uncommitted Players
Manti Te'o, OLB, Honolulu/Punahou
Player rank (position rank): 2 (1)
Considering: Notre Dame, UCLA and USC
Front-runners: The recent announcement that Te'o no longer is considering BYU came as a major surprise to some. Less surprising was his eliminating Stanford. The Trojans might have a slight edge here -- USC seems to come out on top more times than not in these situations -- but it really seems to be a close call.
Scouts Inc. says: After dominating against lesser talent in the Hawaiian Islands during his high school career, Te'o didn't need long to stake his claim as the best linebacker, and perhaps best overall player, on the mainland during the week of practices leading up to the Under Armour All-America Game. His great speed, striking explosiveness and uncanny instincts stood out all week; even former NFL coaches were in awe of his talents.
Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Gadsden, Ala.
Player rank (position rank): 4 (1)
Considering: Texas, Alabama, USC, Florida and LSU
Front-runner: Nick Saban has pretty much locked down the state of Alabama since taking over as coach of the Crimson Tide; it would be an upset if Kirkpatrick were to end up anywhere other than Tuscaloosa. Like Julio Jones last year, Kirkpatrick has indicated he won't commit until signing day.
Scouts Inc. says: The Alabama native can do it all in coverage: press with superior physicality, mirror with exceptional quickness and close with a striking burst. His natural athleticism and coverage skills are excellent and extremely rare for a corner with his large frame. He has very smooth hips, turns and transitional quickness in and out of his backpedal.
Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Wheaton, Md./Good Counsel
Player rank (position rank): 9 (2)
Considering: Florida, Penn State, Notre Dame, USC and Stanford
Front-runner: Recent scuttlebutt has Florida and Penn State in the best position to land Jenkins. Jenkins has visited both schools and could like the idea of playing a year behind Brandon Spikes in Gainesville.
Scouts Inc. says: The only traits this fast, attacking defender lacks right now are size and strength to shed bigger blockers. We expect Jenkins' longer, leaner frame to blossom to the 6-foot-2, 230-pound range in college, while he retains his great speed and athleticism.
Rueben Randle, WR, Bastrop, La.
Player rank (position rank): 10 (1)
Considering: LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, USC and Oklahoma State
Front-runner: He has kept it pretty close to the vest about which way he's leaning. As is the case with Kirkpatrick, it seems as though the in-state school has to be the favorite. Les Miles and LSU have done a nice job of keeping local talent home, and the state's No. 2 prospect, Joshua Downs -- a high school teammate of Randle's -- is heading to Baton Rogue.
Scouts Inc. says: Randle is a receiver with the measurables to be the complete package. He has the size-to-strength ratio you look for both in working off the line and matching up one-on-one downfield. He uses his hands well; he fights through traffic; and he can shuck defenders aside when attacking the football.
Marlon Brown, WR, Memphis, Tenn./Harding Academy
Player rank (position rank): 24 (3)
Considering: Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Ohio State and Ole Miss
Front-runner: By all accounts, Tennessee seems to be in the lead for Brown. Lane Kiffin has made bringing Brown to Knoxville a top priority; he was on a plane to see Brown within hours of officially taking the UT job. The Vols' location and the chance to play early could be key parts of Kiffin's pitch. Houston Nutt and Ole Miss have made a late push. The Rebels would give Brown the chance to play with a top-tier QB in Jevan Snead, and Brown could play basketball in Oxford.
Scouts Inc. says: Brown measures close to 6-6, and he knows how to use his frame. His athleticism makes him very difficult to handle off the line and on contested matchups downfield. He can outmuscle defenders for the ball, and his leaping ability makes it difficult to gain any position on him.
Sam Montgomery, DE, Greenwood, S.C.
Player rank (position rank): 27 (2)
Considering: North Carolina, Michigan, LSU, South Carolina, Clemson and Tennessee
Front-runner: North Carolina might be in the best position. Like Brown, Montgomery is interested in playing hoops in college, and the opportunity to walk on in Chapel Hill is said to appeal to him.
Scouts Inc. says: Montgomery has loads of potential and ability. He entered high school focusing on basketball and claims it is still his passion, but he realizes the potential he has on the gridiron is much greater. He went out for football as a junior, and his acclimation to the game is jaw-dropping.
Frankie Telfort, OLB, Miami/Gulliver Prep
Player rank (position rank): 29 (3)
Considering: USC, Florida and Stanford
Front-runner: Telfort recently cut his list to three, and he has visited all the campuses. Stanford is in a pretty good position here, but it's hard to call the Cardinal the team to beat. USC and Florida have been in this one from the very start.
Scouts Inc. says: Telfort is exceptionally quick in coverage, but his best attribute might be his awareness. It's hard to gain much after completing the short pass in his underneath zone; he has great breaking quickness and closing burst.
Xavier Su'a-Filo, OT, Pleasant Grove, Utah/Timpview
Player rank (position rank): 35 (3)
Considering: USC, BYU, LSU, Stanford and UCLA
Front-runner: It sounds as though LSU and USC are in the best position to lure Su'a-Filo. The opportunity to play with friend John Martinez could help in getting Su'a-Filo to Troy. His relationship with LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton -- formerly the head coach at BYU -- is what's helping the Tigers.
Scouts Inc. says: We knew Su'a-Filo could play guard, but he stole the show by displaying his ability to play on the edge. He has active hands and does a super job of controlling athletic defensive ends. Rarely does Su'a-Filo get beaten underneath or to the outside by quicker pass-rushers. He gives great effort and is a real fighter in the trenches.
Darren Myles Jr. S, Atlanta/Carver
Player rank (position rank): 39 (5)
Considering: LSU, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky
Front-runner: Like so many other top prospects, Myles hasn't done much to tip his hand. He recently eliminated Georgia and Purdue from consideration. With the way Alabama has been succeeding of late, the Tide might be the team to beat for Myles, but all four teams have a shot.
Scouts Inc. says: Any football team will get a lot of miles from Myles. This athletic superman is never on the bench, and at about 6-1, he's physically impressive. He can play safety, wide receiver and quarterback and is equally dangerous to the opposition at all three positions, but most impressive of all, he can play corner. As a safety, he's an instinctive defensive back who can play the run and the pass with equal ability.
Kendall Kelly, WR, Gadsden, Ala.
Player rank (position rank): 66 (7)
Considering: Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Auburn and Tennessee
Front-runner: Kelly is considered to be leaning toward Clemson, but he could end up elsewhere. Of course, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have a great chance with the local product.
Scouts Inc. says: On the hoof, Kelly is a great-looking prospect, and not a lot of 6-3 wideouts can run and accelerate like he can. His build, strength and speed make him a vertical threat and a red zone target. He is a competitive, tough receiver with solid open-field running skills to boot. He is quick and explosive off the line, has good short-area burst, can catch the ball without breaking stride and will get upfield immediately after the catch.
Byron Moore Jr., ATH, Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne
Player rank (position rank): 71 (4)
Considering: USC, Notre Dame and Colorado
Front-runner: Notre Dame and Colorado seem to be in prime position with Moore. He recently decommitted from USC but says he is still considering the Trojans.
Scouts Inc. says: This guy is a very good wide receiver. He looks just as good in person as he does on tape, and he is very versatile. Moore has excellent size; he's thickly built and extremely tough. He's ultra-competitive on jump balls and contested matchups, and he has very good speed and explosiveness for his size. He can play inside or outside and is just as effective versus man coverage as he is against zone. He is very smooth and fluid, displays outstanding hands, and can consistently catch over his head.
The Best of the BCS Conferences
Recruits look at schools for a variety of reasons, everything from academics to campus life to uniforms to which school can get them ready for the NFL, just to name a few. We asked our college football bloggers to name the best of the best by conference.
|Category||ACC||Big East||Big Ten|
|Best recruiter||Billy Napier,
|Best closer||Randy Shannon, Miami||Dave Wannstedt,
|Ron Zook, Illinois|
|Best facilities||NC State||Connecticut||Ohio State|
(Raymond James Stadium)
|Best game-day atmosphere||Virginia Tech||West Virginia||Penn State|
|Best chance to play as freshman||Miami||Louisville||Illinois|
|Best uniforms||Wake Forest||West Virginia||Michigan|
|Best campus life||North Carolina||West Virginia||Wisconsin|
|Most likely to get players to NFL||Miami||Pittsburgh||Ohio State|
|Most exposure||Miami||Rutgers||Ohio State|
|Best recruiter||Brent Venables, OU||Pete Carroll, USC||Nick Saban, Alabama|
|Best closer||Mack Brown, Texas||Pete Carroll, USC||Rodney Garner, Georgia|
|Best stadium||Texas A&M
|Best game-day atmosphere||Nebraska||Oregon||LSU|
|Best chance to play as freshman||Iowa State||Washington State||Arkansas|
|Best campus life||Colorado||Cal||Ole Miss|
|Most likely to get players to NFL||Texas||USC||Georgia|
ESPNU And Signing Day
ESPNU is the place to be for national signing day.
ESPNU 150 players scheduled to announce on the show are:
• ATH Byron Moore Jr. (No. 71 in ESPNU 150)
• DE Sam Montgomery (No. 27)
• S Darren Myles Jr. (No. 39)
• LB Jelani Jenkins (No. 9)
• LB Frankie Telfort (No. 29)
• LB Manti Te'o (No. 2)
• OT Xavier Su'a-Filo (No. 35)
• WR Kendall Kelly (No. 66)
• CB Dre Kirkpatrick (No. 4)
• WR Marlon Brown (No. 24)
There will be interviews with USC commit QB Matt Barkley (No. 1 in ESPNU 150) and LSU commit Russell Shepard (No. 3) as well as interviews with head coaches Urban Meyer (Florida), Butch Davis (North Carolina), Kyle Whittingham (Utah) and Les Miles (LSU).
So join Scouts Inc.'s Tom Luginbill, Craig Haubert, Bill Conley and former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville as they break down all the news starting at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday.
These three teams could be big winners on signing day:
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide are going down to the wire on such notable, high-profile prospects as CBs Greg Reid (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes) and Dre Kirkpatrick (Gadsden, Ala.); WRs Rueben Randle (Bastrop, La.), Kendall Kelly (Gadsden, Ala.) and Pat Patterson (Noxubee, Miss.); ILB Tana Patrick (Scottsboro, Ala./North Jackson); S Darren Myles Jr. (Atlanta/Carver); and OTs Robert Massie (Chatham, Va./Hargrave Military) and Morgan Moses (Richmond, Va./Meadowbrook). It could be all, none or maybe just a few for Alabama. Regardless, this class will be stellar even if it loses out on all of them as long as it holds on to RB Trent Richardson (Pensacola, Fla./Escambia).
Much like Alabama, Florida could close like Seabiscuit if things go its way. OLBs Jelani Jenkins (Wheaton, Md./Good Counsel) and Frankie Telfort (Miami/Gulliver Prep) are priorities. ATH Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla.) could be a tug-of-war with Michigan. Long shots could be OLB Jarvis Jones (Columbus, Ga./Carver) and WR Marlon Brown (Memphis, Tenn./Harding Academy). TE Orson Charles (Tampa, Fla./Plant) would be a nice addition.
Can the "super staff" pull through in its first two full months on the job? Tennessee has closed hard on the state's top prospect, WR Marlon Brown (Memphis, Tenn./Harding Academy). DE Sam Montgomery (Greenwood, S.C.), S Darren Myles Jr. (Atlanta/Carver), OT Morgan Moses (Richmond, Va./Meadowbrook) and ILB Tana Patrick (Scottsboro, Ala./North Jackson), among others, are all guys who could make this class special, given the tumultuous season on the field in 2008.
These three teams could slip on signing day:
This might surprise some, but even though the Trojans just made a huge gain when they landed DE Devon Kennard (Chandler, Ariz./Desert Vista), the jury is still out on our No. 1-ranked defensive player, OLB Manti Te'o (Honolulu/Punahou). Also, this WR class could go from deep to slim as WRs Alshon Jeffrey (Saint Matthews, S.C./Calhoun County), Randall Carroll (Los Angeles/Cathedral) and De'von Flournoy (Van Nuys, Calif./Birmingham) are actively looking at other options and have been public about it. All could end extremely well with USC contending for the No. 1 class once again, but there could be a few hiccups, too.
Illinois Fighting Illini
With the loss of DE Craig Drummond (Chicago/Morgan Park) to Ole Miss last week and the hawks circling over WR Terry Hawthorne (East Saint Louis, Ill.), the Illini could be at risk of losing their top two rated prospects in this class. Still, Ron Zook is a grinder, and you can bet he will close as tough and hard as anyone in the country to hold this class in place.
Plain and simple, Missouri can't afford to lose DE Sheldon Richardson (St. Louis/Gateway Tech) to Miami or anywhere else. This is a team that could use potential difference-makers along the defensive front, and if Richardson goes elsewhere, it would leave the class with just a few defensive linemen who rank near the bottom of their class.
Under The Radar
These players might not be in the top 150, but they will make an impact before all is said and done:
TE Richard Wilson, BYU
BYU possessed one of the most explosive passing attacks in all of college football in 2008, and tight end Dennis Pitta was a big part of the attack. The Cougars have shown they will use the tight end and have one of the better receiving tight ends in the nation in their 2009 class. Wilson (Spanish Fork, Utah) needs to develop as a blocker, but he could thrive as a target in the Cougars' aerial attack. He has good hands, runs well and is a good route-runner. He also shows good toughness to take a hit to make a catch. Wilson couldn't crack the ESPNU 150, but he did not sit too far outside it and is a player to watch because his skills fit BYU's system very well.
OT Charles Leno, Boise State
We don't know whether Leno is going to be another (former Bronco and No. 1 NFL draft pick) Ryan Clady, but from an upside standpoint, he could be. He's a tall lineman who runs more like a tight end. He gives great effort working to the second level downfield on screen passes and when pulling and trapping. He has great feet, and once he gets into the weight room, he could be a really gifted player.
ATH Cody Green, Nebraska
The question is whether he will play quarterback or move to another position. Regardless, Green is the type of athlete who upgrades Nebraska's skill level on offense. He is somewhat of a wild card in this class. Fans have a real interest in him because he's reminiscent of Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor. Nebraska might need him in a role under center as a freshman even if he is not the full-time guy right off the bat. He's big, athletic and can run the spread offense, if need be.
The Art Of Recruiting
Recruiting isn't as easy as guys like Texas' Mack Brown, right, USC's Pete Carroll and Florida's Urban Meyer make it look. Sure, having a winning program helps, but Ivan Maisel talked with the best in the business and discovered the tricks of the trade. Recruiting's 10 Commandments
Plenty can -- and probably will -- happen between now and signing day, but Scouts Inc. took one last look at how the classes are shaping up. So far, the SEC is dominating with five teams in the top 12, including four in the top eight; the ACC is surprisingly strong and is led by Miami, which had last year's top class; and USC is once again making a run at bringing in the nation's top class.
Top 25 (pre-signing day edition)
Miami tops 2008 Class
Miami hauled in 12 ESPNU 150 players and focused on defense, landing the three top LBs and the top DT. The Hurricanes were followed by Clemson, Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
Complete 2008 class rankings
USC tops 2007 Class
USC went for quality, not quantity. The Trojans landed the nation's top three players, including top-ranked RB Joe McKnight. The Trojans also signed eight other players who ranked in the top five of their respective positions. USC was followed by Florida, Texas, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Complete 2007 class rankings
Florida tops 2006 Class
Tim Tebow. Percy Harvin. Is that any good? No wonder Florida, which had 11 ESPNU 150 players in the class, ranked first. The Gators were followed by USC, Texas, Georgia and Notre Dame.
Complete 2006 class Rankings