Chat with Damon Sayles
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's RecruitingNation expert Damon Sayles stops by to chat about the latest news.
Sayles is a Midlands region recruiting reporter for ESPN RecruitingNation. He joined ESPN in 2011 after previously working for Rivals.com and with The Dallas Morning News.
Send your questions now and join Sayles Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Damon Sayles (2:54 PM)
What's up, everybody? We will kick things off in about five minutes. We'll go about 60 minutes or so.
Damon Sayles (3:00 PM)
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the chat. Some housekeeping news for you. Three-star DE Tyus Bowser (Tyler, Texas/John Tyler) will commit to Oklahoma State today, per his head coach. He hasn't done it yet, but it will happen. Once Tyus speaks to Mike Gundy, it's a done deal.
Damon Sayles (3:00 PM)
Let's get this rolling.
Do the Buckeyes have anything to worry about w/ E. Elliots visit to Mizzu?
Damon Sayles (3:02 PM)
One of the biggest questions of the week. I'm rarely shocked in the recruiting world, but I'd be shocked if Elliott flipped to Missouri. Keep in mind that his mom and dad are former Missouri athletes, so it's almost a priority for him to make a visit. I think he's pretty solid with Ohio State, though.
What are the chances Dontre Wilson leaves oregon for the buckeyes?
Damon Sayles (3:04 PM)
The other top question of the week. This one is probably closer to 50-50 that many think. While Dontre and his dad both say they're still committed to Oregon, they visit Columbus, Ohio, this weekend. This is a huge opportunity for Ohio State to flex their biceps. Oregon did just that last night by bringing seven coaches to DeSoto, Texas, for a visit. They brought out the big guns, no doubt. This upcoming visit will determine everything.
Have you heard anything about A'Shawn Robinson visit to ALA?
Damon Sayles (3:05 PM)
A'Shawn loved the visit, as most who take the trip to Alabama. He told our Max Olson, however, that Texas is still his No. 1 choice. In order of who gets him right now (emphasis of "right now"), I'd say it's Texas with Alabama a close second and USC a distant third.
Trace (Dallas, TX)
As an A&M fan, I'm wondering: who's a better prospect, Torrodney Prevot or Daeshon Hall? And which is more likely to sign with A
Damon Sayles (3:07 PM)
This is a pick-your-poison answer, because both players are potent. Prevot isn't as big, but he's long and quick. Hall is a little longer and plays with more raw talent. Both are going to be solid defensive ends in the future. I'd think there's a better chance in the Aggies landing Prevot than Hall, but we'll know more in two weeks.
Damon Sayles (3:10 PM)
In talking with my guys Erik McKinney and Blair Angulo, Eddie Vanderdoes and Quinton Powell are two guys to keep an eye on. USC also has a reputation of swaying a local guy late. In that case, keep an eye on Washington commit Jermaine Kelly. Of the three, Powell and Vanderdoes really will get a major push from the Trojans.
Damon Sayles (3:12 PM)
It's definitely loaded, particularly in Texas. Tony Brown, Dylan Sumner-Gardner, Brandon Simmons, Ed Paris, Jamal Adams, Edwin Freeman ... the list goes on and on. The big question: How will these guys respond during the spring and summer? Very important times for all of the 2014 athletes.
Damon Sayles (3:13 PM)
I can't think of any off the top, but I do know this: There are teams who get the most out of their players who aren't four-star or five-star guys. Kansas State pops in my head right off the bat. If I remember correctly, Collin Klein wasn't a four-star or five-star guy ... and he had a pretty good career.
Damon Sayles (3:14 PM)
I thought Devin might end up back at Texas Tech ... then he heard from Ohio State. A lot of people say recruits only need to see what Columbus has to offer, and it's a wrap. With that said, I'll go on a limb and say Devin chooses the Buckeyes when it's all said and done.
Any chance Texas gets Dontre Wilson to flip last minute?
Damon Sayles (3:15 PM)
I don't see this as being likely. This is a two-horse race between Oregon and Ohio State. However, if Texas sneaks in and pulls the upset, there will be a ton of people looking at Major Applewhite totally different.
Christopher (PalmBay, Fl)
What do you think Wilson does? Stick with the Ducks or join the Bucks?
Damon Sayles (3:17 PM)
Me personally, I think he stays with Oregon. I say that nowhere near as confident as I was last week, but in an effort to stay with my gut, I'll say he stays with Oregon. If he chooses Ohio State, it'll be all because of an outstanding official visit this weekend ... and the door is open for Ohio State to do damage here.
Where do you see D.J. Green from Mesquite Horn ending up?
Damon Sayles (3:18 PM)
I'd love to see D.J. Green land at a big-time FBS program. As an inside linebacker, he makes sense in a lot of programs. I think, however, he could end up at a place like Navy. I know Navy and Eastern Michigan are among his top choices. This is all assuming he doesn't get any last-minute surprises.
Thomas (San Antonio)
Does Texas have a shot to flip anyone else or any other big pick ups?
Damon Sayles (3:20 PM)
Andrew Billings is still available, and picking him up would be huge. With OL Rami Hammad committing Wednesday, it's almost a lock that Billings will be a DT in the Longhorns' system, and that's where he wants to play. He'll choose either Texas, Baylor or TCU. The race continues.
J.B. (Seattle) [via mobile]
One of the biggest beasts in the country is clearly Rueben Foster. Is there any chance we can get him to leave the south and come play up here for the dawgs?
Damon Sayles (3:23 PM)
Without question, Reuben Foster is one of the top dogs of the recruiting board. Right now, it's anyone's guess on where he may end up. When you look at the overall picture, you've got to think Alabama, Georgia and Auburn among the leaders. Narrowing it even more, I'd go with either Auburn or Alabama, but that doesn't mean Georgia is on the outside looking in. I think we'll all know more after this week.
Urban Meyer and Nick Saban are duking it out for the presence of Vonn Bell, if you were Vonn where would you go? and where do you think he will end up?
Damon Sayles (3:26 PM)
Alabama? Ohio State? Tennessee? Let's not forget Bell still has one more official visit to Tennessee to take. With that said, I'd put my money (if I were a betting man) on Alabama. I know he's high on all the schools, but his high school coach said he's had a lot of good to say about Alabama.
What do you think about the Nebraska class in general. Is there any name that Nebraska fans should be looking for in the last couple of weeks.
Damon Sayles (3:29 PM)
I like Nebraska's class. I think it's very underrated ... and by "underrated," I mean nobody is talking about the fact that it has 11 four-star players. Randy Gregory, Dominic Walker, Adam Taylor Johnny Stanton ... blue-collar guys like these can change a program. I've been a fan of Taylor's for a while. He runs with a purpose. One guy to keep an eye on is three-star OT Dwayne Johnson. He's not "The Rock," but he plays with The Rock's attitude. Never a bad thing.
How likely is it that ATH Tyrone Swoopes stays at QB while at Texas?
Damon Sayles (3:31 PM)
It all depends on what Swoopes gets out of the tutelage from the Texas staff. At Whitewright, he wasn't asked to be a true QB, simply because he beat everybody with his feet. If he's able to do everything Major Applewhite tells him to do, we could see an awesome transformation that would silence a lot of critics.
Rod (Satanta, Kansas)
Which players are the Sooners in on that they have a good chance of getting ? Any surprises ?
Damon Sayles (3:33 PM)
I think the bigger question is: Can the Sooners keep who they have? Right now, Florida State is looking to sway junior college offensive tackle Josiah St. John. You don't want to lose 6-7, 300 pounds. I don't think St. John will go anywhere, but he has said it'd be cool to play college football in Florida.
Trace (Dallas, TX)
The consensus is that 2013 was a down year in the quality of recruits out of Texas...do you feel that way? How much better will 2014 be?
Damon Sayles (3:34 PM)
Robert Nkemdiche alone says that's not true, at least in my opinion. I think a lot of people are really fired up about 2014 -- as well they should be -- but I think 2013 has crazy talent from east to west.
William Wilkerson (HornsNation)
Thomas, it doesn't look like Texas will flip near the number of recruits it flipped last year. It very well could end up that Rami Hammad is the only one this year.
Damon Sayles (3:35 PM)
Shouts to my guy William Wilkerson.
Isaac (Houghton, MI)
Do you see any of the current Ducks recruits going elsewhere?
Damon Sayles (3:37 PM)
A lot of the Ducks commits were just looking for confirmation. Would the offense change? Why did Chip Kelly seriously leave? Who fills in the voids? When Mark Helfrich was hired and Scott Frost was given the offensive coordinator spot, it helped to calm down all the questions.
Where do you see James Clark ending up?
Damon Sayles (3:40 PM)
Some say Florida. Others say Ohio State. Some pick a wildcard. Ohio State gets the official visit this week, and this is where the Buckeyes can separate themselves. Here's the ultimate factor that no one talks about: It's cold in Ohio. It's not cold in Florida. Let the marbles in the scale continue to pour pro and con.
Damon Sayles (3:40 PM)
Will take about 20 more minutes of questions, peeps.
Seth (Alabama) [via mobile]
What kind of impact can Florida make on recruiting outside of the south east?
Damon Sayles (3:42 PM)
This is where Florida coaches have to be like car salesman and sell the "features" of the campus. For those on the east coast, you sell the climate. For those on the west coast and the Midlands area, you sell the fact that you're playing in the SEC. This is where the official visit really becomes valuable. They must take advantage.
Where does Marquez North end up?
Damon Sayles (3:43 PM)
I think it comes down to either Tennessee or North Carolina. He is supposed to see North Carolina before making a decision. In speaking with the staff, I know he's a big fan of Tennessee. With that said, I'll said Tennessee. If it's North Carolina, I won't be shocked at all.
how big of a get would derrik green the rb be for michigan?
Damon Sayles (3:45 PM)
It'd be a huge get. He fits in the old-school mold of Michigan running backs. I saw him at The Opening. He got there early and practically lived in the weight room. He balances power and speed well, and I think he could be a major contributor early.
Hearing Edward Williams is not committed to Tex A&M any more, can you confirm and do you know why, grades? He visited Ore St couple weeks ago any thoughts on him ending up there or La Tech?
Damon Sayles (3:47 PM)
In speaking with my guy Sam Khan, Williams is taking visits his visits and playing everything by ear. He's visited Oregon State and will visit Louisiana Tech this weekend. Word is that he was being asked to potentially grayshirt, so that's the reason he has reopened his recruitment. It makes you wonder if he'll stay close to home and choose Louisiana Tech in the end.
Most under the radar class?
Damon Sayles (3:50 PM)
This is a loaded question, because there are so many ways to go with it. From a skill-position standout, I really like Oklahoma State's receiver tandem. Ra'Shaad Samples, Fred Ross and Marcel Ateman are ridiculously good. From an O-line perspective, it's hard to battle with Michigan, but Texas has some good ones, as well. The Longhorns definitely are under the radar. Overall, I still have to roll with Nebraska being most underrated, simply because no one is talking about them. They can sneak up and bite a lot of people.
The '14 class looks huge for midland QBs, especially in OK. Where to you see Justice Hansen, David Cornwell, and Coleman Key going?
Damon Sayles (3:52 PM)
It's still early for these guys, and a lot could be determined after they take a few junior days. I'll say this: I had a chance to see David Cornwell at the Under Armour Combine, and I was really impressed. Justice Hansen is just a flat-out leader, and Coleman Key is about to show a lot of people that the ceiling can't hold his talent level. Three very good QBs right there, and I'd imagine Oklahoma will go for one of them, maybe two.
Ty (College Station)
I think that the recruiting landscape has shifted in Texas, and A&M will be recruiting lights out for years to come under Sumlin and the SEC. Most Texas fans will not admit that, but I think the rise of A
Damon Sayles (3:55 PM)
Texas A&M is super attractive right now. You've got the SEC, Sumlin, Johnny Football, a rowdy fan base, Kyle Field at full capacity -- it's an awesome situation if you're an Aggie fan. I think that with everything, the recruiting landscape will have its turn at other schools, as well. It's all cyclical. In two years, we could see Oklahoma with 30-plus commitments.
Damon Sayles (3:55 PM)
Five more minutes, peeps. Love that you guys are so into this. Hate that I can't answer all the questions here.
Isaac (Houghton, MI)
Do you think people should start to worry about the stability of the USC program and coaches with the decommitment from Jason Hatcher?
Damon Sayles (3:57 PM)
USC is what it is ... it's USC. Basically, players will want to play for the Trojans regardless. The tradition is there. The only way that'll change is if some major, major scandal rocks the program. Until that happens, I think USC will be just fine. They've got some talent committed right now.
Garrett Jelley (Oklahoma)
What are the chances that Ra'Shaad Samples decommits from Oklahoma State?
Damon Sayles (3:58 PM)
They were a lot higher before Laquon Treadwell committed. Had Treadwell chosen Oklahoma State, I would have wondered about Samples. Now, I think he stays put.
Trace (Dallas, TX)
Sebastian LaRue is a popular man right now, as is Quincy Adeboyjeo. Where will those two land?
Damon Sayles (4:00 PM)
I think Sebastian LaRue ends up either at Notre Dame or Texas A&M. If he's willing to compete with eight or nine receivers for playing time, I think he picks the Aggies. As for Adeboyejo, the Ole Miss this weekend will tell a lot. If Oxford does its job, I think he's theirs to lose.
Damon Sayles (4:00 PM)
Last question ...
Brian (Los Angeles)
Where do Fitts and Vanderdoes end up in your opinion? Thank you
Damon Sayles (4:01 PM)
Ultimately, I think Fitts ends up at USC. Even when he decommitted, he was a huge fan of the Trojans. This could be that local kid that USC pulls at the 11th hour. As for Vanderdoes, I think he heads to Alabama. While he loves USC, playing in the SEC is something a lot of kids want. Playing for the national champion is icing on the cake.
Damon Sayles (4:02 PM)
That's my time, folks. I hate I couldn't get everyone's questions, but feel free to hit me on Twitter: @DamonSayles. Let's do this again next week. Take care.