football

Leaders emerge in state battles for talent

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Final Florida state rankingClick MORE: Counting Down to Signing Day | Announcement Watch | Here to view this Link.
Here's a closer look at which teams are winning the recruiting battles in California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas - seven key states for recruiting in the Class of 2010.
STATE RECRUITING BATTLES
Battle For California
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The Combatants: USC, Cal and UCLA
The Winner: USC
Even with a coaching change, USC continued its domination of the top prospects in the state. The Trojans whiffed on the top player in the state, five-star defensive end Ronald Powell, but they did reel in three of the top four players in the state - athlete Robert Woods, running back Dillon Baxter and defensive tackle George Uko. Overall, the Trojans landed eight of the state's top 25 players. The Trojans also might not be done yet. Standouts such as Dietrich Riley, Christian Thomas, Josh Shirley and Hayes Pullard are still on the board. UCLA also continues to make a dent with the state's best. As of Friday, the Bruins had landed eight players in the top 100, along with three players in the top 15. All three - Anthony Barr, Malcolm Jones and Jordon James - should give UCLA an immediate threat in the running game. - Jeremy Crabtree
Battle For Florida
The Combatants: Florida, Florida State, USF and Miami
The Winner: TBD
With just a few short days remaining until National Signing Day, the winner of the state of Florida is still up in the air. Right now, the Florida Gators have the edge over the Florida State Seminoles, but that could change. Florida has commitments from five-star safety Matt Elam and four-star prospects like cornerback Jaylen Watkins, tight end Gerald Christian, offensive tackle Ian Silberman, wide receiver Chris Dunkley, and defensive tackle Leon Orr. They are all members of the Rivals100. New FSU coach Jimbo Fisher has to be pleased with the Seminoles; effort to date. Florida State has landed the state's top prospect in cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, as well as linebacker Jeff Luc. USF pulled a shocker Friday by landing Rivals100 cornerback Terrence Mitchell away from the Seminoles. Miami has a solid class, and at this time the Hurricanes have signed the most in-state kids with 17. Florida currently has 14 while FSU checks in with 10. Recruiting is far from over in the Sunshine State, as five of the top 10 prospects in the state have yet to make a decision. Five-star Winter Park linebacker Christian Jones is expected to pick either Florida State or Florida. Hialeah defensive end Corey Lemonier is down to three schools - Miami, Florida State and Auburn. Miramar wide receiver Ivan McCartney will choose from Miami, West Virginia, Oregon and Florida. Tampa athlete Christian Jones is deciding between FSU and Georgia, while his teammate - offensive tackle Chaz Green - is down to Florida, USC and Ohio State. Another highly rated player, Demar Dorsey from Lauderdale Lakes, is expected to sign with Florida State. All are scheduled to be Signing Day announcements. - Jamie Newberg
Battle For Georgia
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The Combatants: Georgia and Georgia Tech
The Winner: Georgia
When it comes to Peach State recruiting, the University of Georgia is still the top dog. They have commitments from five of the state's top 20 prospects, including the No. 1 player in Georgia (wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers). UGA coach Mark Richt has also landed big-time in-state prospects like safety Alexander Ogletree and defensive linemen Garrison Smith and T.J. Stripling - all members if the Rivals100. The Bulldogs have a dozen commitments from Georgia. Meanwhile, coach Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets led the way with 13 from Georgia. Georgia Tech is headlined by defensive linemen Anthony Williams and Denzel McCoy and cornerback Barry Bostic, all members of the Rivals250. With Signing Day right around the corner, there are still some high-end Georgia prospects that have yet to make decisions. It looks like Warner Robins defensive tackle Jeffrey Whitaker will announce next week between Auburn and Georgia, while Stone Mountain defensive tackle Mike Thornton will pick between Georgia, Kentucky and Penn State. - Jamie Newberg
Battle For Michigan
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The Combatants: Michigan and Michigan State
The Winner: Draw
Of the top 12 prospects in the state, Michigan State has five commitments and Michigan has three. But it is not fair to say either team won the head-to-head battle. Each of those eight prospects made their commitments before July 15, negating any potential UM vs. MSU battles as the recruiting season played out. By Oct. 1 of 2009, only one prospect in the top 12 remained uncommitted - Dior Mathis. He had Michigan and Michigan State among his favorites, but he ultimately chose the Oregon Ducks at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Michigan State landed the state's top prospect, William Gholston. Meanwhile, Michigan landed the perfect quarterback for their system in Devin Gardner - the state's No. 2 prospect. - Greg Ladky
Battle For North Carolina
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The Combatants: North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest, Duke, East Carolina
The Winner: NC State
Credit Tom O'Brien and his staff. Despite all the buzz around North Carolina's recruiting efforts the last two years and being dominated in state in 2009, NC State overcame many obstacles to win this race. Five-star Robert Crisp is the clear in-state prize and is complemented in the Wolfpack class by Anthony Creecy, David Amerson and Fre'Shad Hunter - all four-star prospects. UNC boasts four-star T.J. Leifheit, and Wake landed four-star A.J. Marshall. No team reeled in bigger names than NC State. - Mike Farrell
Battle For Pennsylvania
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The Combatants: Penn State, Pittsburgh
The Winner: Penn State
Penn State was the clear winner in the Keystone State this year, pulling in six of the top 10 players in state. Linebacker Mike Hull, quarterback Paul Jones, offensive lineman Thomas Ricketts, tight end Kyle Baublitz, offensive lineman Miles Dieffenbach and defensive end/linebacker Dakota Royer all decided on the Nittany Lions over Pittsburgh and others. To add insult to injury, Hull, Jones, Ricketts and Dieffenbach all hail from the western part of the state. Pitt landed some nice players ranked outside the top 10 like Anthony Gonzalez and Aaron Donald, but PSU easily won this battle this year. - Mike Farrell
Battle For Texas
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The Combatants: Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M
The Winner: Texas
The state of Texas is a battleground for some of the top recruits in the country year after year. Usually the top two combatants are the Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners, with the two exchanging blows and each landing their fair share of the elite players in the state. This year however, Texas went almost unchallenged on in-state prospects. Led by the No. 1 prospect in the state in Jackson Jeffcoat, Mack Brown landed four of the state's top-six prospects and 11 of the top 20. Even the prospects that Texas actually did miss on went to a couple of programs that rarely contend for the elite in-state talent. Safety Ahmad Dixon decommitted from Texas to commit to Baylor, and wide receiver Ross Apo backed out of his Longhorn commitment to head to BYU. One other in-state commitment that Texas was not able to land was Jake Matthews, who is a staple of Texas A&Ms fantastic class of offensive linemen. A&M has 13 commits in the state's top 100, and gave the Longhorns their biggest challenge. Oklahoma closed the year with 12 top-100 Texans, but its highest ranking player was just No. 24 in the state. - Barton Simmons
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