When he de-committed from Auburn after coach Tommy Tuberville resigned, Avon (Ind.) High four-star defensive end Montez Robinson became arguably the nation's most-sought after player at his position.
His wildly successful senior season catapulted him up the Rivals.com rankings and pushed him higher and higher on the wish lists of college coaches.
Now that he's back on the recruiting market, it looks as if a few teams have improved their chances at landing Robinson, who is the nation's No. 8 strongside defensive end.
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"Auburn still has a shot to land me, but Alabama, Georgia, and Purdue have improved their chance," he said. "It is really hard to separate the three SEC schools. Purdue is a little different, smaller college, but it will offer the educational background. They have a good tradition with defensive ends; they have put about nine defensive ends in the NFL right now."
Robinson took an official visit to Auburn in September, and checked out Alabama, Georgia and Purdue during the season.
There has been speculation he could end up at Alabama because he's originally from West Blocton, Ala. But Robinson said he's going to wait and see what happens with Auburn. Coaches also have in-home visits planned in the next couple of weeks.
"I'm definitely open," he said. "I have a lot to think about."
MONTGOMERY BATTLE HEATING UP
Pardon Sam Montgomery, from Greenwood (S.C.) High, if he wants to take his time making a recruiting decision.
Montgomery, the nation's No. 3 weakside defensive end and No. 53 player overall, says he's not in a major rush to make up his mind, despite having offers from every major program in the country. Despite heavy attention from Tennessee, USC, Michigan, Oklahoma, Florida, Florida State, Alabama and others, it has been hard to nail down where he might be leaning.
With National Signing Day less than two months away, three schools are in line to get an official visit. "Tennessee is going to get a visit in January, I'm going to take an official visit to LSU and I think I'm going to have to put Michigan in there as well," Montgomery said. "Those are three right now. I'm liking those school a lot."
Tennessee is the newest team to make a strong push, and Montgomery said the new Vols staff has made up a lot of ground quickly. "I wasn't even looking at them before, but now they've had all this change and they're alive and well with me," he said.
GOOD END TO WEEKEND
Even though Missouri was throttled by Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game, all was not lost for the Tigers. They picked up a major commitment from linebacker Joshua Tatum of City College of San Francisco.
Rivals.com ranks Tatum (6-0/240) as the No. 11 junior college player in the nation and a four-star prospect. Tatum originally signed out of high school (Oakland McClymonds) with USC, and he should help fill an immediate need at linebacker for Mizzou.
Tatum also plans to help the Tigers score some other highly ranked prospects.
"I'm bringing some guys with me," Tatum said. "I'm not going to commit for them just yet."
It would seem one of those guys would be CCSF teammate Jarrell Harrison, a safety who visited Mizzou in October with Tatum.
• Rivals.com writers are covering two all-star events this weekend. Along with full coverage of the Hawaii Prep Classic, Rivals.com recruiting analysts also will be at practices for the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. To keep track of all the breaking news, analysis and live updates, check out Rivals.com's all-star game headquarters.
• The junior college top 100 recently was updated, and there was a significant move in the four-star rankings. Moving up to four stars is Scooba (Miss.) East Mississippi CC safety Jamar Hornsby, who was dismissed from Florida over the summer after using a deceased friend's gas card. Hornsby recently committed to Ole Miss. "I'm real excited," he said. "When I was growing up, I wanted to play in the SEC. I went to Florida. That didn't work out. This will with Ole Miss."
• Four-star junior college offensive line prospect Danny Watkins of Butte C.C in California has committed to Baylor. He chose the Bears over Arkansas, Cal, Hawaii, Marshall and Middle Tennessee State.
• Northern Illinois always has recruited Wisconsin well, and the Huskies have added a commitment from one of the top 10 players in the state. Hartland Arrowhead tackle Jared Volk pledged to NIU on Monday after turning down four other offers.
• Arizona landed a commitment from one of the top defensive linemen in California when Newbury Park three-star defensive end Jackson Powell pledged to the Wildcats. He picked Arizona over offers from Cal, Washington, Oregon State and San Diego State.
• Michigan State landed a pledge from defensive end Corey Freeman of Cleveland Heights (Ohio) High early this week. Freeman signed with West Virginia for the Class of 2008, but a transcript issue kept him from enrolling at WVU.