football

Rivals100 Recruiting Roundtable

With the new year already
upon us, The Rivals100.com Recruiting Network is taking a look at where
we stand in the recruiting wars and some of the big stories in the eyes of the
national and regional recruiting analysts from the network. The best way to do
that is with a recruiting roundtable.
So here's a look at what the
experts think when it comes to some of the key issues and stories that have
transpired this recruiting season and what's yet to come.
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Who is the best player
you’ve seen this season?
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Bobby
Burton of Rivals100.com: The
best player I've seen in the country is Vincent Young (left). He's such a
overwhelmingly dominant player. Out West, I really liked watching the Poly kids,
especially Hershel Dennis. I know he's not rated the highest, but I
thought he brought a certain moxie to the game.
Brian Gates of
Big12Recruiting.com: Donnie Anders of Salina (Kan.) Central. I
haven't seen many, but he is the best that I've seen lately in the North part of
the Midlands.  He is a pure running back and had a phenomenal season. I
was also very impressed with what I saw with guys like Jason Carter in
Oklahoma and Kelvin Flood in Texas.
Bill
Kurelic of MidwestRecruiting.com: Mike D'Andrea is the best in
the Midwest, in my opinion. He's going to be one of those special players that
people read about for years to come.
Jeremy Crabtree of
Rivals100.com: I was convinced that there weren't any better players in the
nation other than Chris Davis in Florida, Ben Olson and Lorenzo
Booker in California until I saw Vince
Young. Vince is just a man on the field and makes the others out there with
him look like they're playing against an NFL quarterback. What impresses me the
most is that he's so physically developed already - and he's very savvy. The
highlight tape on Leon Washington is also one of the best that we've seen
in a long, long, long time.
Mike
Farrell of AERecruiting.com: In the Northeast it would have to be Will
Blackmon, who is probably one of the top 10 or so pure athletes out
there. He's a shutdown corner, a slashing runner with blazing speed and
quickness and could project as a dominant receiver with his good hands and size.
As far as along the East Coast, it would be Mike Johnson, who is
gone every time the slightest hole opens up. His explosiveness is awesome and he
reaches top speed faster than anyone I've seen this year.

What player
has seen his stock soar the most?
Bobby
Burton of Rivals100.com:
I'd say Darius Connor. He's a
very good football player. His teammate is a good player, too. Keith Jackson.
I remember Lester Towns and Chris McCalister both coming out of
Pasadena several years ago, and I think Connor and Jackson, although they kind
of play different positions at Inglewood, could end up being good enough to play
pro ball.
Brian Gates of
Big12Recruiting.com:

This is Anders again. From a nothing rated kid to the state of Kansas
player of the year. He is getting attention from some of the top programs in the
country and teams like Nebraska are starting to take notice.
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Bill
Kurelic of MidwestRecruiting.com: Jim Kanuch (right) has
proved to everybody that has seen him that he's one of the best in the Midwest. Penn
State got itself a great player.
Jeremy Crabtree of
Rivals100.com: In the Southeast there have been a few guys that have moved
up the charts quite a bit. In the Peach State you have to look at guys like Aaron
Scranton, B.J. Fields, Patrick Hall and Stephon Heyer.
They all had solid senior seasons and proved that they're legit Division I
prospects. In Florida a guy like Omar Jacobs has suddenly become a hot
commodity. 
Mike
Farrell of AERecruiting.com: I think Centreville, Va., cornerback Marcus
Hamilton saw his stock soar quite a bit this season because he impressed the
more you watched him even though he didn't get thrown at a lot. He started out
as a mid-tier cornerback (around three stars and in the 30-40 range) and is now
closing in on a top 10 ranking. Hamilton has good size and speed, but his
instincts set him apart from the rest and put him in line with Durham (N.C.)
Northern star A.J. Davis as the top cornerback in the Atlantic area.
Who is the
most interesting player you’ve talked to?

Bobby Burton of
Rivals100.com: Out
West, I'd have to go with Montea Parson. Montea is a juco guy who is
committed to Cal. But he's come a long way in his life. Four or five years ago,
he thought he had a scholarship out of high school to Kansas, and then they
changed coaches. Kind of irked at the whole thing, he went into the armed
services for a couple of years. And now he's back and playing and doing well for
himself. He's a guy that I will personally root for during his playing career.
Brian Gates of
Big12Recruiting.com:

Vincent Young
is because his story changes all the time. The schools change all the time
except for the one - Texas.
Bill
Kurelic of MidwestRecruiting.com: Maurice Clarett is
interesting to listen to him talk and hear how much confidence he has in himself
and his abilities. He believes in himself 100 percent and feels he can do
anything on the football field.
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Mike
Farrell of AERecruiting.com: Jacksonville (Fla.) Andrew Jackson
cornerback Leon Washington (left)
was very interesting because his area
of Jacksonville is not a good one and for him to overcome a tough upbringing to
be arguably the best player in the state of Florida and such a fine and polite
young man. It's an inspiring story overall. He was always one of the players I
looked forward to calling.
Jeremy Crabtree of
Rivals100.com: I agree with Mike that Leon Washington  is a
special player and a special person. He's going to be a success in football and
in life. Justin Blalock is also a great kid to talk to, but the award for
the most interesting player that I've talked to this season has to go to Malta,
Mont., kicker Josh Roberts, who is heading to Oklahoma. What's amazing
about him, is that he's a kicker from Montana and he has some of the nation's
top programs fighting over him. He lives in Montana and he's closer to Canada
than he is an airport. He also has seven siblings and one of the most
interesting mothers that we've ever talked to. He'll be one of the guys that we
root for in college because he's got such a great family supporting him.
 
What is the
most bizarre situation you’ve seen this season?
Bobby
Burton of Rivals100.com:
I had a player tell me that he was
going "home" over Christmas break and would make his college choice
while he was there. Obviously thinking I had just called him at his home, I
asked the recruit where his real home was and if there was a phone number I
could call him at there. Well, home to him is American Samoa and there's no
phone in his village.
Brian Gates of
Big12Recruiting.com:

Daniel Davis and his disappearing act.  He had one
class to finish at Garden City (Kan.) Community College. He had a little
different story each time we talked. Then he disappeared.  His parents
didn't know where he was and hadn't talked to him in months. Coach Bob Larson
hadn't heard from him since mid-November. Everyone assumes he signed with
K-State on Dec. 19, but no one knows for sure.  His mother read in the
paper he signed with K-State. We'll find out for sure on Feb. 7.
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Bill
Kurelic of MidwestRecruiting.com: The Mike
D'Andrea (right) situation is perhaps a little bizarre. He simply has not
been able to make up his mind between Ohio State and Nebraska.
Jeremy Crabtree of
Rivals100.com: Two words - Notre Dame. Just days after having coaches
sitting in the living rooms of recruits like Larry Dibbles and Travis
Leitko and talking about how great the new staff in South Bend was going to
be and that George O'Leary was going to turn things around, the Irish
were looking for a new coach.

Mike
Farrell of AERecruiting.com: The most bizarre situation is when
Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln wide receiver Antonio Cromartie reported that
he had verbally committed to Florida State and then found out later that same
month that he was only junior eligible and would not be able to sign in
February.
What team
from has surprised you with its success this season?
Bobby
Burton of Rivals100.com:
I like what a lot of teams out West
have done, but two teams in particular have been outstanding. Arizona is
doing some nice things - they're getting high quality players at key positions
of need. And Washington State is making it happen for themselves. They're
never at the top of the recruiting rankings, but the Cougars seem to be getting
much more than their regular share this season.
Brian Gates of
Big12Recruiting.com:

Colorado is the biggest surprise. One of the best
performances this year. Filling up their class this early and still going after
some top talent for the remaining spot or two.
Bill
Kurelic of MidwestRecruiting.com:

Notre Dame has surprised me in that none of their commitments have
de-committed in mass or changed their mind much if at all, despite the coaching
situation. With what has happened they are still going to land a very good
recruiting class.
Jeremy Crabtree of
Rivals100.com: The one team that stands out as a surprise so far in the
Southeast is Mississippi State. The Bulldogs didn't do much on the field
this season, but has blown up with an impressive recruiting class and probably
will finish in the top 15. I've also been impressed with the job that Alabama
has done with all of the rumors of coach Fran looking around at other
jobs and NCAA sanctions coming down.
Mike
Farrell of AERecruiting.com:
Based on a very rough regular season
with very little promising to sell to recruits other than the hope of
rebuilding, I would say Rutgers has surprised the most. They secured a
commitment from the best player in the state (Berkerly Hutchinson),
landed one of the top players in Florida (Randy Boxill) and have rounded
out their class with some solid players from Jersey and other parts of the
Northeast. Boston College and Syracuse have put together very
impressive recruiting classes this year, but Rutgers has done well with much
less to sell.
What one
thing will happen that will shock everybody?
Bobby
Burton of Rivals100.com:
In the Pac 10, I think SC is
going to finish strong. That won't be shocking, but I like Pete Carroll's
approach to recruiting. How many college head coaches made it out to some junior
college practices to evaluate players in the spring? He's willing to do what it
takes to succeed and they have some decent scholarship numbers left.
Brian Gates of
Big12Recruiting.com:

Oklahoma State will use the momentum it gained with the win over Oklahoma
to come away with its best recruiting class in years. Earlier this year, we
couldn't find a single kid listing the Cowboys - not they are rolling in the
Lone Star State.
Bill
Kurelic of MidwestRecruiting.com: At this point I really can't think
of anything that will happen that will shock the entire recruiting world. There
are things that always shock us.
Jeremy Crabtree of
Rivals100.com: All but two teams from the SEC will finish
in the top 25 in the recruiting rankings. And I'm going to go out on a limb with
this one, but Georgia will finish with the best class in the SEC.
Mike
Farrell of AERecruiting.com: One of two things could happen that will
shock a lot of people. Either Wayne Hills, N.J., quarterback Chris Olsen
will de-commit from Notre Dame to attend either N.C. State or possibly some
other school out of the blue. Or Newport News (Va.) Warwick quarterback Marcus
Vick will commit to Virginia Tech in late January despite only showing
interest in the Hokies over the last few weeks. However, the shocker of the
world would be if St. Petersburg (Fla.) Catholic athlete Chris Davis spurned
Florida, Florida State and Miami to head north to Boston College to play his
college football. It could happen.
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