The newest edition of the Rivals100 Round Table dives into topics all over the national recruiting scene. Out West, Concord De La Salle star Terrance Kelly is moving up the charts, but where will he project in college.
How will last week’s big battles between Michigan State and Michigan and Georgia and Florida shape things in the Midwest and in the Southeast? And does Maryland really have a shot at keeping five-star defensive end Derrick Harvey at home after all?
It looked like at one point that Derrick Harvey (right) wasn’t going to give Maryland a heavy look because of their off the field problems and other teams that were recruiting him. But Maryland has moved back up on his list, is that where he likely ends up at, or will national powers like Miami keep him from the Terps?
Mike Farrell: I've said from the beginning, from when I first spoke with Derrick about recruiting, that it was going to be hard for other teams to pull him out of Maryland. Even though he has official visits set with Miami, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida in addition to Maryland, the Terps are home to him. He reminds me a bit of Wes Jefferson from last season, a player who will look around but should ultimately stay home.
It’s more likely that he’s going to end up outside the state of Maryland, but still don’t discount Turtle Power.
Texas Tech is sitting in the top 10 of the Rivals.com team rankings, which is something that’s never happened before. What is Mike Leach and his staff doing out there that has been so successful and can they reel in a top 15 class when we hit signing day?
Brian Gates: The biggest thing for Texas Tech right now is the number of commitments they have. With 14 players already on the list, the Red Raiders have more than a lot of teams. And at this early stage, that helps boost a rating. But, a closer look at the list, the ranking is more than just quantity. Ennis, Texas signal caller Graham Harrell (left) is one of the best preps in the nation. Reedley (Calif.) College's Robert Johnson, is the best junior college quarterback out there.
Combine those two with three four-star wide receivers and a couple of other talented players from Reedley College's defense and you have what Mike Leach has put together - the nation's No. 9 rated class.
The offense Leach is running on the field is exciting and catches the eye of many prospects and has them looking in the direction of Lubbock. The team is winning games and doing it impressively. So it is partially what the staff is doing on the field that is helping them in the recruiting battles.
The quality is there for a class to be rated highly in February. It will come down to who they add to this mix between now and signing day to see where the class ends up ranked.
Three weekends ago in front of a national ESPN television audience Cameron Colvin of Concord De La Salle showed why he is one of the nation’s top receiver recruits, but his teammate Terrance Kelly kind of stole the show with a big game at running back. What is Kelly’s story and what position do you project him playing in college at?
Rick Kimbrel: Kelly was given his chance to shine because starting three star tailback Jackie Bates was hurt and is out for the season. Next came four star corner Willie Glasper who is also banged up so DLS decided to just play Glasper at corner. After all they felt a banged up Glasper is better than most.
Now on to Kelly, he was a junior varsity tailback but was moved to linebacker (his projected college position) and tight end. When the injury bug hit DLS Kelly asked the coach to try him at running back. At first he was rebuffed because he was thought to be too slow for the position but his persistence paid off and finally the DLS staff relented.
Much to the opposition’s chagrin.
Kelly’s stock has been given a boost in the arm due to his performance this season.
Michigan State has to be the surprise of the Big 10 this season with all their success on the field. Has John L. Smith also been successful in the recruiting front and are more and more of the state’s top players looking toward East Lansing instead of Ann Arbor?
Bill Kurelic: Michigan State under new head coach John L. Smith has been a surprise on the field this season. But their success has not just been on the field.
The Spartans have recruited well too. In the state of Ohio for instance, Michigan State has landed commitments from three of the top 25 overall prospects.
In regards to going head-to-head in the state of Michigan with the rival Wolverines, many of the top players made early decisions to head to Ann Arbor, long before anyone knew the quick success Smith would have at Michigan State.
However there are two big names left, and both are considering Michigan State and Michigan. Those two, Vernon Gholston and Kellen Freeman-Davis (right), both have scholarship offers from the Spartans and Wolverines and in each case it could come down to a decision of which in-state school each prefers.
Florida and Georgia go head to head for some many recruits in the state of Georgia, in Florida and throughout the Southeast. Both Ron Zook and Mark Richt are known for their great recruiting abilities, so the obvious question is whether or not the Cocktail Party this past weekend will be something that will affect recruits’ decisions?
Jeff Drummond: I think so. The Cocktail Party always draws its fair share of attention as the Gators and Dawgs battle for many of the same players in their border rivalry.
And in this particular season, it could be huge. There seems to be a perception among a lot of the elite prospects I speak with that these are programs going in different directions, with Georgia currently holding the upper hand that Florida had a death grip on for much of the 90s.
I think this game could either solidify the Dawgs’ standing and potential to land a monster class this season, or if the Gators pull an upset, it could be just the type of springboard Ron Zook needs to start building another great class like he reeled in last year.
In the past, Coach Turner and his staff had done a pretty good job of keeping some of the top talent at home, but have the Illini struggles on the field allowed the state borders to be wide open to outside programs? And what are some of the new programs that you’ve noticed that are starting to make some in-roads in Illinois?
Tim O’Halloran: If your talking about the top tier-elite talent in Illinois, you could definitely question whether the Illini have actually kept the borders closed at all.
In this recruiting class alone, the Illini don't look to have a shot at landing any of the top five recruits that are listed by Rivals100.com or by most other services.
If the Illini continue to struggle, you could very well see more and more in-state kids who have already committed to the Fighting Illini start to look around.
Michigan State, Virginia and Kansas are the three programs without question that come to mind as schools that have put a much greater focus on recruiting Illinois.
All three have made inroads this fall, yet the Spartans are coming on as of late and could very well steal a few Illinois kids away. Virginia has done an excellent job, especially in the talent-heavy Chicago Public League. Kansas continues to outwork a lot of schools.
Kansas has made great progress and the Jayhawks efforts could pay off, especially in the Illinois Class of 2005, which is shaping up to be one of deepest recruiting classes we've had in many years from a talent perspective.