Three-Point Stance: Top 1-2 punches, Florida State, Kentucky
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s Three-Point Stance is here with the top 1-2 in-state commitment punches, some words of encouragement for Florida State fans and a look at Kentucky's recruiting success.
1. TOP 1-2 IN-STATE COMMITMENT PUNCHES
With the commitment from in-state defensive end Greg Emerson, Tennessee now has one of the best 1-2 in-state commitment punches in the country as Emerson joins five-star offensive tackle Cade Mays on the Vols' commitment list. In fact, you could argue that, because of the positions they play and their impressive measurables, Mays-Emerson is the top 1-2 punch in the country. Here are a few other impressive 1-2 in-state commitment punches:
Miami – Lorenzo Lingard and Mark Pope – A five-star running back and an elite wide receiver pushing for that fifth star tops the list for me as the skill positions at Miami are set to become elite again.
Florida State – Asante Samuel and Amari Gainer – James Cook would have been with Samuel on here before his decommitment (see below for more), but Gainer is no slouch and this is the best 1-2 in-state punch on defense in the country.
Clemson – Xavier Thomas and Derion Kendrick – Thomas is playing in Florida but hails from South Carolina and has the potential to be an elite rush end while Kendrick should keep the receiver tradition going at Clemson.
2. CHIN UP, SEMINOLE FANS
Okay, Florida State fans, the sky is not falling. There are certain types of problems that are “rich people problem” and others that are “real problems”. The decommitment of five-star running back James Cook, the younger brother of former Seminoles star Dalvin Cook, is a rich person problem and nothing close to real.
Florida State has an embarrassment of riches at the running back position with Jacques Patrick, Khalan Laborn, Cam Akers, Zaquandre White and 2018 running back commitment Jashaun Corbin and the program could easily have other four-star lined up in this class if it wanted to take another.
You want real football recruiting problems? Take a look around at the teams that don’t have three five-star running backs on the roster, which is pretty much every FBS program in the country except for Alabama. Heck, there are even teams out there without a single five-star running back on the roster, can you believe that? And even some of those programs are in good shape.
Cook might re-commit to Florida State in the end, after all he has such a strong connection to the program, but he wants to pave his own way at another school and not be constantly compared to his older brother. If that’s the case, the Seminoles will be just fine in the end.
The schools mentioned the most with Cook appear to be Georgia, Clemson and Florida and only the Bulldogs can boast similar running back depth to the Seminoles. Ironically, Clemson and Florida were the two programs Dalvin Cook committed to before he finally chose Florida State.
3. KENTUCKY IS DOING IT AGAIN
Kentucky football is doing it again, but this time it shouldn't take anyone by surprise. The Wildcats, under Mark Stoops, are now ranked No. 15 in the Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings after a recent commitment from Ohio linebacker Xavier Peters.
The Wildcats' 2018 class is ranked fourth in the SEC ahead of programs such as South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. Of course, I expect the Gators, Crimson Tide, Tigers and Bulldogs to eventually surpass Kentucky in the rankings and South Carolina could do the same, but didn’t everyone expect Kentucky to fade away on the recruiting trail by now? I know fan bases in the SEC sure did. But led by ace recruiter Vince Marrow and an aggressive staff, the Wildcats continue to stockpile talent on the roster.
Peters, if he sticks with his commitment, will be the program's latest success story out of the state of Ohio. Since 2013, the Wildcats have landed players from Ohio ranked No. 4 (twice), No. 7 (twice), No. 8, No. 9 and No. 10 in addition to many key three-star prospects as well. Before Stoops? Zero top 10 players in Ohio from 2002-12.
This for a program that, under Stoops, has been to one bowl game, has an 8-24 SEC record and is 19-30 overall. Kentucky may not win the SEC East anytime soon, but each recruiting year makes them a tougher out. If the Wildcats keep recruiting at this level, they will pull off more and more upsets like they did last year against Louisville.