football Edit

Twitter Tuesday: Justin Fields, Michigan, Virginia, Pitt

Our weekly Twitter Tuesday file continues this week where you ask National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell your football questions via social media. Here are five questions we chose including Farrell’s take on how Justin Fields and Zamir White stack up as a combination at Georgia.

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Justin Fields
Justin Fields (Chad Simmons)

New Georgia quarterback commitment Justin Fields and “Zeus,” running back commitment Zamir White, are one of the best quarterback-running back recruit combinations I can think of, perhaps only rivaled by Adrian Peterson and Rhett Bomar back in 2004.

Fields, a dynamic dual threat signal caller, can do so much with his legs and his arm that defenses will constantly be off balance when he has the ball in his hands. But imagine Fields running the zone-read with a beast of a back like White down the line or setting up the pass with off-tackle runs by White. The possibilities are endless and the talent between the two is immense.

But a cautionary tale – while Peterson became one of the best running backs in history as the No. 1 player in the 2004 Rivals100, Bomar ruined his collegiate career with off-field issues. The duo never really achieved together what many expected. If Fields and White can stay healthy and out of the off-season stories, they could be the best 1-2 punch we at have ever seen.

Michigan's offense
Michigan's offense (AP Images)

The Wolverines' offensive woes will continue unless they can solve the offensive line issues and find a quarterback that can win games when the chips are down. Right now, the offensive line looks to be an issue and there certainly isn’t a signal-caller on the roster who appears to have the ability to lead the team from behind.

Michigan's defense will keep the team in games, but in today's college football, you should expect to win when you hold your opponent to just 14 points. That wasn’t the case against Michigan State, however.

The loss of senior leadership from last year hurts and losing Tarik Black early stung as well, but I can’t figure out why the running game hasn’t been more effective short of calling out the offensive line. And without a great offensive line, an offense will struggle.

Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley (AP Images)

The Big Ten East is better than ever with Michigan State showing signs of life but the Oct. 28 game between Penn State and Ohio State looms large. Ohio State has the home field advantage and revenge factor, but Penn State is playing as well as any team not named Alabama. I give the edge to the Nittany Lions based on the confidence they are playing with, a guy named Saquon Barkley and a better quarterback.

Bronco Mendenhall
Bronco Mendenhall (AP Images)

The simple answer is no, not yet. However, that’s because much of the 2018 recruiting is done around the nation and this staff is still getting to know local prospects and coaches.

Remember, Bronco Mendenhall was hired as a fish out of water at Virginia because he’s a very good coach, not for his recruiting ties. There are some guys on the staff that can recruit the state, but they need to show that winning can happen in Charlottesville first before they will win any big battles.

Enjoy the good start and give these coaches some time to find their guys. I don’t expect Mike London-level local recruiting at all, but that didn’t work out so well did it? Mendenhall finds kids that fit what he wants and coaches them up. The recruiting classes might not be super exciting, but they could win much more often.

Max Browne
Max Browne (AP Images)

Eloquently put. There are many reasons that Pitt is just 2-4 with wins over FCS Youngstown State (barely) and Rice (a horrible team), but it all starts at quarterback.

Max Browne was never the solution, regardless of his high school accolades. The recruiting at that position has been pretty bad. Ben DiNucci was a two-star kid whose biggest offer besides Pitt was from Akron. I liked Thomas MacVittie some out of high school as a mid-level three-star, but he wasn’t a world beater. Kenny Pickett is now the No. 2 quarterback on the roster after his redshirt was burned this past weekend and he wasn’t exactly heavily recruited either.

It doesn’t all fall on poor quarterback recruiting, as the receiving corps isn’t great and the defense has not played up to Pat Narduzzi's standards, but start under center and work your way down I suppose.

Recruiting hasn’t been great – No. 65 in 2015, No. 29 in 2016, No. 38 in 2017 and No. 58 so far this year – and too many local players have been poached. This is a team that relied upon some local recruits like Tyler Boyd and James Conner to make noise in the ACC but is lacking those playmakers now in a big way. Jordan Whitehead is a terrific player, but the Panthers need offensive help.