Tag:Noah Spence
Posted on: December 27, 2011 1:29 pm
 

National notes: Movers & shakers in team rankings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's getting down to crunch time on the recruiting trail, with just over a month until National Signing Day. With most of the Holiday season over with and attention turned to the new year, things are about to pick up even more as the decommits, recommits and surprises start happening.

The Eye on Recruiting has already given you some players ticketed for a rise on offense and defense in the recruiting rankings and now it's time to cast a critical eye on the teams that are looking to move up and a few that could be on their way down.

Team rankings movers

Alabama

Is there a better recruiter than Nick Saban? Currently, it's hard to argue with the man's success on the field and on the recruiting trail. He could be putting together an all-time great class in 2012 and just recently added lineman Alphonse Taylor and highly regarded running back T.J. Yeldon. Though they already have a quarterback in Alec Morris, the Tide are heavily pursuing dual-threat signal-caller Jameis Winston, one of the best players in the state and at his position, and top safety Landon Collins. If they can add Winston and close in on a few other top targets, Saban's team could vault to the top of the team rankings when everybody signs on the dotted line.

Ohio State

In just a short amount of time, Urban Meyer has made his presence felt in Columbus and nationally thanks to his recruiting acumen. The biggest splash has been made along the defensive line, where's he's grabbed commitments from the number three player in the country Noah Spence, tackle Tommy Schutt and end Se'Von Pittman. Though the NCAA handed out a bowl ban to the program, that probably won't deter too many recruits and playing for Meyer will be enough for some of them. They could land top 100 players like offensive tackle Jordan Diamond and athlete Davonte Neal so expect the Buckeyes to close well.

Notre Dame

The Irish and Brian Kelly put together a great group of defensive lineman last year and appear to have a balanced group of quality players at every position this year. California commits Deontay Greenberry and Tee Shepard seem solid and can make an impact right away after getting aclimated to South Bend. As is usual for Notre Dame, plenty of top recruits like Nelson Agholor, Arik Armstead and Gunner Kiel have the Irish on their short list and could turn a good class into a great one.

USC

The Trojans' great year in 2011 has proven they're one of the few schools who can shake off harsh NCAA sanctions and still play and recruit well. Lane Kiffin has a plan to deal with scholarship reductions and it will be put to the test in 2012 with 2012 being the first class limited to 15 players. USC has already signed a few top players early, such as linebacker Scott Starr and top JUCO safety Gerald Bowman. They have a chance at some top national guys Agholor and Andrus Peat so it's possible for it to be a small but great recruiting class for the Trojans.

California

Like their Pac-12 counterparts, the Bears could come on strong late with some top recruits. They're in good position to land Armstead and most consider five-star safety Shaq Thompson a lock to go to Berkeley. Ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi is a tremendous recruiter and with a great year out West for talent, should do pretty well. Cal's current group of commits, with quarterback Zach Kline and wide receiver Bryce Treggs, is a good start.

Team rankings shakers

Florida State

This is still a very good group of players but there's no doubt that the Seminoles class has taken hit in the past few weeks - thanks in large part to Alabama. Defensive end Chris Casher is a solid building block but future teammate Mario Edwards is looking hard at Oklahoma and Texas. Losing Winston would be a huge blow and there's a slim chance some, like Dante Fowler and Mario Pender, could pull a switch on Signing Day. Jimbo Fisher has done very well with the 2012 class but fans have a reason to be a little nervous at how they'll close.

Florida

A 6-6 season and losing offensive coordinator (and noted recruiter) Charlie Weis to Kansas have caused the Gators to slip a little. It still looks like they'll be a lock for a top 10 class come February with so many top 100 recruits but there's no doubt the uncertainty surrounding the program could come back to bite them. The loss of Weis in particular could hurt with possible pledges like Agholor and put a damper on Will Muschamp's first full recruiting class. Expectations are high with Meyer doing what he's doing in Columbus so a class that isn't filled with five-stars will further the perception that the program is slipping a bit.

Auburn

Will there be a meltdown on the Plains? It seems as though things haven't been going the Tigers' way recently with rival Alabama in the national championship game and stealing top commit in Yeldon. On top of that, defensive coordinator Ted Roof is gone and big time offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn surprisingly moved on to a head coaching job. This is still a very good class but they'll need to hold the current group together as well as snag a few top recruits to help reload an already young team.

Teams sitting pretty

Texas

Mack Brown has pulled in some impressive recruiting classes to Austin but this may be his best yet. The country's top running back and second-ranked wide receiver are headed to the 40 Acres and the depth of the group is one of the reasons why the Longhorns are the top ranked team in the latest Maxpreps rankings. There's no doubt that they should finish among the top three but it still remains to be seen if they can keep the top spot. Texas isn't completely done recruiting and could add a few impact players between now and Signing Day.

Michigan

Brady Hoke put together the bulk of this class before even coaching a game and has occupied the top team spot for most of the year. From top-to-bottom this might be the best class in the country with plenty of players who should come in and make an impact early  The Wolverines have seemingly filled all their holes and are still in the running for a few national recruits that could bolster their ranking so Michigan definitely has a shot at being ranked as the best.

Mora turning heads in Westwood

As soon as Jim Mora was hired in Westwood, the first question would be how well could the longtime NFL coach recruit at the college level? As it turns out, pretty well if early indications are to hold up in the future.

Mora's best recruiting job was the hiring of his assistants, notably ace recruiter Adrian Klemm, secondary coach Demetrice Martin  and former Arizona State offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. The trio, among others, have plenty of West Coast ties and have allowed the staff to hit the ground running despite being hired so late in the game. Keep an eye on this group poaching a few recruits from the Sun Devils once-promising class as well as a few Los Angeles natives.

December has seen the Bruins' class add several good players. Defensive backs Marcus Rios and Ishamel Adams are two players who could play early on defense and landing linebacker Kenny Orjioke out of Atlanta is a solid get for the staff. For the most part, the commitments prior to the new staff have hung in and seem sold on the direction of the program.

Though they're not anywhere close to getting elite talent, the signs out of UCLA are encouraging for a relatively inexperienced staff. The problem in the past has not been about recruiting however, it's been talent development and in that area things are still TBD. Still, given the progress on the recruiting trail, the coaching change has given plenty of Bruin fans something to smile about in a relatively dour year.

Video of week

I'm headed out to the Rising Seniors Bowl in Atlanta this year, which features some of the top juniors (class of 2013) in the state of Georgia. Among the headliners this week is linebacker Reuben Foster, an Alabama commit and easily one of - if not the - top players at his position next year. Here's some of his highlights:

Posted on: December 18, 2011 7:38 pm
 

Meyer lands top defensive end Noah Spence

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Urban Meyer has taken over Ohio State and quickly brought in a defensive line class that rivals any in the country. The latest addition came Sunday with Harrisburg (Pa.) five-star Noah Spence, who committed on his official visit to Columbus on Sunday.

"I am committed to Ohio State and I just decided to do it before the Under-Armour game," Spence told Scout. "I We went into Urban Meyer's office and I said Coach I am done and I want to be a part of the Buckeye Nation. I'd still like to announce on TV where I am going, but I didn't want to wait anymore."

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Spence is ranked as the nation's top defensive end and number three overall prospect by Maxpreps. He held scholarship offers from just about every program from coast-to-coast but the comfort factor with Meyer and Ohio State allowed him to commit while on his visit.

"It feels so great, I am truly blessed," he said. "Feels like I got the monkey off my back and I thank God for being with me every step of the way and for blessing myself and my family."

Spence is the Buckeyes' 19th commitment for the class of 2012 and joins fellow top 100 recruits Se'Von Pittman and Tommy Schutt on the defensive line. He amassed 98 tackles and 12.5 sacks during his senior season and should compete for a starting spot early on at Ohio State.

"He blends great size with speed, quickness, and power," analyst Tom Lemming said of Spence. "He has a keen sense for the football and uses it on every down. Remarkably active with a terrific burst, he's able to rip off blocks with strong hands and tremendous natural strength."

Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:09 pm
 

Urban Meyer pushing hard for Noah Spence

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Urban Meyer has made quite the splash on the recruiting trail since being named head coach at Ohio State and just recently landed two big-time defensive linemen in Tommy Schutt and Se'Von Pittman.

The top-flight recruiter could be on the verge of landing another top player in Harrisburg (Pa.) defensive end Noah Spence, the nation's third overall recruit. The Buckeyes have made a serious move up Spence's list as of late and drawn the personal attention of Meyer this week.

Maxpreps has a full update on Spence and his official visit to Columbus this weekend.

Posted on: December 5, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 11:36 pm
 

National Notes: Top assistants to keep an eye on

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Welcome to December, otherwise known as closing time. Bowl practices and holidays make things a little more complicated for some coaches but others enjoy the grind as they hit the home stretch two months out from Signing Day. Here's a list of four recruiters in each part of the country to keep an eye on in each part of the country.

West

Ed Orgeron, USC

Does any recruiter have a better reputation than Ed Orgeron? Probably not. The Trojans defensive line coach has been relentless in the recruiting trail and instrumental in helping manage the program's numbers situation with limited scholarships to hand out. He's hit SoCal hard and been a big reason why plenty of offensive (Max Tuerk, Jordan Simmons) and defensive (Ellis McCarthy, Noah Spence) are committed to, or looking at, USC. Also note that linebackers coach Joe Barry has done a great job with his position group, Orange County (Calif.) and Arizona during his time in LA.

Tosh Lupoi, California

It's been pretty amazing to see Lupoi's rise as a recruiter and coach at Cal but you can see why when looking at his handiwork. He's a younger Orgeron but is quickly becoming his equal after landing players such as Brennan Scarlett and Viliami Moala last year. As a Bay Area-native, he's done a great job of getting talent close to home while also going national and bringing players in. Though the Bears class is somewhat small, expect it to grow in a cover as Lupoi enters the home stretch. His top target right now is five-star Arik Armstead.

Demetrice Martin, Washington

The Huskies staff has lots of Southern California connections but Martin has been a great closer down the stretch with kids. He's relatable as a young guy and knows many of the high school coaches in the area. Don't be surprised if he lands some skill position talent for UW's class this year from the LA area.

John Neal, Oregon

One of the Ducks' ace recruiters, Neal has hit other areas of the country with success and does well in the cities. He landed nearby athlete Oshay Dunmore and had a hand in defensive backs Eric and Stephen Amoako committing from the Dallas-area. Several athletes from the East and Southern California are in contact with him and don't be shocked to hear his name come up some more.

South

Dameyune Craig, Florida State

Not sure anybody has gone into another powerhouse's backyard and raided it like Craig has Alabama's. The big star was quarterback Jameis Winston but he's also been instrumental in landing Chris Casher and Justin Shanks. There's a few more targets on the Seminoles board and don't be surprised if Craig is the one helping get them to Tallahassee.

Mike Bobo, Georgia

It's funny but Bobo's on the field duties have caused a few Georgia fans to want him out of the program but his time spent in recruits' homes and on the trail has been a big asset to the Bulldogs. He was one of the people behind last year's 'Dream Team' and has managed to sell stability at a program that only got it with 10 straight wins during the regular season. This year appears to be another time for him to shine with in-state recruits once again.

Tee Martin, Kentucky

That Martin has done a good job as a recruiter should surprise no one but given that he the former Tennessee star has done it at Kentucky is a little bit. He managed to get a huge surprise last Signing Day in wide out Daryl Collins and might be able to pull off the same magic again this year. Martin has done a great job in Alabama in particular and the only question seems to be if he can resist heading back to Knoxville with a staff opening there.

Frank Wilson, LSU

Last year he was a machine, with a hand in landing offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and running back Kenny Hilliard among others (all three saw plenty of playing time in LSU's run to New Orleans). Easily the Tigers' best recruiter, Wilson has been one reason why there's a figurative fence around the state of Louisiana. Linebacker Trey Granier was one of his big gets with the 2012 group and don't be surprised if he gets a few others as well.

Midwest

Tony Alford, Notre Dame

Don't be surprised if Alford can snag a big fish for Notre Dame late in the process. He got a commitment from Justin Ferguson out of Florida and appears to be focusing his time on the state to land a few others. With some issues at Florida, he could be one person to take advantage given his ties in the northern part of the state.

Fred Jackson, Michigan

The Wolverines have put together the best class of 2012 in the country and Jackson is a big part of it. He's mainly an in-state guy and lucky for him he's got a great group coming out and done an even better job of keeping them home. He's plucked two out of Farmington Hills (Mich.) in Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia and played a role in Royce Jenkins-Stone's pledge. He's been at the school a long time and knows how to sell Michigan to players.

Adrian Klemm, SMU

Klemm is not a household name by any means but should be based on what he's done this year. Though SMU isn't exactly a powerhouse, June Jones has engineered a turnaround in Dallas and Klemm has been a big part as recruiting coordinator. Though the school is located in a talent-rich area of a talent-rich state, the former New England Patriot has done a great job getting talented Los Angeles-area players to come East. Six SoCal natives are committed to the Mustangs class of 2012 at the moment and more could be coming. With rumors of Jones taking the Arizona State job, expect Klemm to come along to really ramp up the LA ties.

Urban Meyer/Luke Fickell, Ohio State

Yes, Meyer's not an assistant coach. But he hasn't really assembled his staff at this point and thus is going a significant share of the recruiting himself. He has certainly been active and because Fickell is remaining on staff, we'll count these two as one super-recruiter. Though recruiting hasn't been up to Ohio State standards with the 2012 group, that was to be expected given the turnover at head coach and NCAA violations in Columbus. Fickell landed Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier last year and did a good job with Adolphus Washington this year. The two are going to be a very good asset despite what amounts to a false start with the upcoming class. Things have already paid off dividends and the Buckeyes are in the running for defensive end Noah Spence.

Davis decommits from Florida

Been a wild few days down in the South. Stone Mountain (Ga.) running back Mike Davis was one of the recent invites to the Army All-American Bowl and had the jersey ceremony for himself and fellow teammate Raphael Kirby on Thursday. At the time, rumors started to surface that he was having issues with the staff and would soon decommit.

Over the weekend he went on an official visit to Tennessee and finally on Sunday night, he made the new official that he was no longer a Florida pledge.

"My mind right now is open," Davis told Rivals. "My recruitment has opened back up. I've talked to my parents, my mom, my brother, all my family. Right now it's Florida State, South Carolina, Alabama and Miami. But things can change."

From the sounds of things, the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder is completely wide open and will not be considering the Gators despite being in their 2012 class since February and one of their biggest supporters.

"I can't really talk about it," he said cryptically. "Some things happened that I don't want to comment on between me and the coaches. All I'll say is that it was a miscommunication between them, me and my brother. Some things that weren't supposed to happen." 

Ranked as the 10th-best running back in the country by Maxpreps, losing Davis is big blow to Florida as the new staff tries to remake the team using more of a pro-style offense. One of the central pieces of the class and expected to compete early on for some playing time as a change of pace guy, Charlie Weis is now down to just Matt Jones at running back in 2012. With their top 2013 target off the board to Georgia in Derrick Henry, Florida now has to scramble to get another player back into the fold at the position.

Busy week for Armstead

After decommitting from USC, the recruitment of Pleasant Grove (Calif.) lineman Arik Armstead has steadily picked up. He's been going on several official visits the past few weeks and has kept his phone close by.

USC and Notre Dame are among the schools that have already stopped by for an in-home and several more are lined up over the next few days. Among the scheduled ones this week are Washington, Oregon and Auburn. He'll be making the short trip to Cal at some point during the weekend. Also keep in mind that Armstead wants to play basketball and that will be a factor in his decision.

Video of the week



Posted on: November 22, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: November 22, 2011 2:40 pm
 

National Notes: Who ends up where?

Posted by Bryan Fischer

We're a little over two months away from Signing Day and with the end of the regular season - both high school and college - approaching, now's a good time to survey recruits in the top 50 and look at who they're considering and where they might end up. The list will see plenty of players verbally commit in January with several all-star games and the pressure to publicly announce so don't be surprised to see this list shrink quickly.

Rank Player Notes Best Guess
1. Dorial Green-Beckham, WR
6-6/225
Considering: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Auburn, Alabama
2. Gunner Kiel, QB
6-4/215
Kept quiet since decommitting from Indiana. Visited Notre Dame, looking at Arkansas, LSU, Tennessee and USC as dark horses.
3. Noah Spence, DE 6-4/245 Considering: Penn State, Maryland, Florida, Notre Dame, N.C. State (Dad's alma mater) and USC.
4. Mario Edwards, DE 6-4/285 Committed to Florida State, but watch out for Oklahoma.
5. Shaq Thompson, DB/RB 6-2/210 Two horse race between California and Washington. Shock if he goes anywhere but Berkley.
7. Andrus Peat, OL 6-6/310 Considering: Nebraska (Brother plays there), Notre Dame, Texas, Florida State, Stanford and Arizona State.
8. Ellis McCarthy, DT 6-4/310 Crosstown battle between USC and UCLA.
12. Landon Collins, DB 6-1/205 Comes down to LSU/Alabama.
15. Barry Sanders, RB 5-11/195 Considering: Oklahoma State (Dad's alma mater), Stanford, Alabama, Florida State.
16. Zach Banner, OL 6-8/295 Considering: Michigan, Oklahoma, USC, Notre Dame, Washington.
18. Stefon Diggs, WR
6-1/190
Considering: Auburn, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Florida State among others.
21. Eddie Goldman, DT
6-4/315
Alabama and Florida State are the leaders with Auburn, Cal, Clemson, Maryland and South Carolina under consideration.
22. Nelson Agholor, ATH
6-2/185
Kept recruiting under wraps and doesn't talk schools. Stays in-state it's Florida, leave the state it's USC.
25. Davonte Neal, WR/DB 5-10/180 Waiting until after the season to look at recruiting.
26. Keith Marshall, RB 5-11/190 Looking at Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, North and South Carolina.
31. Kwon Alexander, LB 6-3/215 Tore his ACL during the season.
32. Arik Armstead, OL/DL
6-7/285
Football and basketball recruit, de-commit from USC. Considering Alabama, Cal, Alabama, Notre Dame and Arkansas among others.
37. Darius Hamilton, DL
6-4/250
Rutgers is the favorite but Cal, Florida, LSU, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech are under consideration.
40. Joel Caleb, ATH
6-3/205
Likely down to Virginia Tech and West Virginia with Penn State issues.
41. Jordan Diamond, OL
6-6/310
Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin seem to be contenders.
43. Josh Garnett, OL 6-5/300 Education is a major factor, looking at Auburn, Miami, Michigan and Washington.
44. Quay Evans, DL 6-3/310 Most of the SEC is after Evans.
49. Ifeadi Odenigbo, DL 6-4/220 Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and late player USC are in the running.

Oregon loses but still wins the weekend

It wasn't a great Saturday for Oregon fans after USC's upset win in Eugene but spirits were brightened as soon as they heard junior Beaverton (Ore.) running back Thomas Tyner committed to the program.

The 6-foot, 210-pound junior was at the game and made his pledge known on Twitter later on. Tyner will be ranked as one of the top backs on the West Coast in 2013 after rushing for 1,821 yards and 19 scores last season.

Running back Byron Marshall also committed to Oregon this week giving the Ducks a combo of speedsters to plug into Chip Kelly's offense. A good weekend despite the loss for the program and it just goes to show that, in cases like Tyner's, atmosphere is just as important as winning a big game. It's one reason why most head coaches don't mind inviting plenty of players in if a top ranked team is in town. In many ways, it's hard to lose if the stadium is rocking.
 
Rich Rodriguez hires will be important but will do well at Arizona


News broke late Monday night that former Michigan and West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez was hired by Arizona. I'd agree with my colleague Dennis Dodd that the hire is a home run. Mike Stoops wasn't a bad recruiter but his staffs did miss on a few players and never seemed to get a marquee in-state recruit. Southern California and Texas were two areas where the Wildcats did well in and expect much of the same under RichRod.

Though his tenure in Ann Arbor didn't end well, Rodriguez still proved he could evaluate and recruit - landing several top 25 classes despite mounting losses. His background has been on the East Coast but he's got connections to Florida and should do well in attracting players to his spread offense. Two priorities when building his staff need to be addressed first however: a good defensive coordinator and someone with West Coast ties.

There's a lot of flash surrounding the hire and Rodriguez has had success just about everywhere he's been outside of Michigan so expect recruits in 2012 to take notice but with Signing Day so close, this hire will make an impact on the class of 2013. With instability at Arizona State and possibly at UCLA plus USC hampered by scholarship reductions, there's a chance he could make a splash and leave his mark early in Southern California.

Video of the week

Some highlights of Oregon's latest pledge.










Posted on: November 17, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 7:16 pm
 

Recruiting is a difficult task for Penn State



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Recruiting in and of itself is extremely difficult. The stakes are high, jobs are at risk and the payoff at the end might be one kid making one play years down the road to win a game. Add in the amount of time college football coaches spend on the trail - recruiting is not a sometimes thing, it is an all the time thing - and one quickly understands why plenty of coaches will privately say that what they do leading up to Signing Day is one of their least favorite things about the job.

Some schools have a built-in advantage when it comes to players, others have to work extremely hard just to get a recruit to visit. For the most part, Penn State has been in the former category - a big state school, fertile recruiting ground in Pennsylvania, a legendary head coach, unmatched tradition and, literally, generations of players committed to play for the Nittany Lions since birth.

Now, following the shocking allegations involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky and involvement (or lack thereof) of Penn State officials, all of the factors the school had going for it have been shown the door just as quickly as Joe Paterno was pushed out. One of the men at the center of the scandal, Mike McQueary, was the recruiting coordinator (he's on administrative leave) and it's very likely nobody from the current staff will be retained. The house is going to be cleaned but the only problem is the people still inside it are going to have to cobble together a class of 2012 first.

"Penn State's reputation, especially in the Northeast part of the country was second to none," CBS Sports analyst Rich Rodriguez said last week. "If there was a player in that quadrant in the country, they had a chance to get them. ... They'll take a little hit and they'll recover and still be the choice in the Northeast part of the country."

The current recruiting class for the school is led by Glen Ellyn (Ill.) defensive lineman Tommy Schutt and totals 15 players. There has only been one public decommitment since the scandal broke but keep in mind that it is very early and plenty of the players have barely had time to think about recruiting with teams in the middle of playoff runs. The commits that have made public comments all generally have said they're taking a 'wait and see" approach and that's pretty consistent with other places that have seen a cloud hover over the program.

But soon, there won't be a time to wait and players will have to see what Penn State is offering and what others are. Don't be surprised if most of the class takes at least one visit to another school and continues to open the phone lines up to other staffs. There will be recruits among the 15 in the current class and others out there that simply want to go to Penn State and will likely end up signing in February. For those that aren't fully committed to the university, those that wanted to play for Joe Paterno and the current staff or those that are simply uneasy with the whole situation, it's going to be extremely tough for them to fax their letter of intent to State College.

Some uncommitted players who had been considering the school have already dropped them from consideration and that is the area the staff will have the most difficult time with. Athlete Joel Caleb, defensive end Noah Spence and defensive tackle Jamil Pollard are among the prospects that have decided to drop the Nittany Lions down on their list or take them off all together.

Can Penn State rebuild their reputation and recruit as good, if not better, than they were before? It depends on who they hire as head coach. The school is not going to receive NCAA sanctions from all indications so there will be no bowl bans or scholarship reductions to speak about. The most difficult thing going forward is the current group of coaches going into the living rooms of recruits across the country and convincing them and their parents that things will be ok in State College and Penn State is still a great place to get an education and play football.

It will get easier as time goes on and especially once a new head coach and staff are hired but for right now, recruiting players to become a Nittany Lion is the hardest sell in college football. Penn State should be back, some day down the road. For now though, it's tough roads ahead and an even tougher task on the recruiting trail.

Posted on: November 7, 2011 7:05 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 10:43 pm
 

National Notes: Alabama, Mizzou-SEC, Penn State

Posted by Bryan Fischer

If you were a recruit in the southeastern part of the country, chances are you were at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa for the game built up to be the biggest of the century.

There were over 100 official and unofficial visitors taking in Alabama-LSU Saturday and just about all of them used a synonym of the word "awesome" to describe the atmosphere. No doubt the defensive recruits were a little more impressed at the level and style of play than the offensive recruits but no matter who it was, there were nothing but positive vibes from the experience.

"It was a great game," cornerback and Alabama commit Geno Smith told TideSports.com. "It was a great atmosphere, and I enjoyed the game a lot even though it was a tough loss. It was a fun game."

Smith was one of several Tide commitments in attendance as an unoffiical visitor. With several five-star recruits in on their official visits, such as tackle Arik Armstead and defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, recruiting others to join Alabama's class of 2012 was going on by several commits despite the raucous atmosphere.

"It was so hard to talk to people," linebacker Reggie Ragland said. "It was that loud on the field, so I had to get up in people's faces just to talk to them. I know once the game got started, it was hard for the guys playing the game to even hear."

Yes Alabama lost a close game in overtime but there were plenty of positives to take away for those in attendance. Winning is the most important thing in recruiting but a loss to a team like LSU, in that atmosphere, with that head coach, means the Tide won't suffer on the recruiting trail. Come Signing Day, there will be plenty of players who forgot the outcome but remembered what it felt like being in the stadium and on the Crimson Tide sideline.

The biggest effect could be felt in the class of 2013. Five-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche was among the double-digit number of underclassmen prospects in attendance and someone several coaches came over to talk to.

“Everything is still pretty much the same - Alabama and LSU are my top two," he told 247sports. "I liked the game and both teams have very good defenses. I haven’t been down to LSU yet. I really like Alabama, though.”

It wasn't the game of the century but it was Nick Saban's off the field given the quality and quantity of recruits looking on. It's some what early to truly digest if what happened in Tuscaloosa will have a lasting impact with some but we have plenty of time between now and February to figure it out.

Missouri moves to the SEC

The other big news over the weekend was Missouri's move to the SEC (finally, officially). It's important to note that the Tigers will be placed in the Eastern division and will have a game every year against West division "rival" Texas A&M. If you're on the MU coaching staff nothing could make you happier.

Without question, the move is a step up in competition but that doesn't mean Missouri can't compete. They'll still be able to go into Texas, which they have successfully under Gary Pinkel, just as often as they have. They'll also be able to make in-roads in talent rich states like Georgia and Florida with trips every other year. Like most schools, they're not going to be consistently recruiting five-star type players but playing in the SEC is something plenty of players value and will be a selling point.

One player the move could help with is top-ranked Dorial Green-Beckham. Though the talented wide receiver has kept pretty mum on his recruiting, he has talked glowingly about playing in the SEC and proximity to home is a huge factor for him. Though many consider Oklahoma and Arkansas the front-runners for his signature, the move certainly doesn't hurt the Tigers pursuit.

More than anything, winning some games next year will go a long way in the class of 2013.

Penn State issues already having an effect

As big as Alabama-LSU was this weekend, it paled in comparison to the story out of Penn State. We're at an early stage in all of this but no doubt that recruits are beginning to take notice of what is going on in State College.

The Nittany Lions currently have 16 commitments for the class of 2012 and many are taking a wait and see approach right now. As we've seen at other schools dealing with a big scandal, it will take some time to see what will happen with many of the players recruited by the staff at Penn State. Some players choose a school because of academics, location and what not - those will likely stick with their pledge. Others headed to school for a particular coach or Joe Paterno in particular, might find themselves taking additional visits and contacting other schools in order to have options on Signing Day.

Five-star and top defensive end Noah Spence appeared to be dropping PSU, tweeting that the school might not be for him Monday afternoon. It still too early to tell what's going to happen with Penn State's recruiting going forward but it's hard to say things will be ok given the news coming out of the area recently.

Video of the week

This week's spotlight is on running back Keith Marshall, who had quite the game on Senior Night with five touchdowns.





Posted on: August 24, 2011 2:49 pm
 

10 teams that will rise or fall in the rankings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Five teams looking up (in alphabetical order):

1. Arkansas

It's a bit surprising to see the Razorbacks missing from the MaxPreps Top 25 but that will likely change in the months leading up to Signing Day. They have just 12 commits halfway through August but are in the running for several top 100 players and landing one or two should boost them up when they do. Number one receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has the program on his short list and has already set an official visit to Fayetteville as well.

2. Notre Dame

The Irish are 18th overall in the rankings but expect Brian Kelly and staff to close strong like they did with last year's top five class. Official visits are a big deal for Notre Dame and it wouldn't be surprising to see a few players move the school up on their list after visiting South Bend. If they can beat Michigan on the road under the lights and have a good showing in a win against USC at home later in the season, the program should be in the top 10 by November.

3. Oregon

Has any team been to the national championship game and not seen a recruiting bounce? At the moment, Oregon has not but that should change if the Ducks get the season started. Obviously the NCAA investigation has hampered their recruiting efforts but there are still several players like Jordan Simmons and Zach Banner with Oregon on their short list. Skill position players will want to play in Chip Kelly's offense and it likely won't be long before several of them commit and the Ducks slide into the top 25.

4. Penn State

The Nittany Lions are sitting just outside of the top 25 but, given the uncommitted talent right in their backyard, it wouldn't be too surprising to see JoePa move up. Noah Spence and Rushel Shell are two of top players who could end up in Happy Valley. This class addresses the guys in the trenches more than the skill positions so grabbing a few impact players should push them higher as well.

5. Tennessee

Seems like forever ago that Tennessee had fewer than five commits. Actually it was about a month ago. With the recent news that there would be no further NCAA sanctions beyond what were already self-imposed, Derek Dooley can now go full bore on the recruiting trail with out any impediments or negative recruiting against him. They've been picking up players left and right and will keep sliding up the recruiting rankings throughout he season as they continue to hear recruits sing Rocky Top.

Five looking down:

1. Arizona State

There's a few shaky verbal commits in the Sun Devils' class and that's one reason why they're on this list. There's no doubt that Dennis Erickson is on the hot seat as well and with so many injuries to the team before the season has begun, an average-at-best year could result in a few players looking for a program on more solid footing.

2. Florida

The Gators land on this not because they're going to see some players leave their strong class but because they're simply going to move down the rankings as others move up. They have 17 players committed and a solid group of targets left on their board but it's hard not to see an Alabama or an Auburn to eventually move above them at the moment.

3. Miami

No surprise to see the Hurricanes on this list given the NCAA investigation and surrounding mess following the Yahoo! Sports report. The recruiting class has stuck together so far but it's hard for anyone to imagine that being the case through Signing Day. There's a good talent base around the school but they have not received multiple top 100 commitments before the big news and likely won't afterwards.

4. Rutgers

The team is one of the top classes in the Big East but it will be tough to see them in the top two come Signing Day. The season will be key; if 2011 is another sub-.500 campaign then recruits could start looking elsewhere. Plus, it's not hard to see West Virginia passing them at some point given the momentum they'll have under a first year head coach that is looking to do big things on offense.

5. Vanderbilt

The Commodores have done big things early in the recruiting cycle but it will be interesting to see how long it lasts as they begin the season and other schools start looking to fill out their classes once they end up missing out on other targets. Like others on this list, a bad year on the field could also cause some commits to look to other programs.

 
 
 
 
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