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October 29, 2008
Recruiting picture clearing for five stars
With about three full months left in this recruiting cycle, 12 of the 28 five-star prospects remain uncommitted. With many of them, though, it's clear what schools are on the short list. Here's what we're hearing about each of the uncommitted five stars.
WR Rueben Randle, Bastrop (La.) High: Many thought Randle was a lock for LSU, but the Tigers' recent struggles and some heavy recruiting by a few other schools has turned a lock into a big question mark. Alabama has turned into a big-time contender for his services, and Miami and Michigan are also in the mix here. Randle's teammate, DeQuinta Jones, is headed to Ann Arbor and Michigan assistant Jay Hopson has done a great job recruiting the Southeast. Still, you can't count out LSU for an in-state stud.
LB Jelani Jenkins, Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel: Jenkins is a tough read, having narrowed his list to 15 schools only recently. Some schools have to be considered long-shots, such as Boston College, Clemson, Illinois, Maryland and Oregon. While Penn State long has been considered the front-runner, keep an eye on Florida. Still, until Jenkins sets his official visits, everything is speculation.
DE Devon Kennard, Phoenix Desert Vista: Kennard was considered a USC lock by many before his season-ending injury, but he's now thinking more about non-football aspect. Arizona State is the hometown school and USC remains the team to beat, but keep an eye on Texas, California and some others if he decides to take all of his official visits.
LB Manti Te'o, Honolulu Punahou: It certainly looks as if this decision will come down to USC and BYU, with the Cougars in the lead. Te'o still has a long list and took an official visit to UCLA, but this appears to be a two-team race.
OT Morgan Moses, Richmond (Va.) Meadowbrook: Moses is a tough one to call because there are many schools left on his list. He took an official to West Virginia, but in-state schools Virginia and Virginia Tech will push hard and Tennessee, LSU, Georgia and Florida could be attractive options. Put him in the same category as Jenkins: a wait-and-see guy.
DT Jamarkus McFarland, Lufkin (Texas) High: McFarland has taken official visits to Oklahoma and LSU and has been to Texas' campus, too. Sources say this is a two-team battle between Oklahoma and Texas – and that both sides are confident. I hear more good things about Texas' chances than I do about OU's. He is expected to make his decision by early December.
CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Gadsden (Ala.) Gadsden City: Kirkpatrick will flirt with a few schools, mainly Texas, but every source out there thinks he'll be signing with Alabama.
DT William Campbell, Detroit Cass Tech: LSU and Miami are getting official visits, but USC seemingly has this one right. The Trojans aren't pushing hard for Campbell despite his talent because they seem to be hearing what I am hearing: Campbell will end up at Michigan in the end.
S Craig Loston, Aldine (Texas) Eisenhower: Big 12 fans can say all they want and Oregon fans can dream, but Loston – who backed out of his commitment to Clemson – is headed to LSU. Some say he's already a silent commitment.
RB Christine Michael, Beaumont (Texas) West Brook: The bottom line seems to be that if LSU wants him, they could probably get him. But the Tigers seem to be focused on Trent Richardson and 2010 stud Lache Seastrunk. Sources say Michael does not have a committable offer from LSU, and all signs point to Texas A&M.
TE Logan Thomas, Lynchburg (Va.) Brookville: Thomas had a private short list of Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest as recently as a couple of weeks ago. But his recent unofficial visit to Florida State has the 'Noles in the mix, and Virginia's on-field resurgence has the Cavaliers back in business.
CB Branden Smith, Atlanta Washington: Smith has taken an official visit to Florida and has trips scheduled to Auburn and Florida State in November, but Georgia is the team to beat. He is scheduled for a December visit to Athens.
GROH GAINING GROUND
Virginia suddenly is a hot team in the ACC, on the field and off. The recent commitment from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith wide receiver Tim Smith is a good sign, and Moses and Thomas – the state of Virginia's two five-star prospects – will visit Charlottesville unofficially this weekend, when Miami comes to town. The Cavaliers now are viable options for both.
Woodbridge (Va.) High running back De'Antwan Williams also has Virginia on his short list, and if the Cavs can land all three, they would end up with five of the state's preseason top 10. What a difference a few weeks can make.
• Jenks (Okla.) High cornerback Gabe Lynn is listing Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State as his four finalists. Lynn (6-0/185) already has taken official visits to Nebraska and Oklahoma State, and has Oklahoma this weekend. He plans to take an official visit to North Carolina as well, but a date has not been set. Sources say the team to beat is Oklahoma.
• Wilmington (Del.) Concord wide receiver Justin Brown is going to wait until after his senior season to set up any official visits, but schools that certainly will get one are Penn State and Boston College. The Nittany Lions are the team to beat. Rutgers also could get a visit.
• Sanford (Fla.) Seminole wide receiver Andre Debose took an official visit to LSU this past weekend, and rumors have begun that he has told the Tigers' staff that he wants to sign. Kenny Bell is the only pure wide receiver who currently is committed to LSU. A trio of Bell, Debose and Randle would be the perfect scenario for the Tigers' staff.
• Offensive tackle Xavier Su'a Filo of Provo (Utah) Timpview still lists nine schools of interest, but sources say that this is a three-team race between BYU, USC and LSU, with BYU holding the edge.
• Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen, an Auburn commitment, was at the Florida game this past weekend. While he has an official visit scheduled for Texas Tech on Nov. 7, he's reportedly unsure if he'll take that trip; this could come down to Auburn and Florida.
• I mentioned last week that West Virginia has a good shot at quarterback Eugene Smith from Miramar (Fla.) High following the de-commitment of Tajh Boyd. The Mountaineers are covering all the bases in their quarterback search and have offered Glen Allen (Va.) Deep Run athlete Antone Exum an opportunity to come in as a quarterback. Exum will set visits after his senior season, but the thought of playing quarterback has to be intriguing to him. Exum plays quarterback and defensive back in high school.
• Sources say USC seems to be the team to beat for Miami Gulliver Prep linebacker Frankie Telfort. USC wants Telford (5-11/197) as a safety. USC also leads for Cartersville (Ga.) High athlete Donavan Tate, who visited Oct. 10. Tate – whose dad, Lars, was a running back at Georgia and in the NFL – has narrowed his list to USC, Michigan, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia and LSU, but there is speculation that on his visit, he indicated to Pete Carroll that he would be a Trojan.
• Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul quarterback AJ McCarron is listed as a soft commitment to Alabama and plays to visit Ole Miss, Oklahoma and possibly Miami. But with the Tide rolling the way they are, it would take something special to pull him away.
• Rumors had been swirling for a long time about Louisville (Ky.) Male cornerback Justin Green being a soft commitment to Ohio State, and after an unofficial visit to Illinois, he seems to be done with taking trips. He'll take his official visit to Ohio State in December. He was interested in Clemson before the coaching change. Meanwhile, Cleveland Glenville offensive lineman Marcus Hall is waiting until the end of the season to focus on recruiting, but word has it that Ohio State is his ultimate destination. While Miami, LSU and others are pushing strong, Hall to Ohio State would not be a surprise given the Buckeyes' relationship with Glenville.
• If something happens with the Tennessee coaching staff, look for Tampa Gaither running back Jarvis Giles to take a strong look at Georgia, Florida and Florida State. Giles remains a solid commitment to the Vols, but he has been in contact with a few other staffs just in case.