Monday, January 14, 2008

Where they are headed

And who they are talking about.

It’s time to start talking recruiting. In our first effort, we are going to point out the schools that have the most highly touted recruits so far, as well as who the non-committed recruits are talking about.

We know which schools already have the commitments of the nation’s top players so far.

Of the top 100 high school players per (my preferred source), 75 of them – a full three-quarters, have already expressed their college commitments. The schools with at least 2 commitments of top 100 talent are (in order of commitments) –

Notre Dame – 8
Ohio State – 7
Texas – 7
Oklahoma – 6
USC – 6
Michigan – 5
Georgia - 4
Pitt – 4
Colorado - 3
Florida – 3
Florida State – 3
Miami – 3
LSU – 2
13 Others with 1 each

A couple of comments–

- Of Notre Dame’s 22 current total commitments, 18 committed BEFORE the season began, and two in October. Their two commitments since the season ended (Deion Walker and Trevor Robinson) are high quality recruits, but one wonders how well the entire class will hold up after the dismal season the Irish just had.

- Pittsburgh – Dave Wannstedt the recruiter?

- 3 each for the state of Florida’s “Big 3”. Is the golden age of Florida football over?

- Colorado??

- LSU seems under represented with only 2 top 100 recruits.

Overall, the rich get richer.

However for the remaining top 100 not yet committed, it is interesting to see who they are talking about.

To do this we merely looked at the remaining top recruits and noted all of their “schools of interest”. The total number of times various schools were mentioned by remaining recruits were (in order of times mentioned) –

Florida – 16
LSU – 15
Florida State – 11
Miami – 10
USC – 9
Auburn – 9
Alabama – 8
Clemson – 7
Ohio State – 6
Tennessee – 5
Michigan – 4
North Carolina – 4
Georgia – 3
Notre Dame – 3
Texas Tech – 3
UCLA – 3
Arkansas – 2
Illinois - 2
Oklahoma – 2
Oregon – 2
Penn State -2
Rutgers – 2
South Carolina -2
Texas - 2
Wake Forest - 2
West Virginia – 2
Several others with 1 mention

I think this list gives a pretty good indication who might be in a position to “close late” as signing day approaches. In the case of the Florida schools, and LSU, closing strong near the end appears somewhat doable. In the case of several other schools strong out the gate – Notre Dame, Georgia, Oklahoma and Texas – it appears the bulk of their best possible recruits are already signed.

Of course, I would rather be in the position of a Notre Dame or Georgia with the commitments already “on the line”, but Florida is still a high choice of many of the top remaining athletes, including all three of’s top players in the nation – Wideout Julio Jones of Alabama, option superstar quarterback Terrelle Pryor of Pennsylvania, and running back Darrell Scott of California. We Gator fans have to remember this is going to be a small class due to few outstanding scholarships available, and landing a single one of these top 3 would be fantastic.

Other comments –

- Whither South Carolina? The Gamecocks are presently ranked 28th overall per Scout with not a single top 100 player, and very few prospects.

- Nick Saban seems to be able to generate at least interest among top players, if not commitments. 8 non-committed top players mention Alabama as a school of interest, but not a single top 100 player has committed there. Alabama is ranked 3rd overall per Scout, but the ranking is more a function of the size (26) of the class than the talent.

- North Carolina – Top recruits now at least think about Butch Davis’ program.

- Illinois – Barely mentioned by remaining top flight talent, the Illini has of yet landed not a single top 100 player.

- State of Florida - Many of the remaining top players are trying to choose among at least 2 of the Florida schools. It will be very, very interesting to see who is the toughest “closer” here.

- Tennessee? With a class currently ranked 45th by, no top 100 recruits, and only a handful even mentioning the Vols, what is happening in Knoxville?

We will have more on recruiting as signing day draws near.

CORRECTION: The sharp eyed SMQ pointed out that Rivals sees the Alabama class a little different than Scout does. I was wrong in stating 'Bama had no top 100 recruits, as they have secured the commitment of 5 star OL recruit Tyler Love. However their other 5 star recruit per Rivals - athlete Burton Scott - is listed as a "soft verbal" on Scout, so they don't count him as a commit.


JJ Gator said...

Florida got off to a rather slow start in recruiting this year, but as you've said, Mergz, we're very likely to close strong and be at the top of the rankings as far as the quality of this class is concerned.

Yeah, so much for "Zook the master recruiter" (ROTFLMAO) - he isn't doing anything spectacular so far.

As far as Pitt goes Wanny needs a strong class and a respectable season in 2008 to hang onto his job. Sure the win over WVU was big for him, but one huge win doesn't make a season.

UF didn't get Zebrie Sanders as an O-line recruit, and I've seen a lot of crap at the AJC being thrown at Urban Meyer over letting Sanders get away; some of those jort-wearing UGA fans especially are calling him a "liar". Sanders' failure to commit wasn't Meyer's fault; it was HIS fault for not seizing the opportunity when it was available. In Sander's case if you snooze, you lose.

Out of the three prized recruits you mention it would be nice to land Pryor, considering Tebow will be a junior in 2008. Meyer did mention that he'd like to take a QB each year, and if this kid would possibly be willing to redshirt if he couldn't get playing time we'd get our QB of the future onboard.

This 2008 class may be small, but I feel comfortable with the early enrollees and the committments we have so far. If there's one position that concerns me (and I hope will be addressed prior to NSD) it's cornerback. We need more depth at that position, and I don't see a CB receuit on our list so far.

As far as the "Big 3" down here are concerned we're probably in the best shape out of the three. We will be fine in the long run.


DolFan 316 said...

Wasn't the Gators recruiting class last year ranked number one by just about everybody? Whatever happened to all those guys?

Wanny's previous classes at Pit were considered at least very good so this one doesn't surprise me at all. The guy's got personality, he just doesn't have a clue.

It would serve Dick Satan right if he had a lot of players express interest, then commit elsewhere at the last minute.

EXTREMELY hard to believe top players would even consider Notre Lame, let alone go there. I thought this was supposed to be the Information Age, but these guys somehow don't realize what a joke the Irish are. Why?

Once Zook stops getting top players, the Rose Bowl blowout loss will be seen by their fans as the good old days. I love it!

Anonymous said...

JJ, We got Janoris Jenkins (4 star), Dee Finley-Safety (4 star) and of course Will f'n Hill (5 star). We are still in the lead for TJ Bryant and Brandon Harris, both 4 stars out of Miami. The class may be small but we are addressing needs. And Dolfan, those players in last years class were on the field. Look at our defense. Major Wright, Joe Haden, Jacques Rickerson, Carlos Dunlap, A.J. Jones, Brandon Hicks, Justin Trattou, Torrey Davis. On offense you got the Pouncey twins, Aaron Hernandez, Maurice Hurt. There were more but did not get playing time so hopefully they redshirt those guys and we come in next year with some EXPERIENCE!

JJ Gator said...

Indeed we are addressing critical roster needs right now, Anon. Meyer knows which positions need ot be fortified on the depth chart; thus the emphasis on defense in this year's class. With the remaining slots left I'd like to see our staff try to get a CB or two to commit; this position definitely needs to be reinforced.

Urban Meyer is smart and has the best interests of this team at the forefront; Zook may have an uncanny ability to recruit but given the situation we're in right now I don't see that he really did anything that special when he was here. Sure we hear all the crap about "Meyer won with Zook's recruits" (which isn't true since part of the 2006 NC team was recruited by both Meyer AND Steve Spurrier), but he did leave some positions on the depth chart rather thin which many overlook.

Experience is one of the best teachers, and hopefully our freshmen learned a LOT during this past season, know what to expect, and realize what it's going to take to kick it up to the next level.

It never hurts to plan for the future too; that's why I made the comment about trying to being another top-notch QB in right now given the fact that Tebow will be an upperclassman in 2008. It's better to have this team be prepared for transition than be put in a dicey situation as we were last season. We made the best of things, but I'd rather we not be put in that same predicament again as far as our roster goes.

SMQ said...

Re: Alabama's class and the "Top 100," Saban has commits from four of Rivals' Top 100, all in the top 60 and two of them in the top 30. I haven't compared them, but it's hard to believe the Scout list is that different.