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May 20, 2009

Whispers: Sorting out the top quarterbacks

Quarterbacks were the focus for Rivals.com recruiting analysts this week as some of the nation's best were in action in different parts of the country.

While it's hard to get a read on where many of the uncommitted quarterbacks are headed, we've been digging around trying to find out.

Steamboat Springs (Colo.) High's Austin Hinder hasn't been talking much about recruiting, but numerous sources say California will be hard to beat for his services. UCLA could make a run and Notre Dame also is in the mix, but right now Cal seems to have a solid edge.

Ballwin (Mo.) Parkway West's Tyler Gabbert has offers from Missouri, Iowa, Indiana and Colorado State, but sources say the offers from Kansas and Nebraska stand out and it could end up being a two-team race between those schools.

BYU is the team to beat for Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline's Jake Heaps. While Heaps is interested in Tennessee, LSU, California and Washington, sources say his Mormon faith will lead him to BYU. Heaps wants to make his decision in June, and if it isn't BYU, it would be a stunner to a lot of people.

Some sources say Tennessee is No. 2 for Heaps, and the Vols have a good shot at landing Lakewood (Calif.) High's Jesse Scroggins. But there is competition from LSU and Washington. Despite numerous West Coast offers, Scroggins has family ties in Tennessee, as his mother's side of the family lives in Nashville. But he was excited about his recent offer from LSU, while Washington also has offered teammates Kevin Anderson, Justin Utupo and Dion Bailey.

Florida State has moved up on the list for Miami Central's Jeffrey Godfrey, although he doesn't appear to be in a hurry to make a decision. USF could be the team to beat, and Oregon and West Virginia also are in the mix.

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian's Nick Montana is down to seven schools Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford and Washington. Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Stanford seem to be the top four. LSU could get into the hunt if Montana decides to visit. Alabama already has two quarterbacks committed, although Blake Sims is more of an athlete than quarterback at the next level. Montana hasn't been to LSU on a visit, and it's doubtful he'll try to help the rebuilding effort at Washington, based on his desire to play for a national title contender. Montana will make his decision in either June or July. Stanford seems to be gaining momentum.

Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's Robert Bolden had narrowed his list to five schools a few weeks back, but things have changed now that one of his favorites, Virginia Tech, has commitments from two quarterbacks. Now Bolden's list of top schools is Penn State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Oregon and Louisville, with Penn State, Michigan State and Northwestern considered the front-runners. Vanderbilt is emerging as a dark horse.

Virginia was one of a few schools that felt it was in good shape for Cincinnati Moeller's Andrew Hendrix, but the recent offer from Tennessee has everyone wondering if the Vols have taken the lead. Hendrix hopes to narrow his list soon.

Memphis (Tenn.) University School's Barry Brunetti is starting to blow up, with recent offers from Penn State, Purdue and West Virginia. Sources say West Virginia, Penn State and Mississippi State are the three teams to beat, but there will be other offers. Oregon and Miami have shown recent interest.

El Cajon (Calif.) Valhalla's Pete Thomas seems to favor Arizona State in a big way, but a couple of other offers could change that, mainly from USC or UCLA.

New Orleans Edna Karr's Munchie Legaux recently received an offer from Baylor, and the Bears could be the team to beat. He will make a decision this summer. He's also high on Tennessee, West Virginia and a few others.


Speed demon

Everyone who has watched running back Corey Brown from Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara on film knows he is fast. But following a torn medial collateral ligament in the third game of his junior season, some wondered whether he would lose a step. Those looking for answers got them recently when Brown dominated the Pennsylvania District 12 Outdoor Track Championships.

The 6-foot, 171-pound Brown won the 100 meters with a time of 10.3 seconds and captured the 200 meters in 21.3 seconds. He also anchored his 4x100 relay team to a first-place finish.

Brown already has offers from almost every major program in the Big Ten, Big East, ACC and SEC, but these recent times could bring interest from numerous others. And while Brown is far from a decision, sources say Florida, Ohio State and Rutgers seem to be slightly ahead of the pack, followed closely by Florida State, Clemson, Penn State, West Virginia and Alabama. Brown hopes to narrow his list to eight to 10 schools over the next few weeks and hit numerous camps this summer.


Delayed decision

Miami Booker T. Washington wide receiver Ted Meline was all set to commit to Georgia this Friday, but sources say the Bulldogs are slow-playing Meline, who is a Rivals100 member.

Transcripts seem to be the public reason why things have been delayed, and Meline now won't decide until either later this summer or after his senior season. And while it is true that some schools are waiting on his 10th grade transcripts from Davie (Fla.) Westlake Prep, sources say Georgia and others also want to see a healthy senior season from Meline.

Meline played in two full games last season for Westlake Prep because of a serious high ankle sprain and only recently has returned to form. Tennessee and Oregon are schools that seemingly would take a commitment from Meline right now (Oklahoma State also could be on this list), but it sounds as if he'll wait until December or January to make his decision. If he shows he's fully recovered and is still high on Georgia by that time, he still could end up with the Bulldogs.


Barbecue time

Michigan is gearing up for its "BBQ at the Big House" event coming up at the end of May, and it's a creative way to get top prospects on campus. Last year, it was the event that led to the commitment of wide receiver Bryce McNeal, and while that pledge obviously didn't stick, it is the kind of get-together that could push Michigan ahead for a few prospects and even lead to a surprise commitment or two.

Among those expected to attend include committed linebacker Antonio Kinard, defensive backs Latwan Anderson and Cullen Christian, linebacker Ken Wilkins, offensive linemen Skyler Schofner and Andrew Donnal, running backs Tony Jones and Andre Givens, defensive ends Jibreel Black and Marcus Rush and wide receivers Brandon Ifill and Andrew Carswell. This is, of course, in addition to the majority of the top prospects in the state of Michigan.


Final six for Forbes

Since winning the linebacker MVP award at the Penn State NIKE Camp a few weeks back, recruiting has picked up big-time for Frederick (Md.) Thomas Johnson star Nick Forbes. Schools such as Ohio State, Michigan, Miami and others have expressed interest, but Forbes has narrowed his list to a final six and doesn't appear to need any further offers.

Forbes, who wants to study engineering, is down to California, Duke, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia, in no order. Sources say West Virginia, where his sister goes to school, and Virginia Tech are the teams to beat. There is no timetable.


Etc.

Cincinnati Elder tight end Alex Welch is expected to commit to Notre Dame by the end of the week. Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Cody Riggs reportedly wants to commit to Notre Dame, but longtime Aquinas coach George Smith isn't big on his players making such early decisions and wants his players to see numerous schools before deciding. Cape Coral (Fla.) High cornerback Spencer Boyd is a heavy Notre Dame lean, but a recent Miami offer could put a twist on things.

It sounds as if Waco (Texas) Midway safety Ahmad Dixon could be making the switch from Texas to another Big 12 program. But it won't be Oklahoma or Texas A&M. Dixon is rumored to be close to de-committing from the Longhorns for Baylor. A few prospects have de-committed from Texas under Mack Brown, but never to Baylor.

Cambridge (Mass.) Buckingham Browne & Nichols tight end Blake Barker has nearly 20 offers and appears to be wide open, but sources say Stanford, Boston College and Florida are the teams that pique his interest the most. Academics clearly will play a role for Barker, and Stanford and BC could be slightly ahead of the Gators.

The friendship between Pelham (Ala.) High linebacker Jake Holland, who has committed to Auburn, and Bessemer (Ala.) Jess Lanier 'backer LaDarius Owens is good news for the Tigers. Owens is being double-teamed by Auburn super-recruiters Trooper Taylor and Tommy Thigpen, and the Tigers look to be in good position for Owens. It looks as if it could come down to an Auburn-Alabama battle.

Olney (Md.) Good Counsel cornerback Louis Young committed to Stanford in December, then had second thoughts and de-committed from the Cardinal. But after a recent trip to Stanford for a "Junior Day," Young has re-committed to Stanford. Will it stick? Young said he is 100 percent solid and that Stanford is his mom's No. 1 choice, both good signs for coach Jim Harbaugh. Still, some folks on the East Coast think this is far from over, and Young will continue to be recruited by many.

Yazoo City (Miss.) linebacker Taurice King might end up getting some out-of-state offers, but right now sources say there's little doubt he's staying in state and will choose between Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Detroit Cass Tech cornerback Dior Mathis is expecting an offer from UCLA in the next week or so, but the bigger news is a potential offer from Ohio State. The Buckeyes have hinted to Mathis that an offer could be coming, and it would push Ohio State near the top of his list with Miami, Michigan and Florida. Mathis almost committed to Miami in September, but sources now say Michigan is the team to beat.

Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio has more than 20 offers, and Florida seems close to adding to the total. If the Gators offer, they will certainly be in the mix, but the teams recruiting Kouandjio the hardest are Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, California and Connecticut. Kouandjio wants to narrow his list to 10 or so schools by the end of the summer.

No one is really sure why West Monroe (La.) High defensive end Jordan Allen is waiting to commit, as numerous sources say there's little chance of anyone other than LSU getting his signature. But he has offers from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Michigan and others.

Ohio State could be the latest big offer coming for McDonough (Ga.) Henry County wide receiver Markeith Ambles. The Buckeyes were in to see Ambles recently and said an offer should be on its way in the mail. Sources say that right now, USC and Florida are the teams to beat, with Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee and some others also in the mix. One team to keep an eye on is West Virginia.

Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith defensive tackle Evan Hailes could make his college decision by the end of June. Right now, the teams in the hunt are Tennessee, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State and LSU. Hailes will visit Virginia Tech in early June, then head to Tennessee in the middle of June. If he feels comfortable enough at one of those two schools following the visits, a commitment could follow. If not, further visits are in store. Tennessee still sounds like the ultimate destination if all goes well on his visit, but the Hokies have made a nice push.




 

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