November 25, 2009

Ask Jamie: Leader emerging for Green?

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
Nov 18: What will Elam do?
Nov 11: Who is the top junior in Florida?
Nov 4: Irish chasing top talent

Is Georgia the new team to beat for Tampa, Fla., athlete Christian Green? Are Florida State, Florida and USF still in the mix for this Rivals100 player?

What's the latest with defensive end prospects Chris Martin and Jackson Jeffcoat? Will Martin stick with Notre Dame or end up with Oklahoma or Florida? Can Houston pull Jeffcoat, or is it Texas, USC or someone else?

How will Connecticut do in recruiting this season?

All this in this week's mailbag.

Jamie's Mailbag
Green to Georgia?

Is it true that Christian Green could be headed to Georgia? How is it that my Bulldogs are having so much success in the Tampa area and in Florida?

-- Shawn from Atlanta
Georgia has done very well in the Sunshine State. Last year, the Bulldogs signed three big-time recruits from Florida. This year, they already have seven commitments from the state.

The three headliners last year were two Tampa Plant stars in quarterback Aaron Murray and tight end/wide receiver Orson Charles, and wide receiver Rantavious Wooten was a steal from Belle Glade. In the Class of 2010, Georgia has gone south to land offensive lineman Brent Benedict, cornerbacks Derek Owens and Nickell Robey, defensive end B.J. Butler, safety Marc Deas and linebackers Deon Rogers and Demetre Baker.

Certainly, Georgia has changed up strategies. The Bulldogs are putting more of an emphasis on recruiting the state of Florida, in part because of John Lilly. Lilly, the Georgia tight ends coach for the past two seasons, spent 1998-2007 at Florida State, where he was recruiting coordinator many of those years. Lilly is an underrated recruiter, and he knows how to connect with Florida kids.

The Bulldogs are not done in Florida. One player, in particular, they could close with is Green, from Tampa Catholic. Green, an outstanding athlete, projects as a receiver.

Early on, Florida State was the team to beat for Green. His cousin is former FSU star receiver E.G. Green. His mother also graduated from Florida State. The Seminoles were a heavy leader for some time.

But somewhere along the line, things changed. Many say it was when Florida State began to struggle this season. But you can almost point to the summer, when Green kept moving back his decision date. Here we are at Thanksgiving, and there still hasn't been a decision from Green.

In that time, several teams made moves for Green. He has been up to Gainesville to see Florida on 10 or so occasions since the spring. Green has been to Athens for both unofficial and official visits. Then there are the hometown USF Bulls. Green's father, Hiram, played college basketball for USF. Needless to say, Green is very comfortable with Jim Leavitt and the USF football program.

So you have four teams. Which one will it be? Many close to Green say he's genuinely confused as to what school to choose. Each program has its pros and cons.

A few sources still feel Georgia could be the team to beat. Coach Mark Richt was E.G. Green's offensive coordinator while he was in Tallahassee. And Green's mother also feels very comfortable sending her son to play for Richt and Georgia if he chooses not to go to FSU.

But I wouldn't exactly rule out Florida State. You have all the reasons mentioned above. In addition, Green has an older brother, Brandon, who is currently at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. What would happen with Christian if Brandon were to play his remaining college football at Florida A&M? Well, I would suspect there would be a good chance the Green brothers both would play in the city of Tallahassee.

USF has offered Brandon Green, who projects as a defensive end. But there is speculation that offer could be contingent on Christian Green coming to the Bulls as well. So you can't count out USF just yet.

Green, who's Tampa Catholic team plays Lake Highland Prep in the second round of the playoffs on Friday, will make another unofficial visit to Florida this weekend. It was originally scheduled to be an official visit but that changed Monday night.

Maybe the Gators will make a move. Chances are Florida won't. This will likely come down to Georgia and Florida State, but I wouldn't fall asleep on USF just yet.

Playing for dad?

Do you think Houston has a realistic shot for Jackson Jeffcoat?

-- Craig from Cleveland, Texas
Jeffcoat is a five-star defensive end prospect from Plano (Texas) West High School. Jeffcoat, the No. 2-rated defensive end in the nation, could probably name his school - he's that good. He likes Texas, Houston, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Florida and USC. In fact, Jeffcoat has already officially visited both Arizona State and Texas.

I do think Houston has a chance, but I would refer to it more as a slim chance rather than a realistic chance. His father, Jim Jeffcoat, is the defensive line coach for the Cougars and played his college ball for the Sun Devils.

But at the end of the day, I think he decides between USC and Texas. Those have been the two rumored leaders for quite a long time. With the Longhorns having a great season (they will play for the national championship if they beat Texas A&M on Thursday and Nebraska in the Big 12 title game), I would give them a slight edge.

Parting ways

I have read that Chris Martin is still interested in taking visits to other schools. What are the chances that he ends up in South Bend next year?

-- Jim from Greensboro, N.C.
Jim, I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think things look good for the Irish at this point.

First, you have a program in turmoil and a potential coaching change looming. That could seal the fate with Martin and Notre Dame.

But, to be honest, I think he could have been out the door regardless of the year Charlie Weis had in South Bend. Martin, who played his senior year of football in Colorado, is a five-star defensive end prospect who committed to the Irish some time ago. But since the season began a few months back there's been much speculation he could end up elsewhere.

Martin travels to Florida this weekend for an official visit with the Gators. Earlier this month he tripped to Oklahoma to see the Sooners. Chances are, at least right now, that he signs with either Oklahoma or Florida. Assuming the Irish make a change, maybe Notre Dame makes a splash hire. But recruiting is about relationships, and building one in such a short time will be awfully difficult to do. But you just never know.

Right now, it doesn't look good for Notre Dame.

Building momentum

With the big win over Notre Dame this past weekend, are any kids showing any interest in UConn. Can the Huskies land some big-time prospects?

-- Kenny from Bridgeport, Conn.
It's hard to believe Randy Edsall has been the Connecticut coach for 11 seasons. He has quietly done a terrific job with the Huskies' football program, going 54-41 and guiding them to three bowls over the past five seasons. They could be headed for another postseason game this year with one more win.

Best of all, Edsall's program leads the Big East in graduation rates. He has won a bunch of games with recruiting classes that hovered anywhere between 65 (2007) and 103 (2002) since 2002 and have never been inside the top 50 overall. That goes to show you class ranking in not always a great indicator for potential success or failure at every school. Edsall has surrounded himself with an excellent coaching staff that does a tremendous job of evaluating prospects, developing players and maximizing talent.

UConn is currently sitting on only 10 commitments in the Class of 2010. Again, this group is led by kids flying a bit below the radar. A trio of three-star players are headed UConn's way in cornerback Gilbert St. Louis, linebacker Yawin Smallwood and defensive end Reuben Frank.

Look for the Huskies to sign somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-22 prospects come National Signing Day. Will any of those be of the four- or five-star variety? I would probably say no at this point, but we will have to wait and see. But I do know that there are a handful of three-star kids - such as linebacker Jayrone Elliott, defensive back Taylor Mack and running back Dejor Simmons - who are looking hard at the Huskies.

Jamie Newberg is a recruiting analyst for Click here to send him a question or comment for his mailbag. is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
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