Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on topics in a roundtable format.
What state might be a surprise sleeper in producing a load of elite talent in 2013, much like Missouri was in 2012?
Mike Farrell: Delaware could be the place although many of the kids at Red Lion Christian such as Kenny Bigelow and Khaliel Rodgers could be heading to a school in Maryland so we'll see. If the Red Lion guys do head to Maryland with their former head coach, then Maryland will get a huge boost in talent. Virginia isn't really a sleeper state, but it's as deep as it's ever been this year.
Adam Gorney: Arizona has a pretty solid crop of players this year out West and it could have multiple players in the top 100 when all is said and done. Lakeside (Ariz.) Blue Ridge linebacker Chans Cox is the top-rated player in the state right now but he's being pushed by some quality talent. Tempe Marcos De Niza cornerback Priest Willis, Chandler Hamilton cornerback Cole Luke, Phoenix Brophy Prep teammates Devon Allen and Tyler Bruggman and Phoenix Mountain Pointe offensive lineman Kenny Lacy are all outstanding prospects.
Josh Helmholdt: In the Midwest it has to be Indiana. The Hoosier State currently has six four-star prospects, the same number it had in the classes of 2011 and 2012 combined. The talent in the state in unusually strong in 2013. Indianapolis is once again the epicenter, but Fort Wayne has a strong pool of talent as well led by the nation's No. 34 overall player, linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Keith Niebuhr: Well, I really think Tennessee has an excellent senior class for 2013. Lot of four-star players. Lot of good skill position kids with major offers. Being in the same region as Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina, this state doesn't get a ton of credit for producing good football players. But it should. Especially this year with players such as Jalen Ramsey and Cornelius Elder, a pair of strong defensive back prospects leading the way. Major colleges will be spend a lot of time in Tennessee this cycle.
Chris Nee: After a disappointing year in Tennessee in 2012, it appears the 2013 class in The Volunteer State is pretty deep. Six prospects from the state earned four-stars in our initial release and already 20 prospects claim offers. The talent at the top in the state also seems to be superior to a season ago.
Brian Perroni: I don't think it would qualify as a sleeper since the state annually produces a ton of talent but Georgia is absolutely loaded in the class of 2013. The top two prospects in the country hail from the state and I believe there are something like 10 Georgians in the Rivals100. Then you have a guy like Vonn Bell from the state who has seen his stock soar as of late.
Heading into March, which event are you most anxious to cover and scout the prospects?
Mike Farrell: For the month of March it would be the Rivals.com/VTO Camps that are exclusive to Rivals.com in South Carolina and North Carolina (NC is April 1). Last year's North Carolina camp was a home run with five stars D.J. Humphries and Jonathan Bullard showing up and four-stars such as Germone Hopper, Nick Dawson, Carlos Watkins, Jody Fuller and others. The South Carolina camp wasn't quite as strong because it was our first year in the state, but I expect this year to be very good. The Rivals.com/VTO Camps are becoming a huge brand.
Adam Gorney: I always think the Los Angeles NIKE Camp is a great starter for the camp season because it's loaded with talent and really gives us a jumpstart heading into the later spring and summer. This year should be no different. It's really one of the first times to see all the high-profile players in the next class go against each other in one-on-ones. Last year at the Los Angeles NIKE Camp we discovered Aziz Shittu and some other top-notch players and hopefully this year is the same.
Josh Helmholdt: Any event that allows me to see top 2013 and 2014 prospects is valuable and one I look forward to.
Keith Niebuhr: Probably the Rivals/VTO camp this March in Georgia. A year ago, there was so much talent on hand it was scary. This time, I expect an equally strong turnout. The Peach State is loaded at just about every position and this event will give me a chance to see many of the South's top prospects at the same time.
Chris Nee: It isn't until April, but I always love covering the Miami Nike Football Training Camp. It is just a deep collection of prospects from arguably the best area in America for football talent. While it is rare that an unknown emerges at the camp, plenty of players have made their name and earned numerous offers with great performances at the event. Outside of typically mediocre quarterback play, the skill position plays are top-notch at the event.
Brian Perroni: I'm looking forward to this year's NIKE Camp and Elite 11 events in Dallas. I've already talked to prospects from Louisiana to Missouri that plan on being in attendance. With no NIKE Camp in Baton Rouge this year the Dallas event should draw even more talent than usual. As it is an exceptionally strong year for quarterbacks in the region with five in the Rivals250 and several others on the cusp, the Elite 11 event should be fun to watch as well.
Which school normally does the best job getting what it needs out of junior days?
Mike Farrell:Texas without a doubt but they seem to be taking a more patient approach to things this year. The Longhorns usually have double-digit commitments by now but they are going a little slower and I think that could be a good thing for them. This year obviously Michigan and Florida hit early home runs so they could be starting a great tradition for them.
Adam Gorney: There's no doubt it's Texas. In most years, the Longhorns clean up on their junior day and basically get most of their recruiting class in one day. It's pretty extraordinary to see them be so successful with in-state players. It's almost like if a Texas offer is coming, those kids are ready to commit right on the spot. It didn't happen that way this recruiting cycle but traditionally Texas has done an outstanding job wrapping up a lot of top players early.
Josh Helmholdt: Year in and year out, the team I always expect to be making news with its junior day is Texas. The Longhorns have set a precedent where the top kids know this is when they are likely to receive their offers from the Longhorns, and it has gotten so big a lot of the top kids set their recruitments around the event. If you're a top kid in the state of Texas and Austin is where you want to play your football, you're heading into Texas' junior day knowing your accepting that offer if it comes through.
Keith Niebuhr: Historically, Texas. But this year, Michigan, Alabama and Florida stand out. The amount of talent these programs have landed in recent weeks is ridiculous. Will all those commits stick? Who knows. But right now, each has to be thrilled with how well things went during their respective junior days.
Chris Nee: Historically, Texas has been the school that loads up during junior day events. Florida though, under former Texas assistant coach Will Muschamp, is definitely showing signs of handling the process in a very similar manner. Florida's junior day last week was as productive of one as I can remember for a school in the Southeast. Florida loaded up with six prospects including five four-star prospects.
Brian Perroni: Texas always has two junior days in February and the first one is usually very, very exclusive with the coaches planning to offer pretty much everyone in attendance. The Longhorns usually do a pretty good job of inviting positions of need to the first junior day and manage to put together the bulk of their class at that time.