October 15, 2008

Schools move in on de-committed stars

The past week has seen four Rivals100 prospects de-commit: quarterback Tajh Boyd from West Virginia, wide receiver Bryce McNeal from Michigan and safeties Craig Loston and DeVonte Holloman from Clemson.

With Boyd, it simply came down to WVU's unimpressive offense under new coach Bill Stewart. Boyd, from Hampton (Va.) Phoebus, wants to throw the football and hasn't been impressed with the passing attack in Morgantown. Boston College, the first school to offer him, and Tennessee are the current leaders, but watch for other teams to get involved. Penn State, Oregon, Virginia Tech and Virginia have been in touch, and Boyd might take an unofficial visit to Virginia this weekend.

It will be interesting to see how things play out with Boyd and fellow Virginia four-star quarterback Kevin Newsome, from Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy. One thing is for sure: They won't commit to the same school. How BC, Tennessee and potentially Penn State and Virginia Tech handle this situation will be tricky. Newsome is expected to take an official visit to Boston College for the Eagles' game against Notre Dame on Nov. 8 and Boyd is hoping to visit BC after the season. Newsome reportedly will visit Penn State this weekend, when the Nittany Lions play Michigan. Penn State also asked Boyd to attend the game, but he is leaning toward a visit to Virginia. Tennessee is after both quarterbacks, while Virginia Tech seems to favor Newsome but don't want to get shut out on both.

McNeal, from Minneapolis Breck, will visit Colorado, California, Minnesota and Florida, with the Gophers holding the home-state advantage. The success Tim Brewster is having in his second season in Minneapolis has impressed McNeal, and inside word is that it will be hard to pull him out of his home state now. Some think Michigan still has a chance to get him back, but sources close to the program feel McNeal is gone.

Holloman, from Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe, and Loston, from Aldine (Texas) Eisenhower, still could end up at the same school, but it obviously won't be Clemson. The best bet? LSU. Loston is rumored to be heavily favoring the Tigers over Texas and Oregon, and will take an official visit to Baton Rouge on Nov. 8, when LSU plays Alabama. Loston tried to get Holloman to change his official visit date to LSU (Oct. 25, when the Tigers play Georgia) to Nov. 8, but that doesn't look likely to happen.

Holloman enjoyed his official visit to Tennessee, but he won't commit to the Vols while rumors regarding Phillip Fulmer continue to make the rounds. Holloman is taking an official visit to South Carolina this weekend, and the recent commitment of his teammate/good friend Stephon Gilmore to the Gamecocks certainly is an advantage for Steve Spurrier. But LSU is in the mix as well. Holloman would also like to hear from North Carolina, Florida and Alabama. It appears Florida won't be interested with Dee Finley, now at New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy, re-affirming his commitment, and Alabama is more interested in Loston. In fact, the Tide is hoping to make a push for Loston, but it might be too late.

So, where will each player sign? It's way too early, but a scenario where Boyd goes to Boston College, McNeal to Minnesota, Loston to LSU and Holloman to South Carolina would not be a stunner.

TALKING TACKLES

It long has been thought that the nation's No. 2 offensive tackle, Fayetteville (N.C.) Jack Britt's Xavier Nixon, would end up closer to home at North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson or South Carolina. But it appears Florida is in good shape with Nixon.

He took an official visit to Gainesville on Sept. 5 when the Gators beat Miami 26-3 and took an unofficial visit this past weekend to watch Florida destroy LSU 51-21.

Miami and LSU are the other not-so-close-to-home schools on Nixon's list, so it certainly doesn't hurt the Gators' chances that he saw them dominate each in person. That he already has taken two visits to The Swamp this season speaks volumes about his interest.

Nixon will take his next official visit to LSU on Oct. 25, when the Tigers play Georgia.

Meanwhile, the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle, Morgan Moses of Richmond (Va.) Meadowbrook, took an unofficial visit to North Carolina this past weekend. Moses already has taken an official visit to West Virginia, and hopes to visit LSU, Florida, Ohio State, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Tennessee before making a decision. Moses has stated that he'd like to go out of state, if possible, so Tech and Virginia aren't as high on his list as it might seem. Clemson was an option but has fallen off for obvious reasons.

THE TWO LOGANS

The two highly ranked Logans from Virginia, five-star tight end Logan Thomas of Lynchburg Brookville and four-star wide receiver Logan Heastie of Chesapeake Great Bridge, are on the minds of recruiters.

Thomas, the nation's No. 1 tight end, has been busy this season, visiting Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina and Wake Forest. He was supposed to take an unofficial visit to Clemson this weekend but has cancelled because of the coaching situation. He's going to take either an official or unofficial visit to Florida State the weekend of Oct. 24, when the Seminoles play Virginia Tech. Sources indicate that Virginia Tech and North Carolina remain high on his list and that Wake Forest has leapfrogged Virginia to make his top three.

While Heastie remains publicly committed to West Virginia, sources have confirmed that he's reached out to two schools to inquire about visits. Heastie and Boyd are friends and want to play together in college. While there is a chance Heastie sticks with his West Virginia pledge, Boyd clearly is done with the Mountaineers.

ETC.

• Paulsboro (N.J.) High safety/linebacker Gerald Hodges, a Rutgers commitment, has been rumored to be showing interest in Penn State; indeed, he could take an unofficial visit to Penn State this weekend for the game against Michigan.

• If Rutgers keeps all its early commitments, quarterback Tom Savage will be a big reason. Savage, from Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara, is solid to Greg Schiano and has been working overtime talking to current commitments to keep everyone together despite the Scarlet Knights' 1-5 start. A few Rutgers commits are looking around, including Hodges, offensive lineman Malcolm Bunche of Newark (Del.) High and tight end Malcolm Bush of Hackensack (N.J.) High. Bush was at North Carolina this past weekend on an unofficial visit, while Bunche reportedly is looking at Miami, Illinois, Maryland and Connecticut.

• Rumors about wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes of Philadelphia Northeast looking around after an early commitment to Tennessee apparently are false. Stokes is firm with the Vols unless a coaching change occurs.

• Schools looking for a tight end now know Brock Sanders is available after his de-commitment from Stanford. Sanders, from Duluth (Ga.) Northview, didn't want to wait until after his fall semester to be guaranteed admission to Stanford.

• Rumors have begun that five-star defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland of Lufkin (Texas) High could decide by on his college choice by the middle of November. He is said to be tiring of the recruiting process. LSU, Oklahoma and Texas are his finalists. Most sources believe Texas now is ahead.

• North Carolina should finish strong on the recruiting trail. Four-star cornerback Terry Shankle of Norwood (N.C.) South Stanly is a heavy UNC lean following another unofficial visit this past weekend. The Heels recently landed cornerback Josh Hunter of Charlotte Mallard Creek, who is one of the top sleepers in the country. UNC also is in good shape for linebacker Hawatha Bell of Matthews (N.C.) Butler, and wide receiver Jheranie Boyd of Gastonia (N.C.) Ashbrook and defensive end Sam Montgomery of Greenwood (S.C.) High are moving the Heels up their respective lists.




 

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