November 20, 2008

Ask Jamie: NU's RB search goes south

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
Nov 13: Making the Rivals100 cut
Nov 6: Will Vols salvage top 10 class?
Oct 30: South Florida loaded in 2010

Can Nebraska pull a running back or two from the Sunshine State? Just how good is North Carolina State's newest commitment, Jarvis Byrd? What kind of impact can Cierre Wood make at Notre Dame? How will Florida State close? And can wide receiver Logan Heastie get into the Rivals100?

Those questions are answered in this week's mailbag.

Jamie's Mailbag
RB search

Can Nebraska land running back Al-Terek McBurse?

-- Mike from Omaha, Neb.
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This one is interesting because Al-Terek McBurse had a big senior season. McBurse, from Winter Springs (Fla.) High, averaged 12 yards per carry and rushed for more than 2,300 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 games. In the season finale, McBurse rushed for 241 yards and three scores against Casselberry (Fla.) Lake Howell to break the Seminole County single-season rushing record, formerly held by Marquette Smith.

McBurse's productive season makes him one of the hottest running backs in the Sunshine State in a year loaded with some big-time running backs. Heading into the season, McBurse had just a few offers. But as the season progressed, the offers really started to come in. He has made one official visit, to Nebraska earlier this month. McBurse is scheduled to visit Purdue this weekend and Kansas the first weekend in December.

Although McBurse won't name a leader, he was impressed by his visit to Nebraska. He loved the offensive scheme, how they utilize the running backs and the coaching staff, especially coach Bo Pelini.

If there is one team to keep an eye on, it's Georgia Tech. McBurse always has liked the Yellow Jackets. Another possibility is USF. But right now it's safe to say Nebraska has a great chance to pull McBurse out of Florida.

The Huskers also are in the mix another Florida running back, Tampa Gaither's Jarvis Giles. He had been a Tennessee commitment, but Phil Fulmer's dismissal caused Giles to decommit. His commitment may come down to South Carolina, where he has had an official visit, and Nebraska.

Sizing up Byrd

North Carolina State just picked up a commitment from cornerback Jarvis Byrd, of Pahokee (Fla.) High. What do you think of him?

-- Tommy from Wilmington, N.C.
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I have thought for some time that Byrd might have been the most underrated prospect from Florida. Byrd is a playmaker with speed, athleticism and aggressiveness. The thing that hurts him the most is his size; he's listed at 5 feet 10 and 173 pounds, and he looks like a small 5-10. But I think he has a chance to be a very good player for NCSU.

Irish impact

How will Cierre Wood affect the 2009 Notre Dame team?

-- J.V. from Sherman Oaks, Calif.
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There are many elite running backs in the Class of 2009, and there's no doubt Wood from Oxnard (Calif.) Santa Clara is one of the best. I think he will do well in Notre Dame's offense because of his athleticism and versatility. He's the type of back who can play on every down. He can run outside and between the tackles, and also is a receiving threat out of the backfield.

More important, Wood is a playmaker that should really help energize the Irish offense. Barring injury, he should have a chance to make a big impact in South Bend.

FSU filling up

Who are some recruits you think will commit to Florida State in the coming weeks?

-- Vonte from Athens, Ga.
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Things have been a little quiet on the Florida State recruiting front for some time, at least in terms of commitments. The Seminoles are sitting on 18 commitments and the No. 5 overall ranking, but they haven't received a commitment since late July

So, what's going on in Tallahassee? First, the school is awaiting word from the NCAA regarding the pending scholarship reductions for this class. It could be a loss of two or three scholarships, and officials hope to hear by the end of this month or early December.

Right now, I think FSU could add two or three more recruits to this class. Florida State is still in on some big-time prospects, such as wide receivers Andre Debose, Ricco Sanders, and Kendall Kelly, tight end Orson Charles, defensive backs Branden Smith, Jawanza Starling, Dre Kirkpatrick, and Jonathan Scott, and defensive tackle Kyrhi Thornton. They are trying to turn defensive lineman Olivier Vernon from Miami while trying to keep defensive end Ed Stinson away from Alabama and LSU. The best possibilities right now are Starling, Charles, Scott and possibly Thornton. Stay tuned.

Rivals100 receiver?

It has been said by some analysts that wide receiver Logan Heastie has the highest ceiling in this class. Is there a chance of him getting back in the Rivals100?

-- Phil from Miami
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Logan Heastie is one of the better receivers on the East Coast in this class, but I wouldn't say he has the most upside. I think Rueben Randle is head and shoulders the top receiver in the '09 group.

But Heastie, a West Virginia commitment from Chesapeake (Va.) Great Bridge, has good size (6-2/192) and speed. He can go up and get the ball, and is physical after the catch. He also can stretch the field.

Personally, I think Heastie is on the bubble to be a top-100 prospect. Typically, you have about 30 to 40 guys or so fighting for those last 10 spots on that list, and I would put him in that group.

Jamie Newberg is a recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. Click here to send him a question or comment for his Mailbag.




 

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