December 18, 2008

Ask Jamie: Will Monte Kiffin recruit?

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
Dec 11: Who's winning in SEC recruiting?
Dec 4: UM moves in on Florida's best
Nov 27: Will losses hurt LSU recruiting?
Rueben Randle is the No. 1-ranked prospect overall in the 2009 class, but where would he rank among the great receivers in the 2008 class?

What role will Monte Kiffin play in recruiting at Tennessee?

How will Alabama make its recruiting numbers work? And what is left on the board for Ohio State?

We break it down in this week's recruiting mailbag.

Jamie's Mailbag
Monte's recruiting role

What will Monte Kiffin's role be as a recruiter at Tennessee?

-- Mike from Alcoa, Tenn.
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At this time, I don't know if that has been determined.

He will be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defensive coordinator through the end of the season. Meanwhile, his son, Lane, the Vols' new coach, is flying around recruiting, assembling a coaching staff, evaluating the program and so forth.

We do know that there will be no bigger recruit this year than Monte for Lane. Monte Kiffin is one of the greatest defensive coordinators in NFL history, and he obviously wants to end his brilliant coaching career with his son.

Monte Kiffin's name alone should attract many more defensive recruits for the Volunteers, and from what I understand, there is a good chance Monte will be fairly active in recruiting. How about this: What if he recruited the Tampa/Orlando area, a swath of the state where he is extremely well-known? It would be a brilliant move on Tennessee's part. There are a ton of prospects in that area of Florida, and Kiffin recruiting those cities would make life a lot more difficult for Florida, FSU, Miami, UCF and USF.

Comparing classes

Who would you rank the highest among A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Rueben Randle if they were all in the same class?

-- Jim from Atlanta
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That's a tough question and a little bit unfair simply because we have seen Green and Jones have sensational seasons as true freshmen. There's also another receiver from the 2008 class that needs to be in this discussion, Southern Miss' DeAndre Brown. He put up even better numbers than Green and Jones this season.

Last season, I thought those were the top three receivers in the nation and that Brown deserved to be in the discussion with Green and Jones.

This year, Randle currently is the nation's No. 1 prospect. Though he projects as a receiver, Randle played quarterback this season and led his Bastrop (La.) High team to the state semifinals.

Randle is a difference-maker, like the trio mentioned above. He can stretch the field and also can beat you with the ball in his hands.

Where would he be in the mix with Green, Jones and Brown? We will have a better indication in a few weeks, after he plays wide receiver in the U.S. Army All-American Game on Jan. 4 in San Antonio.

Numbers crunch

You said last week that Alabama would sign 25-plus prospects. How can the Tide do that with just nine scholarship seniors?

-- Vestor from Jackson, Miss.
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In all my years of covering recruiting, I never have been asked this many times about one team's recruiting numbers. I think you get to that magic number (25) because of a few things.

First, there is the likelihood that a few players enter the NFL Draft early. Second, there could be a prospect or two who end up as grayshirts. There will be attrition, as there is every year at every school. There also could be a prospect or two who may have to go to prep school or even junior college.

Any way you look at it, Saban and most other coaches across the country massage the roster and get aggressive with recruiting in terms of pushing that overall number.

The Buckeyes' board

How would you assess Ohio State's class and what's left on the board for the Buckeyes?

-- Skip from Bedford, Ohio
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In the team recruiting rankings, Ohio State sits at No. 3 overall and No. 1 in the Big Ten.

I love what the Buckeyes have done with their back seven on defense with linebackers Dorian Bell, Storm Klein, and Jordan Whiting and defensive backs Corey Brown, C.J. Barnett, Dominic Clarke, and Jamie Wood. Ohio State went to Florida to get a big back in Carlos Hyde and an elusive back in Jaamal Berry. Duron Carter has a chance to have a great career in Columbus at receiver, and Reid Fragel is a mammoth tight end. Plus, there is a trio of quality offensive linemen headed to the Buckeyes.

Ohio State is at 24 commitments, and expect the Buckeyes to sign at least 27 and as many as 29.

What's left for Jim Tressel and his staff? Offensive tackles Marcus Hall and Morgan Moses, cornerbacks Mike Edwards and Jayron Hosley, quarterback Tajh Boyd, wide receiver Marlon Brown, defensive lineman Corey Adams and tight end Dion Sims. Hall appears headed to Columbus. After that, it's almost anyone's guess.

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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