January 29, 2009

Ask Jamie: Tracking the tight races

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
Jan 22: How well did Kiffin recruit?
Jan 15: Reaching five-star status
Dec 11: Can Shepard be LSU's QB?
Where is linebacker Manti Te'o leaning? Will athlete Marsalis Teague stick with Florida or end up at Alabama or Tennessee? What's the latest with linebacker/defensive end Jarvis Jones and quarterback Raymond Cotton? And just how good is defensive end Shayon Green?

Dive into this week's recruiting mailbag and find out.

Jamie's Mailbag
Tracking Te'o

What will Manti Te'o do in the end? Do my Fighting Irish really have a shot?

-- Chris from Chicago
Notre Dame certainly is in the hunt, along with UCLA and USC. Te'o is scheduled to make his final official visit this weekend, to USC.

You have to believe USC and Notre Dame are the teams to beat, and I like the Irish's chances. Te'o and his folks love Notre Dame's academics and he could play early in South Bend. In fact, his parents prefer Notre Dame, even visiting the school last month on their own.

But never dismiss the Trojans when it comes to recruiting. And UCLA still is in this thing. One thing to consider is that the Bruins have a commitment from running back Dalton Hilliard, a Te'o teammate at Honolulu's Punahou School.

I am surprised BYU is out of this one.

Today, I think Te'o chooses Notre Dame, but that could change with a great visit to USC.

Down to the wire

What's the latest with Jarvis Jones?

-- Scott from Marietta, Ga.
While I still believe Florida is the team to beat, there are two schools I would keep a close on eye here Georgia and USC, especially the Trojans.

USC coach Pete Carroll had a great visit with Jones last week, and Jones really likes new Trojans defensive coordinator Rocky Seto. Jones also is enamored with the idea of playing for USC.

I wouldn't dismiss the home-state Bulldogs, either.

Jones, from Columbus (Ga.) Carver, is scheduled to visit LSU this weekend, then make his decision on National Signing Day. Texas also is in the mix.

Worth watching

What's going on with Marsalis Teague?

-- Jay from Ocala, Fla.
This is yet another prospect who could de-commit from Florida.

Teague, from Paris (Tenn.) Henry County, committed to the Gators in the late fall. He could play on either side of the ball, as a receiver or a cornerback. Florida likes him on defense. Alabama coaches like him as a slot receiver. Tennessee likes him as an athlete.

Florida's young talent at cornerback is hurting the Gators in recruiting. Florida finished the season with seven scholarship cornerbacks and all return, though two will be seniors this fall; starters Joe Haden and Janoris Jenkins will be a junior and sophomore, respectively. That depth has taken the Gators out of the Greg Reid sweepstakes.

I also think distance is a factor with Teague, as Tuscaloosa and Knoxville are much closer to his hometown. There are some close to Teague pushing him to Alabama, and there obviously is in-state pressure to play in Knoxville.

Teague visited Tennessee this past weekend and was rumored to be at Alabama the previous weekend. Teague spoke with all three head coaches Wednesday. Watch out for the Vols here.

Cotton picking who?

Where will Raymond Cotton go? Do you think he ends up at Kansas State?

-- C.J. from Kansas City, Mo.
Cotton, a quarterback from Fort Meade (Md.) High, was an early commitment to Auburn, but he opened things back up and now it's a three-horse race among Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Kansas State.

He has visited all three schools officially and word is the Rebels are the team to beat.


How good is Miami commitment Shayon Green?

-- Dan from Tampa, Fla.
I have thought for a while that Green, a defensive end from Tifton (Ga.) Tift County, was one of the more underrated prospects from Georgia. He originally committed to Purdue. Green is a tad undersized (6 feet 2/225 pounds), but he's quick off the edge, shows good athleticism and could turn into a good defensive end for the 'Canes.

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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