February 19, 2009

Ask Jamie: More top talent out of Alabama?

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
Feb 12: Best back in 2010 class?
Jan 29: Tracking the tight races
Jan 22: How well did Kiffin recruit?
Just how well did Ole Miss recruit this past year? What's the state of Alabama look like for the class of 2010?

And just how good are prospects D.J. Jones, Keenan Allen and William Gholston?

We answer those questions in this week's recruiting mailbag.

Jamie's Mailbag
Down year?

How do you see the talent in the state of Alabama this year? The past two years, the state has produced several five-star kids. Do you see any possible five-star prospects for the 2010 class?

-- Adam from Smiths Station, Ala.
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Alabama has produced some great prospects in the past two seasons. Wide receiver Julio Jones and offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, both from Foley, Ala., were the top prospects at their positions and ranked No. 4 and No. 2, respectively, overall nationally in their classes. Meanwhile, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, linebacker Nico Johnson, athlete Burton Scott and offensive tackle Tyler Love were other five-star prospects from the state in the past two classes.

That's six five-star prospects from Alabama in the past two recruiting classes; only three states have produced more in the same time frame Florida (10), Texas (nine) and California (eight).

As for the 2010 class, it looks to be a good year, but at this point I don't see any five-star players. Leading the way are running backs Corey Grant, Jalston Fowler and D.J. Howard, cornerback DeMarcus Milliner, defensive end Craig Sanders, wide receiver Jeremy Richardson, safety Jarrick Williams and linebacker C.J. Moseley.

Rebels hit on some big ones

What are your thoughts on the 2009 Ole Miss recruiting class?

-- Richard from Natchez, Miss.
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Coach Houston Nutt and his staff closed as well as anybody in the country over the final week or so to finish with the No. 18 class in the nation.

Here's a team that had a good season on the field, and when you add in the coaching change at archrival Mississippi State, you had the dynamics for a stellar year in recruiting. But going into the final month of the recruiting cycle, it looked as if the Rebels would be somewhat of a disappointment. Then again, it's not how you start but how you finish, and you have to love the way the Rebels closed.

The Rebels signed 37 players (Troy actually signed more: 40). Some won't make it academically and some will count toward last year's class. Regardless of the numbers, this is a program on the rise that flexed its muscles and won some big recruiting battles when it mattered the most.

Two-way talent

How good is Keenan Allen from Greensboro, N.C.?

-- Eric from Charlotte, N.C.
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Allen is a fantastic athlete who can flat out do it all for Greensboro (N.C.) Northern Guilford. He plays wide receiver and running back on offense and in the secondary on defense. Allen (6 feet 2/182 pounds) has good size, good speed, great quickness and vision. He can go up and get the football and has outstanding body control and concentration. Allen also can catch the short pass and make people miss in the open field.

Defensively, he can play free safety or cornerback. Allen is good in run support, closes on the ball quickly and can be physical. He shows good cover skills at corner.

Allen will be one of the top prospects from North Carolina. He's an outstanding talent who already has big-time offers from in-state schools North Carolina State, Duke and Wake Forest and out-of-state programs Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, California, Oregon, Penn State and West Virginia.

Under the radar?

What do you think of running back D.J. Jones from Denison, Texas? I think he's way underrated nationally.

-- Brandon from Denison, Texas
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Jones is a good back, and I would agree that's he's flying a little under the radar. But it's still February!

Jones can be a different player on each down. On one play, he's shifty and elusive. On the next, he can run with power.

Jones certainly looks to be one of the better backs from the Lone Star State. So far, teams such as Texas Tech, Oregon, Arkansas and Kansas have offered.

Rare size

Just how good is William Gholston [a defensive end from Detroit]? Do you think he has a shot at being a five-star prospect?

-- Steve from Grand Rapids, Mich.
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Gholston is a good-looking athlete with size and good speed. At 6-7 and 235 pounds, he is one of those rare, athletic big men who are difficult to find. He mainly has played linebacker for Detroit Southeastern; he will be a strong-side end at the next level and will have to learn to play with his hand down.

No question he'll be one of the top-rated players in the Midwest and a mid- to high four-star prospect. Teams such as Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, Illinois, Miami, Notre Dame and Wisconsin already have offered him a scholarship.

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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