March 19, 2009

Ask Jamie: Vol staff makes quick impact

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
March 16: West Coast battle for 5-star?
March 4: Is Johnson a five-star WR?
Feb 26: Another recruiting power in Ala.?
Tennessee ended up closing with five-star prospects Bryce Brown and Janzen Jackson; what does this mean for the Volunteers, the SEC and college football?

What does Notre Dame have to do to become a top-10 recruiting power?

Who's the player with the most upside on the LSU commitment list? Does Michigan have a legit chance to sign Jeff Luc, who may be the nation's top linebacker?

We'll answer these questions in this week's recruiting mailbag.

Jamie's Mailbag
Speedy recovery

Now that Bryce Brown has signed with Tennessee, what do you think of the job the new staff did in Knoxville? And how much more competitive does this staff make the SEC?

-- Bill from Atlanta
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I have said over and over that Lane Kiffin's staff would make Tennessee a recruiting superpower. But I didn't expect it to happen this quickly.

I didn't think there was any way the Volunteers would turn wide receiver Nu'Keese Richardson from Florida, any way they would turn defensive back Janzen Jackson from LSU, any way they would even be in the hunt for Brown.

There just wasn't enough time.

But the Vols turned Richardson away from the home-state Gators, turned Jackson away from the home-state Tigers, then signed the most prized recruit in the class of 2009 in Brown.

The Vols now are ranked No. 10 overall in the national team recruiting rankings. That's amazing. A coach's first class always is the toughest to put together, no matter who you are or where you are, simply because recruiting is about building relationships. Kiffin and his staff had three short weeks to do what coaches in the SEC have been doing for months recruit and build relationships with prospects, parents and coaches. Yet they still closed strong, which proves what I have been saying for three months.

We already have seen the effect defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is having on recruits. Defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron always has been regarded as one of the nation's finest recruiters and was instrumental in landing Jackson. Running back coach Eddie Gran was the man when it came to landing Richardson and had a big hand with offensive coordinator Jim Chaney in getting Brown.

Linebacker coach Lance Thompson was the Rivals.com national recruiter of the year in 2008 while at Alabama. Quarterback coach David Reaves and wide receiver coach Frank Wilson also are good recruiters.

You put this all together and you have a great recruiting staff which means that the SEC just got a little tougher, if you can imagine that.

Pivotal season

What are your expectations for Notre Dame's 2010 class along the lines of this year's top-20 class or a move into the top five?

-- Rock in South Bend, Ind.
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I think it all depends on what Notre Dame does on the field this fall. A good season for the Fighting Irish and there's no telling how good this class will be; a bad season and it could be the exact opposite.

There is no question the pressure is on Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis. This is his make-or-break year, and a good showing on the field will go a long way toward a top-10 class in South Bend.

Top Tiger

What LSU recruit from the past two recruiting classes has the biggest upside?

-- Shane from Brandon, Miss.
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That's a difficult question because LSU has recruited so well. Most of the Tigers' signees have big-time upsides. Players such as quarterback Russell Shepard, wide receiver Rueben Randle and quarterback Jordan Jefferson have enormous ceilings.

A player I love who has received little publicity is defensive lineman Bennie Logan from Coushatta (La.) Red River. He has size (6 feet 3/272 pounds), speed, quickness and good athleticism. To me, Logan is one of the biggest sleeper prospects in the entire nation. I think he has a chance to be one of the top players from this class and is grossly underrated.

Landing Luc

What do you think Michigan's chances are of landing five-star prospect Jeff Luc?

-- Michael from Rochester, Minn.
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Right now, I think Luc a linebacker from Port St. Lucie (Fla.) Treasure Coast is staying in-state.

Luc (6-1/240) told me last week that he grew up a Miami fan and that he recently attended one of the Hurricanes' spring practices. But some feel his parents don't want him in Coral Gables, which would certainly help Florida and Florida State. While I still think Miami is in a good position, you can't discount the Seminoles or Gators.

On a side note I met Luc at the big 7-on-7 event in Tampa last weekend. He just may be the most put-together linebacker I have ever seen at the high school level. He looks like the football version of the Incredible Hulk. Luc, a five-star prospect, has an NFL body right now.

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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