March 26, 2009

Ask Jamie: Who's California's top prospect?

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
Mar 19: Vol staff makes quick impact
Mar 16: West Coast battle for 5-star?
Mar 4: Is Johnson a five-star WR?
Who's the top prospect in California is it Malcolm Jones or someone else? How good is Jordan Hicks, and who is the team to beat in his recruitment?

Can Texas close with Lache Seastrunk, Darius White or Jackson Jeffcoat? What are the needs for Alabama this recruiting cycle?

We delve into those questions in this week's recruiting mailbag.

Jamie's Mailbag
No clear-cut No. 1

There doesn't seem to be a consensus No. 1 prospect from California in the Class of 2010. Who do you think is?

-- Pat from Pasadena, Calif.
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I think you nailed it there isn't a consensus No. 1 from California in this class yet.

We just released our initial Rivals100 and Westlake Village Oaks Christian running back Malcolm Jones comes in at No. 11 overall and for now is the top prospect in California. Oakland Bishop O'Dowd linebacker Chris Martin and Moreno Valley Rancho Verde athlete Ronald Powell come in at Nos. 12 and 13, respectively. Running back D.J. Morgan from Woodland Hills Taft is No. 17, and athlete Anthony Barr from Los Angeles Loyola comes in at No. 19.

There is no California player in the top 10, yet there are five between 11th and 19th. There's not much separation there, which explains the lack of a consensus top California player.

I favor Barr. There are coaches who think he could play any one of six positions. Barr, who is 6 feet 4 and 230 pounds, is a running back at Loyola, and that's what he wants to play in college. When he does play defense, Barr is a safety. But with that combination of size, speed and athleticism, I think one day he could become a super defensive end.

Another player to watch is Chula Vista Eastlake linebacker Tony Jefferson. He's currently No. 42 overall, but I could see him moving up with a good senior season. He's a tad small (6-0/196) for the position, but he can run and hit as well as anyone in the nation at the position.

Hicks heading south?

Could you give us a little insight on West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West linebacker Jordan Hicks' abilities and recruitment?

-- Doug from Plano, Texas
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Texas seems to be Hicks' favorite at this time, with Ohio State a close second. His coach recently said he thought Florida and USC were in the thick of it as well. If I were a betting man, I would say the Buckeyes will be the team to beat in the end.

Hicks is the nation's No. 16 overall prospect. He has good size (6-2/210) and is an explosive defensive player who plays downhill. He's aggressive and physical, and he always seems to get through traffic and find the ball.

Lone Star five-stars

Texas is a recruiting hotbed and has a lot of talent across the board this year. Of the state's three five-star recruits (running back Lache Seastrunk of Temple High, wide receiver Darius White of Fort Worth Dunbar and defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat of Plano West), whom do you see signing with Texas?

-- Pat from Austin, Texas
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At this point, Texas is in it with all three, and it looks as if the Longhorns have the best shot at White (6-4/205), the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation. Indeed, it appears the Longhorns are the team to beat.

Jeffcoat (6-5/230) is the No. 1 defensive lineman in the country, and he has offers from coast to coast. You would have to assume Texas is in the hunt.

Seastrunk, the nation's No. 2 player, could be headed to LSU. He is a cousin of LSU signee Michael Ford and is good friends with Thibodaux (La.) High's Trovon Reed, the top wide receiver in Louisiana who could be headed to the Tigers. Reed also is taking a strong look at Texas and USC, and the Trojans also will be a player for Seastrunk.

The Longhorns, who have 21 commitments, will make room for any of that trio and will wait as long as they have to.

Position specific

What positions will Alabama pursue for its 2010 class?

-- Michael from Birmingham, Ala.
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Coach Nick Saban and his staff have set the bar high with back-to-back top-ranked recruiting classes. While that certainly is an outstanding feat, rankings are secondary to filling needs. For the Class of 2010, look for Alabama to go hard after big-timers at quarterback, defensive back and linebacker.

Currently, Alabama has three commitments wide receiver Keiwone Malone of Memphis (Tenn.) Mitchell, offensive lineman Austin Shepherd of Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge and running back Jalston Fowler of Prichard (Ala.) Vigor.

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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