April 9, 2009

Ask Jamie: BC's new approach to recruiting

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
Apr 2: Oregon's talent search heads south
Mar 26: Who's California's top prospect?
Mar 19: Vol staff makes quick impact
How will Boston College do in recruiting under new coach Frank Spaziani? What's the latest with Tennessee prospects James Stone and O.C. Brown?

Where will Jake Heaps land will he stay home and play for Washington? If so, how big will that be for the Huskies?

Who is Georgia targeting at defensive tackle? How good is Alabama commitment Chad Lindsay?

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

Jamie's Mailbag
Different approach

With coach Frank Spaziani now at the helm and a greater emphasis on recruiting, how do you see Boston College doing in this year's class? Can the Eagles land some of their top targets?

-- Jose in Miami
Spaziani will have a much different recruiting approach then former Eagles coach Jeff Jagodzinski. Spaziani enjoys the recruiting process and will be hands-on in recruiting. That is far different than Jagodzinski, and this approach should help BC, especially when you consider that Spaziani is a good recruiter who knows how to close.

As things stand right now, the Eagles are in the thick of it with many Rivals250 prospects, such as tight end Blake Barker, wide receiver Shakim Phillips, defensive ends Dominique Easley and Blake Lueders and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd.

Right now, BC has two commitments; one is from quarterback Joe Boisture, a four-star prospect from Saline (Mich.) High.

Tracking Tennessee linemen

Do you think Tennessee is the leader for top in-state prospects James Stone and O.C. Brown?

-- Robby from Memphis, Tenn.
I think Tennessee is in it with Stone and Brown, but they could be on the outside looking in. Stone, an offensive lineman from Nashville Maplewood, seems to be favoring Alabama and Vanderbilt. Brown, a guard from Memphis Manassas, loves LSU and Ole Miss, while Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are sleeper programs with him.

But remember that it's early. New Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin is making in-state recruiting the Vols' No. 1 priority, and you can bet his staff will do all it can to make up ground with these two prospects.

Heaps a Husky?

Where do you think quarterback Jake Heaps will go to school?

-- Chris from Seattle
At this point, I think Washington and BYU are the leaders for Heaps, who is from Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline.

I always have thought Heaps would stay on the West Coast, and if I had to pick one, I would favor the Huskies at this point, simply because they are the hometown team (Sammamish is a Seattle suburb). Heaps grew up a diehard Huskies fan; the Huskies are recruiting him as hard as anyone, and he has grown close to new Washington coach Steve Sarkisian and quarterback coach Doug Nussmeier.

It also could work out well for him in terms of playing time, with Huskies quarterback Jake Locker entering his junior season.

Key class

What are the chances of Washington putting together a top-25 class with its new coaching staff?

-- Ted from Fresno, Calif.
While I am not sure where Washington will end up in the final rankings, I do believe that the Huskies have a chance to do well in recruiting for several reasons.

Typically, when a school has a coaching change, you see a nice bump in recruiting in the new staff's first full recruiting "season." That's this year at Washington.

Sarkisian is a good recruiter, and he has a good staff. The Huskies just need to put things together on the field to get the ball rolling. You are going to see them recruit their home state hard, as well as the rest of the West Coast. That formula should work well.

A big key to the class is Heaps. He could give Sarkisian a huge boost in recruiting. The Huskies have seven commitments, including six from Washington; the big one so far is four-star defensive tackle Sione Potoae from Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes.

Targeting tackles

Georgia will be losing three senior defensive tackles after the 2009 season. Who are the Bulldogs targeting at this position?

-- Jeff from Atlanta
Georgia has a good shot at Jeffrey Whitaker and Garrison Smith. Smith, from Atlanta Douglass, also could play end, while Whitaker, from Warner Robins (Ga.) High, is a tackle all the way.

Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes standout Brandon Willis is another tackle/strong side end showing interest in the Bulldogs. Georgia also has offered J.R. Ferguson, from Frederick (Md.) St. John's Catholic Prep; he's another strong side end who could grow into a tackle. And since we're in April, new names at tackle could emerge for the Bulldogs.

Big upside

How can Chad Lindsay have more than 20 offers but not be ranked in the Rivals250?

-- Walter from Montgomery, Ala.
Lindsay, a guard from The Woodlands (Texas) High, committed to Alabama on Monday. He is one of the better offensive linemen in Texas.

The Rivals250 is not a list based on the sheer number of scholarship offers, and Lindsay was one of many on the "250 bubble." He needs to continue to work on his mobility, and his body structure is a slight concern. But those are things that can change in his favor with hard work off the field. Lindsay has good upside and should be a good interior lineman for the Crimson Tide.

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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