July 9, 2009

Ask Jamie: Can Texas land top class?

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
July 2: Top-notch talent at DE
June 25: Slow start for the Seminoles?
June 18: Bulldogs make a recruiting run
Where do things stand right now with the team rankings? Who sits inside my top five? What teams just missed?

Who are some surprises and who can we expect to be at the top come National Signing Day 2010?

Who is the team to beat for cornerback Darius Robinson?

We answer those questions and more in this week's mailbag.

Jamie's Mailbag
Killer classes

With National Signing Day way down the road, who would you rate as the top five classes so far?

-- Jeff in Columbus, Ga.
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Keep in mind we are in the middle of a rankings overhaul, and once that is completed later this month, Rivals.com will unveil the initial Class of 2010 team rankings. But here's how I see things as of July 8, 2009.

1. Texas. Like the sun rising every morning, the Longhorns' recruiting machine wielded its usual magic out of the gate, getting 19 pledges in a six-week period starting the weekend after National Signing Day. Mack Brown's program has five Rivals100 commitments and 13 players in the Rivals250. This is a balanced class, and they all are from the Lone Star State. Can Brown and the Longhorns go wire-to-wire with the top class in the nation? That will be decided by the decisions of running back Lache Seastrunk, wide receiver Darius White and defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat. All hail from Texas and each currently is the top prospect at his position.

2. Florida. The Gators changed recruiting tactics and came out aggressively. Never before have they entered July with 15 commitments. Florida has six Rivals100 commitments, and 10 commitments are in the current Rivals250. This class is loaded with speed and athleticism. Look for Urban Meyer and his staff to make a serious push for the top recruiting class in the nation.

3. Alabama. Alabama finished with the nation's top recruiting classes in 2008 and 2009. Can the Tide do it again in 2010? You bet, especially after their blazing start. There are three Rivals100 commitments.

4. Oklahoma. You have to love OU's offensive line group, and overall, the Sooners have three of the top 100 and seven of the top 250 prospects in the nation. There is no question that Oklahoma has a chance to catch the Longhorns; if that happens, OU could end up No. 1 overall.

5. LSU. Coach Les Miles and his staff consistently finish at or near the top of the recruiting rankings, and it will happen again for the class of 2010. The Tigers have commitments from seven four-star prospects, and you can bet that more are on the way. The Tigers have done this with a nice blend of in-state and out-of-state recruiting.

Other teams off to impressive starts are Georgia, Stanford, Notre Dame, Penn State and Michigan.

The Bulldogs have been on quite a summer tear. Georgia has a dozen commitments six from in-state and six from Florida.

Stanford has almost two dozen commitments, from 15 states. The class has balance, with a commitment at every position. This quick start will allow the staff to get a great jump on 2011.

The Fighting Irish are sitting on 11 commitments, including a dynamite five-star defensive prospect in Chris Martin. How the Irish perform on the field looms large for Charlie Weis and this recruiting class.

Michigan again is trying to load up on skill-position players, with commitments from quarterback Devin Gardner, athlete Cornelius Jones and wide receivers Ricardo Miller and Jerald Robinson.

And don't forget about USC. We all know the Trojans will finish somewhere near the top of the recruiting charts.

You can also expect teams such as Tennessee, Auburn, South Carolina, Ohio State, Illinois, Miami, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State and UCLA to make some serious recruiting noise. And there will be surprises. BYU and Washington and BYU are off to terrific starts, while Syracuse is starting to come on.

Star potential

When will defensive end Chuka Ndulue of Dallas Jesuit be rated?

-- Jim from Austin, Texas
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I have watched some film on Ndulue and I feel he's a high three-/low four-star prospect right now. I also feel he could move up the rankings with a big senior season.

Ndulue already has committed to the Oklahoma Sooners. He's only played two seasons he missed a good portion of the 2008 season with ankle injuries and hasn't scratched the surface of how good he can become. He has the size, speed and quickness to one day become a dominant defensive end.

Current leader

Where do you think Atlanta Westlake cornerback Darius Robinson ends up?

-- Anonymous
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Today, I think he favors Miami, and I have felt the 'Canes were the team to beat since they offered.

Having said that, it's really tough to say simply because he hasn't been to all the schools that currently sit in his top five (Miami, Clemson, UCF, Stanford and Kentucky).

Robinson has visited Miami and UCF, and will trip to Clemson this weekend. He seems high on the Tigers, and a good trip could propel them to the top.

He has said nothing but great things to say about UCF, and David Kelly is recruiting him for the Knights. They are the dark horse here.

You can't count out Stanford, either. Robinson wants to check the Cardinal out, but I wonder if distance will play a factor. I think it's important for his family to be able to attend his games.

Kentucky is in the mix and he plans on visiting the Wildcats sometime this fall. Plus, I think he really would like to play for Joker Phillips.

His is an intriguing recruitment, to say the least.

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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