August 13, 2009

Ask Jamie: A&M class attracts attention

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
Aug 6: 'Canes losing ground in backyard?
July 30: What's left for the Wolverines?
July 24: WVU class best in the Big East?
Are you surprised Texas A&M is off to a great start in recruiting? Does Georgia have a realistic shot at Tampa athlete Christian Green? How good is Trey Burton and will he play quarterback at Florida? What about Virginia wide receiver Justin Hunter, who is headed to LSU? What's going on at Colorado with the Buffs' recruiting efforts?

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

Jamie's Mailbag
Getting their share

Are you surprised at the success that Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman and his staff have had in recruiting this cycle? Does this recruiting success change your opinion about Sherman's chances to be successful in College Station?

-- Jack in Dallas
While many may be surprised at this A&M recruiting class, I am not. Quite honestly, this is how the Aggies always should recruit. Why? Because there is just way too much talent in Texas.

Sure, most of the bigger-name players - at least of late - typically sign with Texas. Then you have teams such as Oklahoma and LSU that always sign some big-name talent from Texas. And it seems as if every team in the nation - from Florida to USC to Georgia to Michigan to Ohio State - likes to cherry-pick in the state.

Texas produces around 400 FBS recruits each season, so there is plenty to go around. So even though the competition is fierce, A&M should be able to hold its own in-state.

The Aggies have done that this recruiting season. They have beaten some top-notch programs for offensive linemen Jake Matthews of Missouri City Elkins and Luke Joeckel of Arlington High and linebacker Corey Nelson of Dallas Skyline. A&M also has commitments from running back Ben Malena of Cedar Hill (Texas) High, athlete Jarrett Fobbs of Shreveport (La.) Huntington, offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi of Allen (Texas) High, defensive tackle Ivan Robinson of Longville (La.) South Beauregard and wide receiver Nate Askew of San Antonio James Madison, among others.

All told, Sherman and his staff have 20 commitments and find themselves with the No. 3 recruiting class in the Big 12 and No. 7 overall.

UGA back in Tampa

I just read your update on Christian Green from Tampa Catholic. Does Georgia really have a shot at landing him?

-- Steve from Atlanta
It would be something if the Bulldogs could land another big-time recruit from Tampa, which they did last recruiting season with quarterback Aaron Murray and wide receiver/tight end Orson Charles.

Green, a four-star athlete, is this year's Russell Shepard. Green, like Shepard last year, is an electrifying player with the ball in his hands. He has size (6 feet 2/200 pounds) and exceptional speed and quickness. As a freshman, he had 10 touchdown receptions before moving to quarterback as a sophomore and junior.

I saw Green play receiver in a seven-on-seven event in March, and he more than held his own against some great cornerback competition, including LaMarcus Joyner. He will play quarterback for Tampa Catholic again this season.

Green told me Monday that he did want to officially visit Georgia before he makes a decision. I always have believed that if a prospect visits a school, that school has a chance. Green has made two unofficial visits to Athens since the spring.

I think the Bulldogs are in it, but I also think they trail Florida State and Florida. He has family ties to Florida State, as his cousin, E.G. Green, starred at wide receiver for the Seminoles in the 1990s. Aside from that, FSU desperately needs a playmaker such as Green.

But the Gators have a real shot here. First, Green has been to Florida seven times since the spring. His high school teammate, offensive tackle Chaz Green, likely ends up in Gainesville. Those two are close and would love to play together at the next level.

And no one should fall asleep on hometown USF. His father played basketball for the Bulls and works for the university. In addition, USF is the lone school that likes Green at quarterback, although Green has said he wants to play wide receiver in college.

So where does he end up? Conventional wisdom says Florida State. But why hasn't he pulled the trigger yet? Something tells me this is much closer than people think, and I believe the longer the recruitment plays out, the better the odds for the Gators, Bulldogs and Bulls, though I still would give FSU a slight edge at this point.

Green says he would like to make a decision sooner rather than later, so look for a possible commitment in September.

Life after Tebow

Is Florida quarterback commitment Trey Burton the real deal? Nobody ranks him that high. My thinking is that Florida didn't get a high-profile quarterback recruit in the class of 2010 because it has to show a willingness to adapt the offense to the personnel after Tim Tebow leaves.

-- Jerry from Phoenix
I see Trey Burton as an athlete who could play quarterback, receiver or safety in Gainesville. He has good size, speed and athleticism. I am not sold on Burton as a quarterback because I question his arm strength. He needs to work on his velocity and mechanics. At the same time, there have been quarterbacks who have run the spread that didn't have a big arm, though I think he has the most upside at safety.

Florida has tweaked its offensive system before under Urban Meyer. By no means was Chris Leak the runner coaches wanted him to be in 2006, but the coaches adapted that season and Florida ended up winning the national title. Thus, we already have seen this staff adapt their offense based on the personnel they have on campus.

How high for Hunter?

How high in the rankings can LSU wide receiver commitment Justin Hunter climb? When I look at his highlights, he looks like an A.J. Green clone. I truly believe he's as good as, if not better, than any receiver in the country and absolutely a five-star prospect.

-- Patrick from New Orleans
I believe LSU landed a big-timer in Hunter (6-4/172), from Virginia Beach (Va.) Ocean Lakes. In the most recent Rivals250 he came in at No. 150 overall and No. 21 among receivers. Hunter also sits at No. 4 in that state.

Hunter is an outstanding talent, with great size and hands. He's aggressive in the air and looks as if he has extraordinary concentration and hand-eye coordination. Hunter can make the tough grab in traffic and also has the ability to make people miss in space, though I would question his top-end speed.

At the National Underclassmen Combine in early April, Hunter took home the Combine King Award with his 4.43 shuttle time, 4.57 40-yard dash and the highest vertical jump in the combine's history. He jumped what would be the equivalent of touching a point 11-3 off the ground.

Hunter also is one of the state's top basketball players and also plans in participating in track (the high jump) at LSU.

With continued improvement and a big senior season, he could climb up the recruiting charts. How high is something that can't be answered right now.

Blue-chip Buffaloes?

Colorado hasn't had that one "wow" recruit this year. Is there anyone on the horizon who could be that type of player? And how would you rate the players that have committed so far?

-- Tim from Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Buffaloes have just four commitments, but I wouldn't look at that as a bad thing. Teams have a low number of commitments for a reason; they either want to see what transpires this fall or they have a low total to give out.

Some other potential commitments include running backs Darryl Fields and James McConico, wide receiver Paul Richardson, offensive lineman Kaiwi Crabb, defensive linemen Dontrell Onuahu, Dominique Henderson and Chidera Uzo-Diribe and athletes Kenny Bell and Harold Mobley.

Jamie Newberg is a recruiting analyst for Click here to send him a question or comment for his mailbag. is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
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