starting already oneill.....lol
[size=8pt]Feb. 7 is getting closer and closer, and coaches are now totally focused on securing the best classes they can. Here are the 10 prospects yet to verbally commit who can make a good class great:
1. Joe McKnight (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian)
ESPN 150 rank: 1
Joe McKnight has a busy January ahead in deciding what school he'll attend.
Not allowed to take official visits during the season by his high school coach, the most dynamic player in the 2007 class has some decisions to make and not a lot of time to make them. McKnight began his official visit tour this past weekend at Ole Miss. Expect a visit to USC, Arkansas, Miami and Texas. When I spoke to McKnight last week, he was torn over Texas or Miami in terms of where to visit, and Alabama and new coach Nick Saban might have his ear as well. With LSU being so close, there is no need to officially visit the Tigers. Notre Dame is out of the mix. Expect McKnight to make his official announcement during the seven-hour national signing day extravaganza on ESPNU.
2. Noel Devine (Fort Myers, Fla./North Fort Myers)
ESPN 150 rank: 5
The best pure runner in this class is a high-risk, high-reward choice for any team which chooses to pursue this much-maligned, high-profile back from south Florida. While he has already chosen to attend prep school (many say Milford, we are not sure Hargrave isn't out of the picture) to make up ground academically and qualify, expect him to sign a national letter of intent anyway. Florida, Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, West Virginia and Nebraska are vying for an opportunity to cross their fingers and hope he makes it. If he does, look out. We just hope he doesn't go down as only a high school football legend who never makes it, that would be a shame.
3. Terrance Toliver (Hempstead, Texas)
ESPN 150 rank: 7
This guy could end up being another Dwayne Jarrett, only faster. It looks as if he has narrowed his choices down to just two schools: Florida and LSU. I believe he already knows where he is going but just wants to make sure. Whether it's the Tigers or Gators, they both could use his services with top performers from each squad departing. He fits in really well in both offensive schemes and has the mental and physical capacity to play as a freshman.
4. Michael McNeil (Mobile, Ala./Davidson)
ESPN 150 rank: 8
For months, McNeil had narrowed his choices down to three schools: Florida State, Auburn and Alabama. The Crimson Tide's holding pattern put a damper on McNeil's view of them, and just prior to Nick Saban's hire, the Tide were out and Tennessee, who has been hot lately on the recruiting trail, snuck into the picture. However, don't be shocked if McNeil at least takes the time to officially visit Alabama just to make sure he educates himself as best as possible. I believe he will end up at Auburn, where there is a significant need at safety and he can get on the field as a freshman. Tennessee is a distant third behind FSU.
5. Marvin Austin (Washington, D.C./Ballou)
ESPN 150 rank: 10
Florida State fans hope Marvin Austin will be dancing in Tallahassee next season.
While Florida State may not land Michael McNeil, don't expect them to lose Marvin Austin. He officially visited Tennessee, USC and Illinois in the fall, and Butch Davis has gotten into the picture as of late at North Carolina, but the Tar Heels are a long shot at this point as are the Trojans. With an official visit to Tallahassee coming in late January, expect the Seminoles to make their usual late-stretch run.
Austin is a load, and by his own admittance, he needs work on technique and hand use, but the tools are all evident and he has a great motor, which is what I love about him the most.
6. Carlos Dunlap (North Charleston, S.C./Fort Dorchester)
ESPN 150 rank: 15
Dunlap may be the one player in this class who did not receive a ton of national recognition but could make a huge impact early on in his college career. While he had to cancel his official visit to Tennessee this past weekend, he had already taken an unofficial to Knoxville in the fall. Expect this to be a two horse race between national champion Florida and in-state, upstart South Carolina. In my opinion, while Dunlap isn't as smooth or speedy as Martez Wilson, he is bigger, more physical and more capable of playing the run at this stage. If the Gamecocks land him, you could be looking at them having a top-three overall recruiting class come signing day, barring any defections.
7. Allen Bailey (Darien, Ga./McIntosh Academy)
ESPN 150 rank: 20
This monster of an athlete is the first guy you want getting off the bus, that's for sure. Bailey has already visited Florida but has three big official visits coming up this month with Alabama, Georgia and Miami. This would be a big pick-up for Alabama; Bailey has liked them all along, and now that Saban is on board, it could pay huge dividends. A likely defensive end at the college level, Bailey has certainly shown the versatility to play linebacker as well.
8. Antwain Easterling (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern)
ESPN 150 rank: 23
On a team loaded with 2008 prospects, Easterling was the star and led his team to the state championship game. In my opinion, he is the most underappreciated back in this class. With an outstanding blend of power and speed, Easterling has all the tools to shine at the next level. With only one official visit to Rutgers under his belt, Easterling has a lot of work to do this month. Miami and Florida are strong forces, and Easterling has a solid relationship with Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon.
9. Christian Scott (Dallas/Skyline)
ESPN 150 rank: 24
If he qualifies, Dez Bryant could see the field right away next season.
With only one official visit left to be taken by Scott, a decision should be expected soon or on signing day. Texas will be the last to make their pitch, and he has already visited LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. At this time, there is no clear-cut leader, and don't be surprised if he decides to play out of state. Scott is a playmaker, and what many don't realize is how good he is on offense at wide receiver.
10. Dez Bryant (Lufkin, Texas)
ESPN 150 rank: 29
The Texas version of Arrelious Benn, only Bryant is bigger. When I saw this kid in person when we did his game on ESPN2, he was a monster. The only reason he has not been getting a ton of attention is because it is questionable whether or not he will make it this year academically. Regardless, he is a rare blend of size, power and speed, and LSU, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Miami are all in the mix. He has rescheduled his visit to Oklahoma State for late January and has Texas Tech before that. [/size]
expect the Seminoles to make their usual late-stretch run.
They always gotta say that crap and get my hopes up..
..hopefully the coaches are there that actually get the players to progress, instead of regress. If that finally happens at the QB position then life will be good.