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June 25, 2009

Ask Jamie: Slow start for the Seminoles?

Jamie Newberg is a football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags:
June 18: Bulldogs make a recruiting run
June 4: Orr makes a big impression
May 28: Cowboys raise profile
What's up with Florida State's slow start? Should Seminoles fans be worried? Can Cincinnati become an in-state threat to recruiting power Ohio State? How's Michigan State doing? Who can Texas close with? And is Nebraska making enough noise in the Big 12?

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

Jamie's Mailbag
'Noles in neutral?

I know Florida State had a good week in recruiting, but my 'Noles seem like they are off to a slow start compared to what's going on with everyone else. What do you think?

-- Wayne in Atlanta
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If you are a Florida State fan I wouldn't be concerned at this point of the recruiting "season". National Signing Day is seven-plus months away.

Still, with commitments flying from coast to coast, things had been slow in that department in Tallahassee. Perhaps the biggest reason is the lack of big-time talent this year in the Tallahassee area, especially if you compare it to the past few years.

Going into mid-June, FSU had a trio of commitments: defensive end Darious Cummings of Titusville (Fla.) Astronaut, offensive lineman Ed Christian of Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes and safety Chad Abrams of Lakeland (Fla.) Kathleen. Then, the Seminoles had a big day Monday, getting three more commitments: defensive tackle Tavaris Barnes of Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast and wide receiver De'Joshua Johnson and defensive back Merrill Noel of Pahokee (Fla.) High.

Florida State will have one of the better recruiting classes in the ACC. The 'Noles are off to a solid start with these six, and I expect them to do well between now and February. A key could be what they do with some high-end in-state prospects. They have a great chance of landing three of the top four players in the state in cornerback Lamarcus Joyner of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, linebacker Jeff Luc of Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast and wide receiver Christian Green of Tampa Catholic.

The Seminoles have had top-10 classes in each of the past two years, and there's no reason FSU shouldn't finish in the top 10 again.

Buckeyes beware?

What are your thoughts about Cincinnati's recruiting class so far, and do you think the Bearcats are a potential recruiting threat to Ohio State in Ohio?

-- Jordan in Columbus, Ohio
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The Bearcats are off to a big start with 11 commitments; 10 are from Ohio, including five from Cincinnati. The in-state commitments linebackers Preston Brown of Cincinnati Northwest and Solomon Tentman of Cincinnati Roger Bacon, defensive back Arryn Chenault of Fairfield High, tight ends Alex Smith of West Chester Lakota West and Brad Harrah of Marion Pleasant and offensive tackle Kevin Schloemer of West Chester Lakota West are good prospects with multiple offers.

Is Cincinnati a threat to Ohio State in the Buckeye State? No. Ohio State is one of a handful of teams that recruit on a different level, such as USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, Alabama, etc. I see the Bearcats becoming a threat when they beat Ohio State and teams such as Michigan on the elite Ohio prospects.

Surging Spartans

What do you think of the recent influx of commitments to Michigan State? And can Detroit Southeastern defensive end William Gholston become a five-star prospect by summer's end?

-- Richard from Detroit
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To me, the Spartans were one of the surprises with their 2009 recruiting class. As with Florida State, Michigan State isn't sitting on a large number of commitments. But of their six commitments, they have several big-name prospects, such as Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough of Traverse City (Mich.) St. Francis Catholic and, most recently, quarterback Joe Boisture of Saline (Mich.) High, who committed on Thursday.

Gholston is a high four-star prospect and one of the most coveted defensive line prospects in the nation. He likely will stay at that rating, at least through the early fall. Bullough is a big-time linebacker prospect with offers from coast to coast after racking up 249 tackles over the past two seasons.

There's also Mylan Hicks of Detroit Renaissance, one of the top-rated cornerback prospects in the Midwest.

Look for the Spartans to once again do well in recruiting.

What's left for the Longhorns?

Which top-tier prospects are still in play for Texas?

-- Todd from Dallas
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Coach Mack Brown and his Longhorns are sitting on 19 commitments, and the staff still is awaiting word on several big-name prospects, such as wide receiver Darius White of Fort Worth (Texas) Dunbar, defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat of Plano (Texas) Plano West and offensive lineman Jake Matthews of Missouri City (Texas) Elkins.

Temple (Texas) High running back Lache Seastrunk likely is headed out of state at this point; there is some speculation that the Longhorns are fine with that and are concentrating on the outstanding crop of in-state backs for the Class of 2011.

Another big name to watch is Dallas Skyline linebacker Corey Nelson, but at this point, he appears headed elsewhere.

Regardless of what happens with those prospects, Texas could receive no more commitments and still have another outstanding class.

Huskers back on big stage?

Is Nebraska starting to make noise in recruiting again?

-- Mo from Las Vegas
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Yes it is. For coach Bo Pelini's program to ascend back to the top of the Big 12, the Huskers have to recruit on another level, like Texas and Oklahoma.

The thing is, there is no let-up with the Longhorns and Sooners. Both schools recruit with amazing consistency, so programs such as Nebraska have to crank it up several notches in recruiting.

The Huskers have five quality commitments. Four are four-star prospects: quarterback Tyler Gabbert of Ballwin (Mo.) Parkway West, offensive lineman Andrew Rodriguez of Aurora (Neb.) High, cornerback Anterio Sloan of West Helena (Ark.) Central and wide receiver Keeston Terry of Blue Springs (Mo.) High.

If this class is any indication, Pelini's Big Red Machine is making some noise.

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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