Ah, the drama of college football recruiting.
From the elaborate announcements to the decommitments, college football recruiting has taken on a life of its own, and has turned into a multi-million dollar industry.
Grown men follow the decisions of kids not a day over 18 and instantly pen them as the next superstar at their school. Even ten months away from National Signing Day 2010, in the doldrums of the offseason, college football fans are anxious as ever to see where the top players will end up.
So recruitniks, I took the top 12 players on the Rivals 100, and I am predicting where they will sign in February of 2010.
I am no insider or anything, but I have heard things about different players on where they are leaning too. Enjoy!
I'm seeing Pete Carroll coming into Minnesota and stealing this 6'8", 301-pound offensive tackle from the likes of Minnesota, Notre Dame, and Ohio State.
The behemoth lineman, who is also a basketball star, has been described as one of the best overall lineman prospects over the past 10 years.
Currently, Minnesota and Ohio State sit atop his list, but as soon as Carroll gets into the picture, Henderson likely will fall for the great weather of California, and the even greater chances of developing into a No. 1 pick in the NFL. This guy has the potential to start as a freshman—even at a powerhouse like USC.
Mack Brown will continue his in-state recruiting dominance in landing the versatile Seastrunk, who has run for 3,073 yards and averaged 10.2 yards per carry over his sophomore and junior seasons.
Seastrunk is very dynamic, and has Percy Harvin-like breakaway speed.
Although Texas has regularly landed the best of the best in Texas, Mack Brown has failed to land a top flight running back in the past couple of years. Brown has let the likes of Adrian Peterson, Jermie Calhoun, and Christine Michael slip through his hands and sign with rival schools.
LSU and Auburn are also in hot pursuit of Seastrunk, and many believe that he is leaning towards LSU at the moment. His cousin Michael Ford is a running back there and his friend and fellow prospect wide receiver Trovon Reed is seriously considering the Tigers as well.
However, Brown will go all out to keep Seastrunk in state, and he will add to the already monster class that is being assembled in 2010. Look for Seastrunk to develop into the next great running back for the Longhorns and to become a Heisman contender.
Mack Brown lands both the second and the third overall player to make a strong case for the recruiting national championship. Mack Brown will make a huge statement in landing this 6-4 205 wide receiver from Fort Worth. White averaged 26 yards per catch and added 16 TD receptions during his junior year. White is considered to be a heavy Longhorn lean at the moment, and Rivals has his interest in Texas as being "high." White has the ability to develop into another Roy Williams in being a huge target for future quarterback Garrett Gilbert as well as having top flight speed. The future of the Longhorns looks very bright with the possible additions of Seastrunk and White.
Much to my pleasure in being a Gator fan, Florida State has had some tough years recently. However, since I am a sportswriter, I can't be biased so I predict that Bowden and company land perhaps the missing link in 5'11", 205-pound Lattimore.
Lattimore would likely be the biggest recruit the Seminoles have landed in years. The 'Noles have lacked a top-flight back since the days of Travis Minor. Look for Lattimore to change this.
Lattimore is an every-down back who is about as balanced as can be in every aspect of the game. He comes from a winning program and won the MVP in the state title game after running for more than 300 yards.
Byrnes also has top defensive end prospect Brandon Willis, who is heavily considering the 'Noles as well.
The 'Noles also have sophomore defensive end Everett Dawkins, who graduated from Brynes. Lattimore recently hung out with Dawkins on a visit to Tallahassee and look for him to be key in luring Lattimore to become a
'Nole. Lattimore will be key in leading the Seminoles back to national prominence, and will contend for the Heisman Trophy.
Urban Meyer has been hot on the trail since winning his second national championship, already garnering 10 commits for the class of 2010. Matt Elam out of Palm Beach Gardens is looking to be the prize of this class.
The versatile athlete ran for 431 yards, had 776 yards in receptions and recorded 91 tackles in 2008. He lined up at running back, receiver, linebacker, and safety.
The 6'0", 205-pound Elam looks to play strong safety in college, as he will grow into the next great Gator and to continue the dynasty. Elam's verbal to Florida looks rock-solid, so unless Urban Meyer leaves (god forbid), Elam looks to be a lock to suit up in the orange and blue in 2010.
Mack Brown and the Longhorns will continue their in-state dominance with Jackson Jeffcoat, the son of former Dallas Cowboy Jim Jeffcoat.
The 6'5", 230-pound defensive end is a huge human being with excellent speed as well. He has a good get-off and plays with good pad level coming out of his stance. He does a good job of shooting his hands and creating and maintaining separation.
His favorites at the moment are Texas, Oklahoma, and LSU and although he has not tipped his hand on who his favorite is, I see the Longhorns landing the number-one defensive-line prospect in the nation. Look for Jeffcoat to terrorize Big 12 quarterbacks in years to come.
Lamarcus Joyner is possibly the best cover corner South Florida has ever seen. Although a bit on the small side at 5'9" and 170, Joyner makes up for this in blazing speed and great acceleration.
Although he has already named Ohio State and Florida State as his leaders, I feel that he'll be feeling Gator once Joe Haden declares for the NFL after this season. The opportunity to come in and start as a true freshman at cornerback for the two-time defending national champs alongside Janorris Jenkins will prove too much for Joyner.
This recruitment should be very interesting as it looks to drag on until signing day. Look for Florida, Ohio State, and Florida State to all be in contention for this speedy corner—but look for Urban Meyer to keep the train rolling and establishing a pipeline down to South Florida.
The overall MVP at the U.S. Army Junior National Combine, the 6'5", 290-pound Hurst is a very solid offensive lineman who shows very good consistency when run blocking.
He has good size and overall strength. He is powerful at the point of attack and gets good movement off the line of scrimmage.
Although from Big Ten country in Indiana, Hurst has shown interest in multiple SEC schools. His brother plays at Mississippi State, while his father played at Alabama, so he obviously has ties to the area.
Look for this to be a battle of SEC powers, with Florida coming out on top.
It has been rumored for some time that Hurst has been leaning towards Florida. Look for Hurst to join Xavier Nixon, Nick Alajajain, and Ian Silberman in forming a solid offensive line for the Gators in the coming years.
The state of Arkansas has made itself a reputation of developing solid runners as shown by the emergence of current Oakland Raider Darren McFadden. Look for Dyer to continue this trend.
This powerful downhill runner has rushed for 5,595 yards and 53 TDs over the past three seasons, and has 4.4 40-yard speed to boot.
The 5'9", 201-pound Dyer has publicly named Auburn as his leader. Look for the home-state Arkansas Razorbacks to make a strong push as well but in the end, I see Dyer as being the prize of his first full class at Auburn.
Look for Dyer to follow in the footsteps of current NFL stars Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams as the next great runner to suit up for the Tigers.
The train will keep on rolling for Urban Meyer and the Gators, as this will be their fourth player in the Top 10.
Out of all the potential signees of the Gators, if Luc does indeed head up to Gainesville, he will be tasked with replacing Brandon Spikes at middle linebacker, one of the greatest Gators ever. Not that Luc won't be up to the task, though—he might actually exceed it.
The 6'1", 230-pound Luc has already garnered much attention, partly due to his impressive highlight film, and he is following Noel Devine in becoming a YouTube legend.
Luc also likes Miami a lot, but I have heard that he used to live in that area and ran into some trouble, so his parents are not really liking him playing for the 'Canes.
So Luc will continue the impressive defensive tradition at Florida, and will be a terror for opposing SEC teams for years.