College Football

8 Most Important College Football Recruiting Visits of Week 1

Tyler DonohueNational Recruiting AnalystAugust 28, 2014

8 Most Important College Football Recruiting Visits of Week 1

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    California RB Malik Lovette is heading to Oregon.
    California RB Malik Lovette is heading to Oregon.Credit: 247Sports

    The arrival of college football season means anticipation for games rises among every team's fanbase. However, there's plenty more going on beyond the field during game-day festivities.

    Recruiting departments spend the entire offseason coordinating plans for every matchup. Teams welcome recruits in an effort to show off program facilities and tradition and provide opportunities for personal interaction with the coaching staff. Each week, we'll take a look at top-tier prospects expected on campuses across the country and dissect how the development factors into their overall recruitment.

    As the 2014 campaign kicks off across the country, here's a look at notable game attendees who will be taking in the action on opening weekend.

Auburn: 5-Star OL Martez Ivey (Apopka, Florida)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 2 overall, No. 1 offensive tackle

     

    High School Success

    Martez Ivey has dominated at both tackle positions for Sunshine State title contender Apopka High School. The 6'6", 270-pound specimen is one of the most athletically gifted offensive linemen we've seen this decade, displaying tremendous quickness and reach.

    His power is already impressive despite the fact that he carries a relatively lean physical frame. Ivey is able to withstand speedy pass-rushers with excellent lateral movement, cutting off angles typically exploited by elite defensive ends.

    He was the only offensive lineman who split reps with No. 1 overall prospect Josh Sweat at The Opening, an elite invite-only football prospect showcase held in July at Nike's world headquarters. Ivey has the makings of a multiyear All-American candidate and eventual franchise NFL bookend.

     

    Recruitment Status

    Auburn welcomes him to campus for the second time in a six-week span. Ivey visited Auburn along with high school teammate and close friend Chandler Cox earlier this summer.

    Cox, a fullback committed to the Tigers, is a key part of the equation in this process. Any edge is huge in this recruitment considering how closely contested it appears to be.

    LSU and Alabama would love to land the top-ranked tackle, but this race will likely come down to another pair of SEC foes.

    "Florida and Auburn are really standing out to me right now," Ivey said last month. "I don't want to say that other teams are out of it and those are my only two, but I'm looking at those schools most."

Oklahoma State: 4-Star WR Ryan Newsome (Aledo, Texas)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 225 overall, No. 27 wide receiver

     

    High School Success

    Ryan Newsome may be small in stature (5'8", 168 pounds), but he's among the most feared playmakers in Texas. The Aledo High School receiver tied a national record with seven punt returns for touchdowns in 2013.

    "Teams started to just stop kicking me the ball," Newsome said this summer. "I'm proud to be known as a great punt returner, but I can also do a lot more than that."

    He proved that as a junior, attacking defenses as a rusher and receiver. Newsome gained 826 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, averaging nearly 10 yards per carry, and caught 10 touchdown passes.

    His best fit in college seems to be in the slot.

    "When Alabama offered, they told me they think I'm the best slot receiver in the nation," Newsome said. "That's coming from Nick Saban, so it means a lot."

     

    Recruitment Status

    Newsome announced a top five of Oregon, Oklahoma, Texas, Notre Dame and UCLA in July. However, a visit to Stillwater suggests he's open to the idea of becoming a Cowboy.

    He is attending the game with 4-star Oklahoma State running back commit Ronald Jones, a fellow Texan. Newsome, who also plans to visit Tennessee in October, seems wide open to possibilities at this point.

Virginia Tech: 4-Star DT Tim Settle (Manassas, Virginia)

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    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 73 overall, No. 10 defensive tackle

     

    High School Success

    The Stonewall Jackson High School standout is a key in-state target for the Hokies. Tim Settle withstood consistent double-team blocking efforts to provide a devastating interior presence throughout his junior season.

    He set a career high with 92 tackles and added four sacks in 2013. The 6'2", 339-pound defender is a punishing tackler who uses a powerful base to bulldoze offensive linemen en route to the backfield.

    Settle does a superb job of maintaining his vision in the trenches, taking proper angles at the point of attack. He establishes an advantage immediately off the snap, firing through opponents with a powerful burst and well-placed initial punch. 

     

    Recruitment Status

    Virginia Tech takes on several contenders for Settle's signature. He named Clemson his leader earlier this summer and took trips to Penn State and West Virginia.

    The Hokies must compete with a variety of SEC squads, including Alabama and Tennessee. Head coach Frank Beamer has an opportunity to assemble a program-altering defensive class with 5-star defensive end Josh Sweat still in the mix, and Settle is a must-have recruit on home turf.

LSU: 2016 5-Star QB Shea Patterson (Shreveport, Louisiana)

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    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 26 overall in 2016 class, No. 3 pro-style quarterback

     

    High School Success

    Shea Patterson emerged as a hot commodity in 2013, when he lit up defenses during a successful sophomore campaign. The 6'2", 195-pound Calvary Baptist Academy playmaker threw for 2,655 yards and 34 touchdowns.

    He was picked off just four times on 223 pass attempts. Patterson wasn't a statue in the pocket either, rushing for nearly 300 yards and three scores.

    His high school career stared at Hidalgo High School in Texas.

     

    Recruitment Status

    Patterson was previously committed to Arizona but ended that verbal pact in late July. LSU quickly became a favorite in the eyes of experts, and the team is currently favored to sign him by 95 percent of prognosticators in 247Sports' Crystal Ball.

    He is expected to spend time at Notre Dame and USC during this season, and plenty of other teams would gladly welcome him to campus. Alabama, Oklahoma State and Auburn are listed among his other offers.

    LSU takes on Wisconsin in Houston this weekend, and Patterson will make the trip to see the Tigers in action.

    His older brother, Sean Patterson, is a new addition to the LSU staff this season. He serves as an offensive quality control assistant and certainly offers an appealing asset for the young quarterback in Baton Rouge.

Georgia: 4-Star LB Roquan Smith (Montezuma, Georgia)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 48 overall, No. 4 outside linebacker

     

    High School Success

    Roquan Smith is a scheme-diverse defender who flashed signs of explosiveness in the offensive backfield last fall. The 6'2", 205-pound prospect picked up six sacks and totaled 27 tackles for loss.

    He displays elite closing speed, and though additional bulk is necessary before his transition to the college game, Smith surges through the trenches with impressive power. Highly effective in blitz settings, he can also drop back and cover the pass with efficiency.

    "I can help a team in different ways," Smith said in July. "Stop the run, chase the quarterback, drop back and cover receivers. Teams like my versatility."

    He racked up 100 tackles as a junior and made strides in downfield awareness when called upon to lend secondary support.

     

    Recruitment Status

    The Macon County High School star is a prized Peach State product, spending substantial time in the cross hairs of Bulldogs coach Mark Richt and his staff. Georgia is most likely to deal with contention from fellow SEC members.

    Smith has spent substantial time at Florida, developing increased chemistry with the Gators in recent months. Auburn presents another opportunity and hosted him for its spring game.

    USC is a wild card in the mix after extending an offer in April and later hosting Smith for a camp.

Auburn: 5-Star DT Daron Payne (Birmingham, Alabama)

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    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 30 overall, No. 5 defensive tackle

     

    High School Success

    Big things are expected from defensive tackle Daron Payne at Shades Valley High School this season. The 6'2", 348-pound beast brings an intimidating presence to the team's front attack and appears to have worked himself into improved physical condition entering his senior campaign.

    Payne, who picked up 65 tackles and three sacks in 2013, frees up room for teammates because of his ability to command multiple blockers. He can fight through schemes specifically targeted toward him.

    He is a massive run-stuffer and can be seen driving offensive linemen deep into the backfield on game film.

     

    Recruitment Status

    Payne is the latest of many coveted Alabama recruits to land in the center of a tug-of-war battle between Auburn and the Crimson Tide. These in-state showdowns often go down to the wire, and his process doesn't seem to be an exception.

    He's extremely familiar with both programs after spending more than a year bouncing back and forth between campuses and fielding countless phone calls from both coaching staffs. Payne may begin to feel pressure from either side for a commitment, but the ball is ultimately in his court. A decision may not arrive until national signing day.

    Mississippi State has made a strong push in this recruitment, but it ultimately appears to come down to a classic rivalry within state borders.

Texas: 2016 4-Star QB Shane Buechele (Arlington, Texas)

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    Credit: 247Sports

    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 201 overall in 2016 class, No. 9 pro-style quarterback

     

    High School Success

    Lamar High School junior Shane Buechele became a name to know in the 2016 class last season, when he demonstrated superior athleticism behind center. The 6'2", 185-pound prospect flashed dual-threat capabilities while orchestrating an efficient offensive attack. 

    Buechele passed for 1,389 yards and 14 touchdowns, turning the ball over just twice through the air. He averaged approximately five yards per rushing attempt en route to 352 yards and two scores on the ground.

    He is the son of Steve Buechele, who spent 11 seasons in Major League Baseball. He suited up as a third baseman predominately with the Texas Rangers after spending time at Stanford, where he lived with eventual NFL Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway.

     

    Recruitment Status

    Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong is attempting to grow roots in the team's home state, where Mack Brown enjoyed so much success on the recruiting trail during his tenure. Buechele is a big-time target in the Lone Star State's 2016 crop of talent, so it's imperative for Texas to make a strong early impression.

    The Longhorns extended an offer last month, shortly after welcoming Buechele to a camp. He has quickly compiled an expansive list of collegiate options, including Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Texas Tech and Kentucky.

Oregon: 4-Star RB Malik Lovette (Redlands, California)

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    247Sports' Composite Ranking: No. 175 overall, No. 5 all-purpose back

     

    High School Success

    Malik Lovette provides an explosive dual-threat element out of the offensive backfield, becoming a very capable receiver at the second level. The Redlands High School senior caught 43 passes for 645 yards and seven scores last season.

    His shiftiness in the open field and tackle-breaking abilities create dynamic opportunities in the screen game. He also displays the endurance and power to pound the ball between offensive tackles.

    Lovette averaged 10 yards per carry last season, finding the end zone eight times as a rusher. Expect him to elevate his efforts on the ground even more this autumn.

     

    Recruitment Status

    Viewed as one of the prized prospects in Pac-12 territory, Lovette is likely to frequent several conference games throughout this fall. USC and Cal present intriguing in-state options, while Arizona State and Oregon are also in pursuit of the multidimensional playmaker.

    Lovette has plenty of options to consider beyond the West Coast, highlighted by offers from Texas A&M and Notre Dame. The Ducks get an early crack at him and could sway him to Eugene with a successful weekend on campus.

     

    All quotes obtained firsthand by B/R national recruiting analyst Tyler Donohue unless otherwise noted.

    Recruit ratings and information provided by 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

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