College Recruiting: Where Top 2011 QB Max Wittek Could Go
Max Wittek is a 6'3", 205-lb quarterback prospect out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California.
Max is one of the top pro-style QB recruits in the 2011 class, drawing offers from USC, Clemson, Florida, Cal and a host of others.
So where is Max in his recruitment? Who is he favoring? What's his timetable for a decision?
Read on to find out more.
Wittek's teammate and possible tag-team partner, Victor Blackwell, was showing interest in the Gamecocks earlier this recruiting season, and the buzz was that Wittek would follow suit.
But despite an offer, nothing in the way of a visit or much interest seemed to materialize with Wittek, and Blackwell has since named three other schools as his top choices (more on those three later).
I'd say the Gamecocks are out of luck.
About a month ago, Scout ran an article claiming Clemson saying theyhoped to get Wittek on campus for an official visit in the coming months.
It doesn't look like that visit materialized.
With Clemson refusing to offer Wittek's teammate, Victor Blackwell, it looks like the trail has cooled for the Tigs.
The Georgia Bulldogs are the newest name in Wittek's recruiting. They got him on campus for a visit and immediately offered him, presumably making a pitch about their pro-style offense.
Zach Mettenberger's dismissal from the team opens up an interesting opportunity for Wittek to enroll, redshirt, sit behind Aaron Murray for two years and then take over as a redshirt sophomore.
Wittek was originally discussing making a decision before the start of fall practice, so the Dawgs look like late arrivals to the party.
But you have to think if he's still taking visits, he's still not quite settled in his mind.
In the year of the sports underdog, Georgia's is a name to watch. We'll see what Wittek's response is to the interest from Athens in the coming weeks.
The Irish offered Wittek a few weeks back, and Coach Kelly's excitement evidently piqued Wittek's interest.
Wittek visited South Bend unofficially on April 5, but the buzz since then hasn't indicated it put them any closer to a commitment.
Wittek's subsequent visits and Notre Dame's pursuit of other QBs like Brett Hundley sound like Kelly swung and a missed.
However, the Irish are one of the few schools to have also offered Wittek's teammate, Victor Blackwell, and the wide receiver has Notre Dame among his top three. If the two are indeed a package deal, then Notre Dame will be one of the finalists.
A little digging around unearths an old article actually on Wittek's predecessor at Mater Dei, Matt Barkley, that contains a quote from Wittek sharing his excitement about visiting Florida's campus while still in high school.
Wittek attended Florida's Orange and Blue Debut game a few weeks back.
I'd like to say the recent commitment of QB Jeff Driskel puts the Gators in a good spot for quarterback recruiting. But Brantley's uncertain future—coupled with Urban Meyer's urge to dominate—make recruiting marquee quarterbacks a major focus in Florida's 2011 class.
Wittek's hoped-for timetable puts a commitment date before the start of the season, which could benefit the Gators if they're able to convince Wittek that he can be the total package for them at QB.
I think if any school outside the Pac-10 has a shot at landing Wittek, it's Florida.
Does it count that Cal Scout page seems to be working the hardest of anybody for interviews, hints, glimmers of hope?
Yeah, probably not.
But Victor Blackwell's interest in Cal counts—he has them in his top three.
And to be fair, Wittek visited Cal for their Junior Day back in late February. The interest is there, but it looks to be on the downswing.
Look for Wittek to catch one of Cal's spring games. If he gets a load of the quarterback competition, he might be more open to the idea of committing. If not, I think he's looking elsewhere in the Pac-10.
The Bruins hosted Wittek and Blackwell after one of their first scrimmages, and the vibe seemed positive.
One of the other 2011 recruits in attendance, tight end Dillon Van Der Wal, was quoted as saying, "They had a huge recruiting class, and now UCLA is the up-and-coming school, the one that everyone wants to be at." More proof that good recruiting begets good recruiting.
UCLA is another of Blackwell's top schools, so they have a good chance at landing Wittek if the band stays together.
All the same, I'd prefer to hear the excitement coming from Wittek rather than the other recruits. We know how many head-to-head recruiting battles the Bruins have won against the Trojans recently.
Upsets happen in the world of recruiting, even to programs like USC.
But you've gotta pick your battles. Getting Max Wittek to go anywhere but USC is not a battle worth sticking your neck out for.
The Trojans took Matt Barkley, Wittek's predecessor at Mater Dei, in 2009's recruiting class, so the pipeline has been established.
The depth chart favors a redshirt, some backup playing time and then a competition with Jesse Scroggins for the top job.
And when the Trojans offered, it just seemed like a switch clicked on in Wittek's recruitment. Check out these comments from Bruce Rollinson, Wittek's coach, shortly after the offer was extended:
"What I sense from [Max] is that it's one more piece to the puzzle. It was a piece he was hoping for, but they put their cards on the table and they're now a player. I'm sure he'll have them (USC) highly rated.
"We'll have a lengthy discussion about his visits and see if he wants to commit in April, or wait through spring practice so the coaches can come out and take a look at him. But I'm not going to rush his decision, so we'll probably take it on a month-by-month basis. If he wants to wait (until during or after the season), he'll wait."
I'm taking Rollinson's belief that Wittek is considering committing soon as a sign that the Trojans are his hoped-for destination and that all others are just really nice runners-up.
Still, the Trojans' offer was only a "piece of the puzzle." The other missing piece, in my opinion, is probably an offer to Victor Blackwell, which the Trojans have yet to make.
If the Trojans want Wittek badly enough, they'll offer Blackwell even if he isn't their top WR prospect just to get Wittek on board. If Kiffin doesn't pull the trigger, it will be because they've cooled on Wittek, not the other way around.
If that happens, all bets are off.