Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on topics in a roundtable format.
Rumors are swirling that Urban Meyer could wind up at Ohio State. What would that mean for Ohio State's recruiting?
Mike Farrell: Anywhere Meyer lands will get an immediate windfall of interest from four- and five-star recruits but if you put him behind the wheel of another power program such as Ohio State it will be insane. NCAA issues or not, Ohio State would instantly jump to a top five recruiting power and the interesting thing would be to see how many top kids from Florida would head to Columbus. There would be a few, trust me.
Adam Gorney: It would revive a program that has dealt with scandal and a lackluster season in a big way. Meyer was incredibly successful recruiting to Florida and his success there speaks for itself. He would probably be able to do the same thing at Ohio State and that could hurt Michigan, Michigan State and other programs in the Midwest. Meyer is from the state, has a lot of ties to the Buckeyes and if he ends up there it could mean Ohio State returns to national prominence really quickly. You can count on Meyer putting together a great staff and hitting the recruiting trail hard. It's the only way Meyer knows how to do things.
Josh Helmholdt: It would decrease the amount of time it is going to take for the Buckeyes to return to the level of dominance on the recruiting trail they enjoyed for much of the last decade. Meyer is one of the most widely respected names in the game today, and recruits will want to play for him. It may take a lesser-name coach a couple years to reestablish Ohio State's name with recruits, but Meyer could get that done in time for the 2013 class, which is none too soon because the state of Ohio is loaded with talent in 2013.
Chris Nee: It would immediately inject some excitement into a program that has battled off-the-field issues all season and likely would result in a lot of skill players, especially those whose forte is making plays in space, in giving the Buckeyes a serious look. The results produced by Meyer during his run at Florida are indisputable and he has clout among prospects for what his teams can do, both as far as winning and producing an exciting brand of football.
Keith Niebuhr: I guess it would help. Of course, Ohio State has always recruited well hasn't it? Meyer is a tremendous recruiter, so I would imagine it would allow the Buckeyes to not really miss a step in the wake of everything that has happened there. However, if you're a prospect I think you might have some doubts about his health. This is, after all, someone who quit his last job twice. Clearly other schools would use that again him. This biggest thing to me is that his hiring would really rally the troops up there in Columbus.
Brian Perroni: Meyer is a good coach and is well respected but Ohio State seems to do a good job regardless. I am sure having a big name such as Meyer couldn't hurt but I don't see a sudden new windfall of recruits wanting to play there because of him.
Which current college player that you had ranked higher than most is proving you correct with a strong performance this season?
Mike Farrell: I'll go with South Carolina wide receiver Alshon Jeffery from the Gamecocks. A lot of people at the time were saying he was too slow, didn't care enough and wasn't a guy who went hard every play. And despite an average effort at the Shrine Bowl that year where at times it looked like those things were true, his ability just spoke to me. He made things look so easy which is why people thought he was lazy and he's a first rounder if everything goes right so to have him as a top 100 player when most didn't makes me proud.
Adam Gorney: Since my first year ranking players was last recruiting cycle, I'll go with USC freshman wide receiver Marqise Lee. I had heard for some months that Lee was a big-time player at Gardena (Calif.) Serra but also that he wanted to play basketball in college so I had to see him for myself. I was convinced early on that Lee could be a star on the college level because he was outstanding at wide receiver and defensive back. He and former five-star George Farmer were unstoppable at times in Serra's offense. Rivals.com finished with Lee ranked as the third-best athlete in the 2011 class behind Oregon signees De'Anthony Thomas and Colt Lyerla. There was a chance he could have gotten a fifth star in the final rankings but he didn't dominate at the Under Armour game and so we decided to place him No. 36 in the class.
Josh Helmholdt: The success of Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd does not surprise me at all. Now, Boyd ended up with a high ranking by most people by the end of the process, but early on it seems there was concern about his height and questions about his athleticism. I saw him at the U.S. Army Combine after his junior season and immediately loved what he brought to the table. Boyd ran a 4.57 40-yard dash on a notoriously slow surface, but it was the efficiency of his mechanics and the way he spun the football that most impressed me.
Chris Nee: Freshman defensive tackle Elkino Watson has been relied upon by the USF Bulls quite a bit this year. He has played in every game including recently earning his first career start. He has had a strong season accumulating 29 tackles, seven tackles for loss, a sack and two quarterback hurries. The Miami-area prospect is going to be a big piece to the defensive front for the Bulls for years to come.
Keith Niebuhr:Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell. We had him rated 30th in the 2011 class but in my opinion he has been among the most impressive freshmen in the country this fall. In only seven games played because of injury, he has 28 catches for 523 yards. I got to see him all week at the Under Armour game and was thoroughly impressed. Even though we had Mitchell listed as a DB, I really liked him on offense.
Brian Perroni: Coming out of Aldine (Texas) Eisenhower two years ago were two really good wide receivers in Greg Timmons and Jaz Reynolds. Timmons was much higher-ranked but I had someone who had watched both for years tell me, "Everything they are saying about Timmons, they're really describing Jaz." I thought the same thing after watching both and wondered why in-state programs Texas and Texas A&M never offered Reynolds. Timmons ended up transferring from Texas whereas Reynolds has become a breakout star at Oklahoma over the second half of this season. I expect him to have a huge year in 2012.
With colleges entering the stretch run, what school(s) is most in need of a strong final kick to impress the prospect(s) it really needs?
Mike Farrell: Oklahoma needs to win out for obvious reasons including a win at Oklahoma State in the season finale to overcome the embarrassment of losing to a horrible Texas Tech team in October. The Sooners are involved with a large number of four- and five-stars down the stretch and need to be dominant down the stretch to win some of these key battles.
Adam Gorney: Out West, I think Arizona State is the team everyone is keeping an eye on because if the Sun Devils, who have lost back-to-back games to UCLA and Washington State, don't finish with wins against Arizona and California then things could be bad for coach Dennis Erickson. Some of Arizona State's commits are already looking at other places and taking visits so getting rid of Erickson could spell disaster for a respectable recruiting class. Finishing strong is crucial to that program.
Josh Helmholdt: It sounds like it may already be too late for Ron Zook to save his job in Champaign, but maybe a couple late wins will keep the Illinois coach on the job a little while longer. After a 6-0 start, it appeared Zook and the Illini had righted the ship and were trending upward. Four straight losses later, though, and the "Fire Zook," crowd is getting boisterous again. The Illini finally cracked double digits in commitments earlier this week, but still have a long way to go in this class. If Illinois goes through a coaching change after this season, its 2012 class will be light on both talent and numbers.
Chris Nee: I'd say Illinois needs to win at least one of its two remaining regular season games, if not both. The Illini have lost four consecutive games and the seat of Ron Zook has warmed up in Champaign.
Zook showed his recruiting prowess this week, switching Miami commitment, Rivals250 linebacker Keith Brown, but with another win or two his team can secure a bowl bid, cool his seat, and possibly steal another prospect or two down the stretch. After a promising start for the Big Ten team, the past month of the season has been difficult, but the thing people remember the most is what you did in your last game.
Keith Niebuhr: Good question. You could really pick a number of programs, but I suppose I'll go with Georgia. The Bulldogs are in the hunt with several solid players and a nice finish to this turnaround season can only help. I also think Tennessee could use a boost here down the stretch. The Vols are putting together a solid class already, and have the potential to finish strong. Getting to a bowl probably would help.
Brian Perroni:Baylor had started making quite a bit of strides in recruiting and the Bears were playing really well behind quarterback Robert Griffin. The team has struggled as of late, though, and Baylor now finds itself in a battle with the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and TCU for some of its current commits. The Bears could use some wins to show recruits they are still a team on the rise and that they will be competitive even after Griffin leaves this year or next.