SAN ANTONIO - The demise of Michigan in the recruiting race for five-star defensive tackle William Campbell from Detroit Cass Tech might be a bit premature. While Campbell himself said in interviews on audio and video that he had basically eliminated the Wolverines from his list of schools, sources confirmed on Monday that Michigan is still very much alive in this race.
Campbell, a 6-foot-5, 317-pounder, committed to Michigan back in the summer of 2007 but de-committed in September of 2008 so he could see other schools. Since that time, Campbell has taken official visits to Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Florida and Miami. However, most expected he would re-commit to Michigan on Saturday at the U.S. Army All American Bowl. That was until Campbell arrived in San Antonio on Sunday when the player's registered.
Campbell said on Sunday that he wants to get away from home and that he most likely wouldn't be going to Michigan. And Campbell said that LSU, Florida and Miami were the schools he'd be choosing between on Saturday. This followed an interview where LSU defensive tackle commitment Chris Davenport said that he thought Campbell would end up with him as a Tiger. It could happen, but don't count out Michigan yet.
Numerous sources have confirmed that Michigan is still in the picture for Campbell and will be one of the candidates for his pledge on Saturday. One source went as far as saying that he felt Campbell would certainly re-commit to Michigan, noting the big defensive tackle's sense of humor and tendency to joke around.
Was Campbell's elimination of Michigan simply a joke or will he follow former Cass Tech big man Joseph Barksdale to LSU? Or will he end up back at Michigan or perhaps at Florida or Miami? Time will tell, but this one is far from over it seems.
DUCKS ARE HOT
The Oregon Ducks are on the mind of many top prospects at the U.S. Army All American Bowl. Fresno (Calif.) Edison cornerback Cliff Harris stated that Oregon is a slight leader over Southern Cal and both schools are ahead of Arizona and Arizona State. Harris is visiting Oregon on Jan. 9.
Minneapolis (Minn.) Breck wide receiver Bryce McNeal has narrowed down his list to Oregon along with Clemson, Minnesota and Colorado and the Ducks are in the top two according to sources. McNeal has raved about Oregon since he took his official visit in November and has been apparently recruiting Hampton (Va.) Phoebus quarterback Tajh Boyd to go with him if he chooses the Ducks.
Speaking of Boyd, he also loved his recent official visit to Oregon and is expected to decide between the Ducks and Ohio State this weekend.
Offensive lineman Michael Philipp remains wide open and the Ducks are expected to be in the final mix along with Arizona, Cal and others. And finally, if anyone is going to steal Wichita (Kan.) Wichita East running back Bryce Brown away from Miami it will be the Ducks according to Brown and sources. However, Oregon fans shouldn't hold their collective breath on that one.
• Tampa (Fla.) Plant athlete Orson Charles has narrowed down his list of schools to five according to sources. The final five, in no order, are Florida State, South Florida, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia. The Dawgs are the team to beat according to many, especially with Charles' quarterback and friend Aaron Murray already committed to Georgia. It is unclear how many official visits Charles will take.
• While five-star defensive end Devon Kennard from Phoenix (Ariz.) Desert Vista will not be in San Antonio until Thursday, a source on the West squad trying to recruit Kennard to Texas said that despite a good visit to Austin that Kennard will be heading to Southern Cal. Kennard has taken official visits to Cal, Southern Cal and Texas and could be ready to make his decision soon.
• St. Louis (Mo.) University athlete Ronnie Wingo Jr. has visits scheduled to Arkansas and Illinois in January but there is an outside chance that he decides this weekend at the game. Wingo has visited Missouri and Kansas on official trips and if he decides this weekend it will surely be Missouri according to sources.
• Philadelphia (Pa.) Northeast wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes is only 50/50 about sticking to his commitment to Tennessee according to good sources. Stokes committed to Tennessee back in April but waivered a bit when new head coach Lane Kiffin decided against keeping Tajh Boyd and Bryce Petty in the 2009 recruiting class. Stokes wants to visit Illinois and Michigan in January and is also looking at Florida and Georgia. His younger brother, 2010 quarterback Malik Stokes, had an offer from the old staff but is being re-evaluated by Kiffin. Stokes has been told that Tennessee will not be taking a quarterback in this class and will go after a big name in 2010.
• Sumter, S.C., running back Roderick McDowell is committed to Clemson but might take an official visit to Florida. The Gators have recently been in contact with McDowell due to his speed and receiving ability and think he can play a Chris Rainey role. McDowell is likely to stick to his commitment to Clemson in the end but if Urban Meyer can get McDowell on campus, watch out. Florida has not offered McDowell yet and will not unless he takes an official visit.