Maryland’s class was expected to be headlined by a pair of local standouts – five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor of Washington (D.C.) Friendship Academy and four-star offensive tackle Damian Prince of District Heights (Md.) Bishop McNamara. With Tabor now enrolled at Florida, the best the Terps can do is go .500 with the pair.
Damian Prince will see South Carolina and Florida before National Signing Day.
That may be more difficult than previously expected.
While Maryland is still considered the favorite for Prince, both South Carolina and Florida are presenting some major competition. South Carolina has had some success with prospects from Maryland in recent years. Florida, who landed Tabor, is expected to make a big push between now and when Prince announces on National Signing Day. Prince will check out South Carolina this week and wrap up the month at Florida.
It will be a battle for the Terps down the stretch with Prince.
Jackets get first crack at former Vanderbilt pledge
With James Franklin’s departure from Vanderbilt for Penn State, teams from around the country immediately began to poach the Vanderbilt commitment list. Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth four-star defensive tackle Michael Sawyers became a popular target.
Sawyers has already decommitted from the Commodores. He has now turned his attention to Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, and Tennessee. The Jackets will get the first crack at him when they host him in Atlanta this weekend.
The 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle has quickly emerged as one of the top defensive tackles available in the 2014 class at this stage of the process.
Thompson likely to end up playing in the ACC
Trevion Thompson is the target of a heated ACC battle.
The recruitment of Durham (N.C.) Hillside four-star wide receiver Trevion Thompson is hitting the final leg. Coming out of the dead period, he is expected to take an official visit to Clemson this weekend. The Tigers are considered a major contender for Thompson and this weekend could go a long way to him potentially helping to fill the void left by the departure of wide receivers Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant.
The biggest competition to Dabo Swinney’s club is likely N.C. State. The Wolfpack has been constant with attention in Thompson. His early December official visit to N.C. State reportedly went well and led to speculation at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas that N.C. State had taken the lead.
Other schools in the picture for Thompson include North Carolina, Ohio State, and West Virginia. The Mountaineers may get an official visit during one of the final two visit weekends remaining in January.
Thompson’s Crystal Ball is currently a near split between Clemson and N.C. State. The Tigers hold a 50-47 percent advantage over the Wolfpack. Ohio State has the remaining 3-percent of the Crystal Ball.
Uncommitted defensive pair to visit FSU despite Pruitt’s departure
Florida State is expected to host at least four visitors this weekend, including a pair of Top 50 defensive prospects in Detroit (Mich.) Southfield four-star strong-side defensive end Malik McDowell and Hoover (Ala.) five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey.
The defensive duo is visiting on the heels of Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt departing Tallahassee for the same role at the University of Georgia. Both were considered longshots before that development occurred. Pruitt’s departure likely hurts the Seminoles more with Humphrey than McDowell.
Humphrey has a long-term relationship with Pruitt that was the primary reason Florida State had emerged as the biggest competition to Alabama for his services.
Marlon Humphrey is still expected to see FSU this weekend.
McDowell’s bond on the Florida State staff is with defensive tackles coach Odell Haggins and recruiting coordinator Tim Brewster. Despite his bond with that pair of coaches, McDowell is expected to remain in-state and play at Michigan or Michigan State.
Syracuse QB commit recruiting a target
Hialeah (Fla.) three-star quarterback Alin Edouard, who is a firm commitment to Syracuse, will make his way to check out the Orange officially this weekend. He is also hoping to lock up a talented wide receiver while on his visit in Miami (Fla.) North Miami Beach Senior three-star wide receiver Steve Ishmael.
Entering the visit, the 6-foot-2, 170-pound wide receiver has Syracuse on top for his services. The Orange lead due in part to Ishmael’s relationship with offensive coordinator George McDonald.
Edouard has been doing his part, being very vocal about his interest in playing with the fellow South Florida product at the next level.
Ishmael has yet to schedule any additional official visits for January following this weekend.
Wake hitting the ground running
New Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson and his staff are hitting the ground running. They will bring in multiple official visitors this weekend. Among those coming in are two prospects in limbo due to coaching changes at the schools they had committed to.
Fort Pierce (Fla.) Central three-star weak-side defensive end Rashawn Shaw is a Louisville commitment. He remains committed to the Cardinals, but is trying to fit in multiple official visits before National Signing Day. He gets things started with a trip to Wake Forest this weekend. Georgia Tech is scheduled for next weekend. Others including Arkansas, Louisville, Virginia, and West Virginia could also receive visits.
Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy three-star athlete Kameron Uter was committed to Vanderbilt but backed off that pledge earlier this week after James Franklin’s departure. Uter, who could play wide receiver or defensive back, is expected to see Wake Forest this weekend and Vanderbilt next weekend.
* Boston College will host Lynn Haven (Fla.) Mosley three-star wide receiver/defensive back Nat Dixon this weekend. It will mark his second official visit. He has previously seen Western Kentucky. Louisville and South Florida are also in the picture with Dixon.
* Duke is hosting a length visitor list this weekend, but the top uncommitted prospect among the group is Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage three-star defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord. Cerenord recently stated he would take three visits, starting with Duke, and followed by Purdue and Tulane. Two other schools to keep an eye on with Cerenord are Miami, especially if they fail to bring Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat four-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine back in the fold, and Notre Dame, who is in search of a defensive tackle down the stretch.
* Miami is hosting a number of committed prospects this weekend along with one top-tier uncommitted athlete – Richmond (Va.) Benedictine four-star Raymon Minor. Miami has work to do, as Minor enters the visit considered a lean to in-state Virginia Tech. Nebraska is also in the picture for Minor.
* North Carolina is attempting to convince Chanhassen (Minn.) four-star offensive tackle Frank Ragnow to take an official visit to Chapel Hill. Ragnow has already visited Arkansas, Florida State, and Minnesota. All three of those schools are expected to be finalists for his services.
* Stafford (Va.) Colonial Forge cornerback Daniel Ezeagwu could potentially take an official visit to Virginia this weekend. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound defensive back is currently leaning towards Maryland, who he is expected to check out on the weekend of Jan. 24.