It seemed to be a rough day from a recruiting standpoint for Oklahoma on Monday, but at least one piece of news could end up being good for Auburn and Michigan. OUInsider.com and other outlets reported that four-star JUCO receiver Courtney Gardner will remain at Sierra (Calif.) College for another semester, JUCO offensive lineman Will Latu (College of the Canyons) did not qualify and will not play at OU this season and the de-commitment of four-star running back Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage).
Auburn has emerged as the team to beat for Greg Bryant, which may lock up Derrick Green for Michigan.
Gardner was the nation’s No. 2 JUCO receiver according to the 247Composite, which rates prospects based on an equal factoring of recruiting media network rankings. Latu rated as the nation’s No. 2 junior college offensive tackle and Bryant is the No. 3 running back for the 2013 class.
While the news had to be somewhat jolting for Sooners fans, it wasn’t totally out of left field. Both junior college players were expected to cut it close academically and weeks ago, we were being told that the chances Bryant signed with Oklahoma were “increasingly unlikely”. Oklahoma has an excellent recruiting class and is expected to have a big season in the Big 12 this year, so it’s certainly not the end of the world in Norman.
That leaves us with the question- where will Bryant land? Best guess at this point is Auburn. Reports indicated the Tigers and South Carolina were his top two choices with Georgia also in the mix. Auburn makes the most sense based on everything that is known at this time.
Bryant to AU leaves us with another question. How does that impact four-star running back Derrick Green (Richmond, Va./Hermitage) and where he will land? The Tigers will take one more back. They like both Bryant and Green, but it’s highly doubtful they take both and unless a new school makes a charge, they are getting Bryant.
The situation at Auburn will likely lead Green to Michigan, which could use a bigger, power back in this class. Green had a great unofficial visit to Ann Arbor for the BBQ and the Wolverines look like the safe bet right now for the nation's No. 7 running back according to the 247Composite. Ole Miss or Virginia Tech also could make a push, depending on how long it goes. If these dominoes do not fall by the start of football season, then both recruitments could go a number of different ways.
-The recruitment of former Texas commit Ricky Seals-Jones has another contender. Baylor joins Texas, Texas A&M and LSU as the primary suitors for the 247Composite five-star. While many still consider the Longhorns the favorite (and we don’t necessarily discount that), the Aggies and Bears are the two teams trending at the moment with him.
-Duke cornerback commit Evrett Edwards (Woodbridge, Va.) will sign with the Blue Devils unless Oregon, LSU or Alabama make a big push. He visited West Virginia recently.
-Four-star offensive lineman/defensive tackle Andrew Billings (Waco, Texas) is on campus at Texas today. He camped at Mississippi State last week and is considered to be a Longhorns-TCU battle at this stage.
-Despite the talk of a top five being released at Gridiron Kings last weekend, we continue to be told there are three teams in the mix for four-star safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips)- Florida, Florida State and Texas. He will take an official visit to Austin during the season. One more note on Harris- he has impressed in coverage when we’ve seen him this summer, meaning a transition to linebacker in college may not be a foregone conclusion. Harris is the No. 8 safety prospect nationally according to the 247Composite and 247Sports.
-It’s way, way early, but you can look for Class of 2014 offensive lineman Mason Cole (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) to end up in the Big Ten/Midwest when all is said and done. His recruitment will be very similar to that of Ohio State’s Michael Brewster a few years back in that a top, top Florida offensive lineman heads north. Multiple college coaches that have scouted Cole, an early four-star according to 247Sports, say he’s one of the best they’ve seen for the next cycle. Michigan looks to be the early team to beat. You have to project a bit, but Brady Hoke and company have the makings of a nasty, deep and talented offensive line for years to come.
-Unless South Carolina or Georgia turns up the heat on him, the expectation still is that four-star receiver Alvin Bailey (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) heads to UCF, even with the probation that was announced today. Bailey is never going to blow you away with physical attributes (height, weight, 40 time), but he’s a great football player on the high school level and thus projects at a reasonably high level in college and beyond.
-Was Vanderbilt going to be the pick had Bailey’s teammate, four-star safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), announced this week? The Commodores are strong with the nation’s No. 40 overall prospect according to the 247Composite. McQuay was outstanding at Gridiron Kings this past weekend and in a recruiting cycle that featured less top talent at his position could rate higher.
-Regardless of his desire to commit frequently, four-star 2014 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, Fla./Bay Side) is a player and a huge pick-up for Florida, where he committed last week (he was committed to Louisville earlier in the process and nearly committed to Florida State at a camp there earlier this month). While it’s natural to raise an eyebrow to the recruiting theatrics this early, the bottom line is the 6-foot-4, 297-pounder has the potential to be elite. He currently rates as the nation’s No. 32 overall prospect for the 2014 class.
-Speaking of Florida and 2014, during the May evaluation period one SEC assistant could not stop raving about the Gators’ other commit in the next cycle, wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar). Watching Bronson’s film, one has to agree with the accolades. He’s currently the No. 17 wide receiver in the 2014 cycle according to 247Sports. Is there a nastier two-person 2014 class than the Gators?