Two Class of 2012 five stars will announce their decisions this week, which makes it a pretty big week in college football recruiting. Here’s a prediction on each.
Five-star quarterback Zeke Pike will announce his college decision on Wednesday.
The first to announce will be quarterback Zeke Pike (Fort Mitchell, Ky./Dixie Heights), who is arguably the most celebrated signal caller from the Bluegrass State since Tim Couch. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Pike has been an out-of-state lean for the entire process and told 247Sports analyst Steve Wiltfong that he was down to Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Purdue and Tennessee.
The second five-star, running back Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas), will announce on Friday, which is his birthday. Texas, Texas A&M and TCU are the three finalists. The Longhorns have been the team to beat for a while and we’ve heard nothing to indicate otherwise. The Aggies and Horned Frogs put up a good battle, however.
Diggs and Miami
Five-star athlete Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Good Counsel), the nation’s No. 8 overall prospect, plans to visit Miami (Fla.), Florida and Florida State this spring, along with Maryland and perhaps Cal and USC.The official Good Counsel football twitter (@gcfootball) reported a couple of days ago that while the Hurricanes have always been a “dream school” of sorts for Diggs, that he’s open to all comers. Maryland and first-year head coach Randy Edsall are definitely in the mix- they already have a commitment from four-star Good Counsel offensive tackle Mike Madaras. The early guess here is that Diggs ends up somewhere in the state of Florida- likely Miami- or elects to stay at home and play for the Terps.
Dead even for Black
Alabama and Florida State, which arguably have the two best classes in the country thus far for the Class of 2012, are in a dead heat for the services of five-star wide receiver Chris Black (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), according to sources familiar with his recruitment. He had a good visit to Alabama for the Crimson Tide’s “A Day” Game and it wasn’t the first time he’s had a great trip to Tuscaloosa. The Seminoles have been the longtime favorites.
Three quick thoughts
-We really like defensive end Darius English (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) as an athletic defensive lineman with a great frame an upside. The 6-foot-6, 215-pounder is very active on film and has looked good when we’ve seen him in person. Recently, he added offers from Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. The pair joined South Carolina, which signed two players out of McEachern in the 2011 class.
-Washington State signed three prospects out of Central Florida in the 2011 class. We felt that wide receiver Isiah Myers (Orlando, Fla./Olympia), linebacker Darryl Monroe (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) and cornerback Spencer Waseem (Apopka, Fla.) all were steals for the Cougars. Washington State has returned to the area in this class and is one of the early offers for cornerback Lucas Thompson (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange). That’s smart as Thompson, who has interest, is one of the top sleeper prospects in the Sunshine State in this class.
-One of the things that really stands out about the nation’s top quarterback prospect, Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.) on film is his toughness. He’s not afraid of contact when he tucks it and runs. That’s something that is of growing importance to college coaches at all positions and an example of why Kiel is so coveted this recruiting cycle.
Here’s a look at what’s going on in the state of Texas from National Recruiting Analyst Gerry Hamilton
Hunter becoming a hot commodity
Defensive ends with the ability to rush the passer are at a premium on an annual basis. In the 2012 class in the Lone Star state, that is certainly the case.
With the spring evaluation period underway, one defensive end that is seeing his stock rise headed into the start of spring practice Wednesday is Danielle Hunter (Katy, Texas/Morton Ranch).
The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder with 4.58-speed and a 35-inch vertical leap has five offers on the table with more expected in the coming weeks.
“I have offers from Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Houston and Missouri,” Hunter said. “I think Texas A&M has offered me. I’m getting mail from Oregon, Tulsa, San Diego State, TCU and there are others,”
Hunter has three schools that have separated from the pack.
“My favorites are Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Oklahoma invited me to their spring game, but I couldn’t make it,”
The long-armed end has been busy this spring on the track competing in the quarter, long jump and high jump.
“I run the quarter, long jump and high jump. I qualified for regional’s in the high jump.” he said.
Hunter posted a 20’11 ½” long jump, 51.27 FAT (fully automated timing) quarter and 6-0 high jump at a recent district meet.
Hunter, who moved to the Houston area from Mount Vernon, New York in seventh grade, lists LSU as a program he would like to receive an offer from. He reports a max bench press of 290-pounds and a squat of 425-pounds.
Texas quick hitters
-Texas Tech and North Texas stopped by Mesquite Horn on Monday to see 2012 cornerback DeVante Harris. The 5-foot-11, 160-pounder has verbal offers from SMU, Kansas State, Mississippi State, Virginia and North Texas. He attended the Oklahoma spring game Saturday. The Sooners along with Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor and Texas are showing interest in the son of former Texas A&M and NFL receiver and return man Rod Harris.
-Baylor is scheduled to be at Richardson Pearce on Tuesday to see speedster Corey Coleman (Richardson, Texas/Pearce). The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder is leaning to Baylor over offers from Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Virginia. Coleman qualified for the regional track meet in the long jump and triple jump.
-Oklahoma State was by Arlington Bowie on Monday to see running back Russell Hansbrough (Arlington, Texas/Bowie). The 5-foot-9, 175-pound quick and darting runner has verbal offers from Baylor, TCU, Houston, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa State and SMU. He made an unofficial visit to Auburn over the weekend for the Tigers spring game and the national champions continue to show serious interest.
-Baylor was at Argyle High on Monday to see offensive tackle Trey Keenan (Argyle, Texas). The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder has verbal offers from Texas Tech, Baylor, Tennessee, Purdue, Michigan, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Arizona, Kansas State, Kansas and Colorado along with interest from Texas, Oklahoma State and TCU among others.
-Notre Dame and Texas Tech were at Waco High on Monday to see 2012 cornerback Will Hines (Waco, Texas/Waco High). The 6-foot-1, 165-pounder said on Monday night that Notre Dame (Coach Crooks) and Texas Tech verbally offered Monday. He had previous verbal offers from Baylor and North Texas along with interest from the Big 12, Big 10, Mountain West and C-USA.
Nuts and Bolts
-Paul Strelow of Clemson247 breaks down the Tigers’ defensive targets at last week’s Athens Nike Football Training Camp.
-William Gunter of 247Sports reports that North Carolina is looking good for four-star offensive lineman/defensive lineman D.J. Reader of Greensboro (N.C.) Grimsley.
-Josh Newberg of 247Sports with an in-depth look at Florida State’s spring game weekend. Included in this piece are multiple inside tidbits you will only find from Noles247.