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National Notes: Underrated in Texas

A look around the world of college football recruiting...

Taiwan Johnson is one of the most underrated prospects in Texas for the 2012 cycle.

Here’s a look at five prospects from the state of Texas who are underrated at the moment.

Taiwan Johnson, DE, Manvel (Texas)

The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder continues to receive very little press, but his offer list is expanding by the week. On Monday, Boise State offered the end with a powerful closing burst. The Broncos followed Arizona State and Missouri offers on Friday. Arkansas, Nebraska, Rice, Kansas State and Washington State have offered previously. Johnson recently made an unofficial visit to Baylor for the Bears spring game, the same for Rice and will be at the Texas A&M spring game April 16.

Ryan Reid, CB, Sherman (Texas)

The Lone Star state doesn’t have a nationally ranked, can’t miss corner in the 2012 class, but they have a lot of really solid prospects. One of those is the speedy Ryan Reid, who was an all-district pick as a sophomore at Dallas South Oak Cliff before transferring to Sherman for his junior season. The 5-foot-9, 182-pounder with ball skills and closing speed has verbal offers from Texas Tech, Arizona and Baylor along with interest from Texas, Texas A&M and many others. Reid is a prospect that will likely have double digit offers by the end of the May evaluation period.

Jamal Palmer, DE/LB, McKinney (Texas) Boyd

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Palmer is one of the true sleepers in Texas despite playing in the Dallas area. While he is a bit of tweener with his future position in question, weak side defensive end or outside linebacker, Palmer is football play pure and simple. He has a very quick first step, understands leverage and is naturally strong with the body type to carry 235-240-pounds. He has edge pass rushing ability. Baylor has verbally offered to date, while many in the Big 12, Mountain West, C-USA and Big 10 programs taking a look. Palmer will see his offer list grow in May.

DeVante Harris, CB, Mesquite (Texas) Horn

Boone Feldt's brother was a Division I prospect that signed with Arkansas, so it's surprising he hasn't picked up an offer yet. We think he will.

Harris was a hit on Sunday at the Nike NFTC in Fort Worth and it wasn’t the first time the 5-foot-11, 160-pound instinctive corner had showed well at a camp or combine. He was also a hit at the Under Armour combine in Dallas in the spring of 2010 as well as Kansas camp in the summer of 2010. Harris currently has offers from SMU, Virginia, Mississippi State and North Texas along with interest from Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas Tech and TCU among others. Look for Harris to reach double-digit offers by the end of May. Harris has football in the bloodlines. His father is former Texas A&M receiver Rod Harris.

Boone Feldt, C, Buda (Texas) Hays

The 6-foot-3, 280-pound Feldt is still waiting on his initial verbal offer, amazingly enough. While he plays tackle and projects to center and his father, head coach Blake Feldt made the move from Pilot Point to Buda Hays, it’s very surprising Feldt is yet to be offered. Programs such as Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Kansas, SMU, Baylor, Kansas State, Texas Tech and others are showing interest. Feldt is the younger brother of Arkansas freshman guard Cameron Feldt.

Three quick thoughts

-At this point, even though there is a hard push coming from Miami (Fla.) and other programs, it would still be a surprise if Top247 wide receiver Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Ely) switched his commitment from LSU, where brother Patrick Peterson starred. He‘s always wanted to go there and while there could be twists and turns and anything could happen, the prediction here is that he signs with the Tigers.

-Almost every recruiting cycle in the state of North Carolina, you can find a defensive lineman in a rural part of the state that can play. Ten bucks to a donut that J.J. Patterson, from Roanoke Rapids High, turns out to be a player for UNC, where he committed last week. In fairness, Patterson isn’t a complete unknown. Current Tar Heels defensive end Kareem Martin, who has a promising future, came out of that town, which is situated near the Virginia border in the northern part of the state, two recruiting cycles ago.

-The response from prospects about Stanford has continued to be high, despite the transition to David Shaw from Jim Harbaugh. There’s no question that Harbaugh was a great coach and a dynamic recruiter as a head coach, but with the Cardinal poised to have a big season in 2011, we expect them to sign another talented class. 

Penn State is red hot

Jarron Jones is Penn State's first five-star commit for the 2012 class.

Five-star defensive tackle Jarron Jones (Rochester, N.Y./Aquinas) gave a verbal commitment to Penn State on Tuesday night, continuing the Nittany Lions hot streak in the early stages of the 2012 class. Jones is the second top trenchman to commit to Penn State in three days as Top247 lineman Jamil Pollard (Westville, N.J./West Deptford) committed during the weekend. We said 20 days ago that the table was set for Penn State in 2012 because of the amount of talent in its recruiting footprint (the area in which in normally recruits) and that has held true. The Nittany Lions are arguably the most tradition-rich program in the Northeast and when there are top prospects like Jones in Upstate New York and four-star linebacker Camren Williams in the Boston area, Penn State needs to get them. So far, so good. Penn State has six verbal commits from six different states and four of them are ranked four-stars or above and are in The247.

Nuts and Bolts

-Ryan Callhan of GVX247 reports on five-star quarterback Zeke Pike and his recent visit to Tennessee.

-North Carolina remains the team to beat for athlete Brandon Napoleon (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s Prep), but Rutgers is right behind the Heels and closing.

-Jamie Oakes of Wahoos247

 reports four-star receiver Anthony Cooper is set to visit Virginia.

-Expect many of the nation’s top prospects to continue to visit Auburn unofficially this summer. There’s an increased interest nationally after the national championship season.

-Josh Low of 247Sports interviews five-star Devin Fuller (Old Tappan, N.J.)

-Though the nation’s No. 2 cornerback, Geno Smith (Atlanta, Ga./St. Pius X) has Alabama in the lead currently, expect Georgia to make a strong push before all is said and done.

-Jeff Howe of reports on an emerging 2013 offensive tackle from Texas.

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