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National Notes: Gators impress

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

Florida head coach Will Muschamp has an outstanding recruiting background and has the Gators off to a fast start with the table set for possibly more in the 2012 cycle.

Florida’s class setting up well

Florida, under first-year head coach Will Muschamp, is putting together an excellent class. Seven of the Gators’ nine current commits are rated four-stars or higher, including Jessamen Dunker (Boynton Beach, Fla.), who is the No. 25 overall prospect in the nation and part of a cluster of talented offensive tackles nationally toward the top.

Florida has recruited the Sunshine State and Georgia quite well early.

The Gators had multiple unofficial visitors on campus Saturday for the Orange and Blue spring game and the early returns from prospects like four-star defensive end/linebacker Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson), four-star athlete Marcus Maye (Melbourne, Fla./Holy Trinity and four-star offensive tackle Avery Young (Palm Beach, Fla./Central) all were extremely positive. McCord named Florida his leader, Maye confirmed that the Gators led and Young now has to be considered an extremely strong lean to UF.

Florida also is in the top five for the nation’s top outside linebacker prospect, Noor Davis (The Villages, Fla./The Villages).

Four-star tight end Colin Thompson also named Florida as one of his top schools and plans a return trip this spring.

That’s just a sampling of the reaction from Saturday. At this point, counting only commitments, you have to say that Alabama, Florida State, Florida and USC have the best four classes in the country. If some of these top-shelf prospects fall Florida’s way, the Gators could turn what already is a great class into one of the best in the country for the 2012 cycle.

It’s no surprise that Muschamp and his staff are able to recruit. He cut his teeth in coaching working for master recruiters like Nick Saban and Mack Brown, two of the best recruiting head coaches in the history of the game.

Brian Kelly and his staff have been outstanding in recruiting thus far at Notre Dame. The forthcoming spring game (this weekend) will be an important weekend for this recruiting cycle.

Three quick thoughts

-Brian Kelly and his staff at Notre Dame have done an outstanding job on the recruiting trail during their first couple of recruiting cycles on the job. The Fighting Irish spring game is coming up and they will play host to top prospects from across the country. It will be interesting to see how many commits they get or how much groundwork is laid for top-shelf prospects during that weekend. 

-In the 2011 class, Washington was able to keep Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Kasen Williams, Bishop Sankey and other in-state prospects at home to play for the Huskies. There’s another great opportunity in this cycle with offensive linemen Joshua Garnett (Puyallup, Wash.) and Zach Banner (Lakewood, Wash./Lakes) and running back Keivarae Russell (Everett, Wash./Mariner) all in the Top247.

-Penn State has to be considered the team to beat for four-star cornerback Armani Reeves (West Roxbury, Mass./Catholic Memorial) with good friend and teammate, four-star linebacker Camren Williams already committed there, but one darkhorse could be Stanford. During an interview a few weeks ago, Reeves seemed intrigued by the Cardinal and the academics at Stanford, etc.

Seminoles building a defensive line

There is no doubt about it- Florida State is putting a defensive line together that has the potential to be one of the best in the country at some point.

In the 2011 class, which was ranked No. 2 nationally, the Seminoles inked five-star defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (Lake City, Fla./Columbia), five-star junior college defensive end Cornelius Carradine (El Dorado, Kan./Butler Community College) and four-star defensive tackles Derrick Mitchell (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) and Nile Lawrence-Stample (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Nova).

In this class, the Seminoles have five-star defensive end Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas/Ryan), four-star ends Dante Fowler (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) and Chris Casher (Mobile, Ala./Faith Academy) as well as four-star defensive tackle Dalvon Stuckey (Defuniak Springs, Fla./Walton) committed. That in and of itself is an excellent group, but when you combine it with the 2011 group, there is special potential here.

Jamil Pollard is a huge get for Penn State.

Speaking of Florida State, the Seminoles got their first commit of the 2013 class when Noles247 broke the news that Prattville (Ala.) offensive lineman Austin Golson (Prattville, Ala.) committed.

Pollard a huge get for Lions

We wrote earlier that this year is setting up well for Penn State and the Nittany Lions added another big commit during the weekend when four-star defensive tackle/offensive lineman Jamil Pollard (Westville, N.J./West Deptford) committed to Penn State. The word early on Pollard is that he wouldn’t go too far from home, so Rutgers and the Nittany Lions were thought to be the teams to beat and that held true. Multiple college coaching staffs from across the country that scouted Pollard felt he was the real deal. Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and others all had offered the 6-foot-4, 270-pounder. Pollard is the No. 18 defensive tackle prospect in the country and the sixth-ranked overall prospect in New Jersey for the 2012 class.

Below are some notes from Texas from National Recruiting Analyst Gerry Hamilton

Baylor leads for Coleman

Athlete and The247 member Corey Coleman (Richardson, Texas/Pearce) continues to be one of the more heavily recruited prospects in the Lone Star state.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound jet has five offers on the table and one has taken the lead.

“I have offers from Baylor, West Virginia, Virginia, Oklahoma State and Clemson,” Coleman said Sunday afternoon. “Baylor is really high on my list right now,”

Defensive tackle Darian Allen (Dallas, Texas/Samuel) is getting plenty of attention.

The receiver, running back, defensive back and kick return man is expecting more offers during the May evaluation period.

“I think LSU and Oregon may offer when they come see me in May.” he said.

Coleman is not only a hit on the football field, but is also a starter on the basketball court and will be a regional qualifier in track.

Texas quick hitters

-Defensive tackle Darian Allen (Dallas, Texas/Samuel) is receiving interest from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, TCU, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State, UCLA and a number of others in the Big 12 and Big 10. The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder attended practice at Oklahoma recently as well as North Texas. Louisiana Tech has also been trying to get Allen on campus.

-Freshman Nick Harvey (Lancaster, Texas) will be one of the most heavily recruited prospects in the 2014 class. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder with 4.5-speed started at cornerback and quarterback at different points during the 2010 season. He lists LSU, Texas, Texas Tech, Florida and Florida State as his favorites. Harvey has run in the 10.8’s in the 100-meters this spring.

-Defensive back Jordan Smith (DeSoto, Texas) is receiving interest from Oklahoma, Penn State, Kansas State, Syracuse and Houston among others. The 6-foot-0, 180-pounder has been invited to junior days at Kansas State, Oklahoma and Houston.

-Quarterback Jared Johnson (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie) has an offer from North Texas. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder is also receiving interest from Oklahoma State, Tulsa and West Virginia among others.

James Brooks should have double-digit offers in the near future.

-Safety David Busby (Coppell, Texas) is receiving interest from Nebraska, Baylor, Texas Tech and SMU among others. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder is in line to receive his first offers during the May evaluation period.

-Quarterback Kyle Bludau (Schulenberg, Texas) is receiving interest from Rice, Houston, Texas A&M and others. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder will likely be recruited as an athlete.

Brooks keeps rising

At Saturday’s Elite Scouting Services Combine in Seffner, Fla., wide receiver James Brooks (Groveland, Fla./South Lake) continued to impress, winning the offensive MVP of the event. Most who were there covering the event agree that Brooks will end up with multiple major offers when all is said and done and that they will come sooner rather than later. You look at what he does in person, his physical presence and combine that with his junior film and that adds up to a big-time prospect.

Nuts and Bolts

-Scott Schrader of FightOn247 talks to Top247 linebacker Scott Starr (Norco, Calif.) about his recent visits to USC and UCLA.

-Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts with a look inside Ohio State recruiting

-Rusty Mansell of 247Sports reports that the nation’s No. 66 overall prospect, Ricky Parks (Hogansville, Ga./Callaway) is down to Georgia, Alabama and Auburn.

-Paul Strelow of Clemson247 reports that four-star quarterback Chad Kelly (Buffalo, N.Y./St. Joseph School) is favoring Clemson after visiting this weekend.

-Sean Scherer of SpartanTailgate reports that Michigan State is the first Big Ten offer for Ohio offensive lineman Zach Higgins.

-Jon Leggette of CarolinaBlue reports North Carolina got its third commit of the 2012 class from defensive tackle J.J. Patterson (Roanoake Rapids, N.C.). That’s the same school the Heels signed defensive end Kareem Martin out of in the 2010 class.

-Josh Low of 247Sports broke the news of linebacker T.J. Holloman committing to South Carolina. It’s the second verbal of the 2012 cycle for the Gamecocks.

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