Gators now have best backer class

After Alex Anzalone flipped again and decided to enroll at Florida as opposed to Notre Dame, it not only changed the 247Sports team rankings (Gators are now up to No. 3, the Irish slipped to No. 5), but also gives the Gators the top linebacker class in the country, a title that once belonged to Notre Dame.

Alex Anzalone's flip gives Florida the top linebacker class in the country for the 2013 cycle.

Five linebacker prospects are heading to Gainesville, including three- Anzalone, Matt Rolin and Daniel McMillian, that enrolled early and will participate in spring practice. The other two- four-star James Hearns and three-star Jarrad Davis are firmly committed.

Rolin, Anzalone and Hearns all three are big linebackers that can run and play physical while McMillian (who isn’t what you would call small) and Davis are more leaner types that will strike you and make big plays. 

All five have a chance to have great careers in Gainesville.

What’s perhaps more impressive is that of the five, three were previously committed to other programs- Anzalone to Notre Dame, Rolin to South Carolina and Davis to Auburn, so persistence paid off for the Gators in all of those cases.

As for Notre Dame, don’t feel sorry for the Irish. The nation’s top linebacker prospect, Jaylon Smith is still in the fold, along with Doug Randolph and Michael Deeb. Losing Anzalone does smart a bit, but Notre Dame is going to be just fine at linebacker moving forward.

Huge weekend in Tuscaloosa

Alabama will play host to the following prospects not currently on its commit list this weekend.

Laremy Tunsil, OT, Lake City (Fla.) Columbia
Matthew Thomas, OLB, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington
Tony Conner, S, Batesville (Miss.) South Panola
Tim Williams, DE, Baton Rouge (La.) Southern Lab
Dee Liner, DL, Muscle Shoals (Ala.) (Auburn commit)
Austin Golson, OT, Prattville (Ala.) (Florida State commit)
Jay-nard Bostwick, DT/DE, Port Saint Lucie (Fla.) West Centennial 

This is quite a collection of targets for the two-time defending national champions. Tunsil, Thomas and Conner all three are out-of-state five-star prizes and the others are highly-regarded as well. Alabama has the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class in 2013 and with so many highly-regarded prospects still in play, it doesn’t seem to be too much of a stretch to say the Tide is the prohibitive favorite to finish No. 1 in the recruiting class rankings for the third straight cycle. 

Rich getting richer is an understatement here.

Ohio State is considered the team to beat for five-star safety Vonn Bell heading into his official visit this weekend. Can the Buckeyes lock him down?

Link- Alabama Visits

Bell highlights Ohio State weekend

Ohio State has always been one of the top choices for five-star safety Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga./Ridgeland) and this weekend, the Buckeyes get to roll out the red carpet for the talented defensive back on his official visit to Columbus. Of late, the word has been that the Buckeyes have edged ahead of Alabama and Tennessee for Bell’s services, so it goes without saying this weekend will be key in his recruitment.

Outside of Bell, here’s the rest of the non-commit visits for Ohio State this weekend.

Cornelius Elder, ATH, Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth
Shelton Gibson, WR, Cleveland Heights (Ohio)
Ryan Timmons, RB/ATH, Frankfort (Ky.) Franklin County
Christopher Worley, DE, Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville

The Buckeyes currently have the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class according to 247Sports.

Link- Ohio State visits

Big times for Tunsil

The next two weekends, the nation's top offensive line prospect Laremy Tunsil visits his two favorites- Alabama and Georgia.

The recruitment of the nation’s top offensive line prospect, Tunsil, hits the home stretch the next two weekends as he makes official visits to favorites Alabama and Georgia. Ole Miss and then Florida State will get his final two visits before he decides, likely on signing day. 

Heading into this set of visits, the Bulldogs would have to be considered a slight favorite, but this weekend the Tide can seize some momentum for the 6-foot-6, 295-pounder. I’d also watch out for the Seminoles on that last weekend. All along, I’ve had a hunch that in the end, he could surprise and stay in-state and if there’s a team that has a shot at doing it, it’s FSU. I think it’s more of a puncher’s chance than anything right now, but it is still worth keeping an eye on.

Twitter talk on Adams

In the Twitterverse today, an interesting conversation/quick analysis broke out about the likely destination of five-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County). My good friend @InTheBleachers commented that if he were Adams, he’d be looking more at schools with 4-3 defenses than 3-4 defenses, following a report that Adams was meeting with Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who runs a 3-4, Friday morning. Then, @SBNRecruiting responded “Clemson offers both a 4-3 and immediate PT. He'd start there Day 1. I think Montravius Adams will be a Tiger.”

I tend to agree with both points. Adams is more of a three technique and Clemson, with its 4-3 alignment, is a better fit. The Tigers also have been near the top of the list from Day 1, so the “stronger longer” theory applies here. That being said, Georgia has charged hard in recent months and it’s not like it would be a surprise if he ended up in Athens. At this point, it appears those two programs are in the best shape, though.

Adams officially visits Clemson this weekend along with fellow Peach State five-star prospect Carl Lawson.

Foster taking a trip

Five-star linebacker Reuben Foster visits Washington this weekend. Credit the Huskies with getting him to visit, but they are a major longshot. It’s still expected that Foster ends up close to home at Auburn, Georgia or Alabama when all is said and done. Though the Bulldogs are right there and feel good right now, there is a feeling that in the end, the Tigers are going to be tough to beat. Handicapping it here on Jan. 11, I’d say 50.5 percent to Auburn. That’s a change from earlier in the week when I said it would be UGA.

California connection

Tahaan Goodman visits Oklahoma this weekend, but right now the prediction is UCLA. Can the Sooners sway another from the Golden State?

Four-star defensive backs Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and L.J. Moore (Fresno, Calif./Central East) highlight the official visitors this weekend at Oklahoma. The Sooners have brought more California prospects in for official visits this recruiting cycle than any other state and already have four-star safety Hatari Byrd, Moore’s teammate, committed. Goodman is one of the top defensive back prospects in the country and would be a huge prize, though most believe he is likely to remain on the west coast when all is said and done.

Florida, Ohio prospects flock to UK

New Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and his staff play host to their first big visit weekend. Among the scheduled are four-star quarterback Asiantii Woulard (Winter Park, Fla.), three-star defensive end and USC commit Jason Hatcher (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) and under-the-radar running back JoJo Kemp (Deland, Fla.), a former USF commit. Of the 12 scheduled visitors, eight are from Florida and three are from Ohio, two states that were mentioned prominently when Stoops was hired as recruiting battlegrounds his presence would help in.

Link- Kentucky visits

The latest predictions

Here’s where I think on Jan. 11 the top uncommitted prospects will end up...

Robert Nkemdiche- Ole Miss
Montravius Adams- Clemson
Laremy Tunsil- Georgia
Tony Conner- Ole Miss
Reuben Foster- Auburn
Eddie Vanderdoes- USC
Matthew Thomas- Florida State
Alex Collins- Florida
Vonn Bell- Ohio State
Priest Willis- UCLA
Mackensie Alexander- Clemson
Tahaan Goodman- UCLA
Stacy Coley- Florida State
Tim Williams- Florida State
Tyrone Crowder- Clemson
Alvin Kamara- Georgia
Isaac Savaiinaea- UCLA
Elijah Daniel- Ole Miss
Asiantii Woulard- Kentucky
Kylie Fitts- USC


Auburn plays host to several official visitors this weekend, but most are committed. The one big un-pledged prize is four-star linebacker Zach Cunningham (Pinson Valley, Ala.). Most believe the Tigers are the team to beat as new defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson wants him to play the “spur” position in his scheme, a hybrid safety/linebacker spot. Auburn could possibly wrap this one up in the coming days. ....Tennessee and first-year head coach Butch Jones will try to sway several prospects committed elsewhere as four-star running back Johnathan Ford (New Hope, Ala.- Vandy commit), three-star offensive tackle Christian Morris (Memphis, Tenn./East- UCLA commit) and three-star linebacker Jonathan Walton (Daphne, Ala./Bayside Academy) all are on the visit list for the weekend. Also, defensive end Jason Carr (Memphis, Tenn./White Station) is on the Vols commit list, but has been shaky. Tennessee will try to firm things up during his visit. ...Michigan has offensive tackle Cameron Hunt (committed to Cal), offensive guard Dan Samuelson (committed to Nebraska) and cornerback Reon Dawson (committed to Illinois) visiting this weekend. ...LSU is getting a jump on the Class of 2014 with its “Boys from the Boot” Junior Day this weekend.

JC Shurburtt is the National Recruiting Director for 247Sports. Follow him on Twitter @jcshurburtt

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