With the presidential election just days away and the battleground states playing a big part in the country's next commander-in-chief, there is not a better time to take a look at six key "battleground recruits" for the Midwest region in the 2013 class.
6. Gareon Conley, CB, Massillon (Ohio) Washington
The four-star cornerback has been committed to Michigan since March, but that hasn’t kept programs such as Ohio State and Oregon from continuing to make their pitch – and that includes plans to play the versatile prospect on offense. This recruitment is a classic battle of an in-state prospect committed to an out of state program and rival, and the in-state power looking to flex their muscles and continue to build momentum under a new regime.
National Analyst Steve Wiltfong on Conley’s recruitment: “Since Tuesday’s report where Conley’s mother told Ohio State 247Sports affiliate Bucknuts.com that her son was going to call Michigan and tell them his plan to take official visits, we haven’t heard much on this front. Wolverines head coach Brady Hoke has been firm in the past on pulling scholarships from commits that want to take visits. Ohio State and Oregon were the programs Conley’s mother mentioned as potential official visits, and both schools are giving Conley the opportunity to play receiver as well. If Conley indeed has the recruiting process opened up, the Buckeyes would likely become the team to beat, however there is genuine interest in the Ducks. Definitely a lot of different situations to monitor regarding Conley.”
5. Elijah Daniel, DE, Avon (Ind.)
The Top247 defender is not the typical battleground recruitment. While Daniel currently resides in Indiana, he’s from the state of Alabama with eyes on programs in the south. With that said, Indiana is trying desperately to grab some recruiting momentum, and keeping one of the nations top 2013 prospects in-state would be a huge step in that regard. Even though Daniel remains on the commit list of the Clemson, there is virtually no chance that the 6-foot-3, 249-pounder with elite quickness will end up signing with the Tigers.
National Analyst Steve Wiltfong on Daniel’s recruitment: “Ask the voters from Florida, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, and they’ll all tell you they’re getting Daniel. Indiana is trying to be a player in this race, but the only thing that seems clear at this point is the Hoosier State standout will not sign with Clemson come early February. A Tigers commit since June, the SEC programs have grabbed the momentum. Florida was at one time Daniel’s favorite. He had really good visit to Ole Miss. He’s known his recruiter at Mississippi State, Tim Brewster, a long time. Arizona State is another school to watch. For now we give the slight edge to the Gators but this election remains fluid.”
4. Darius Latham, OL/DL, Indianapolis (Ind.) North Central
The one-time Wisconsin commitment is now leaning to staying home and playing for Indiana. Needless to say, this is a key recruitment for the Hoosiers for reasons mentioned above in Daniel’s recruitment. With that said, Wisconsin has not thrown in the towel and the four-star prospect remains a fluid recruitment.
National Analyst Steve Wiltfong on Latham’s recruitment: “Wisconsin lost a huge piece to its 2013 campaign when Latham decommitted from the Badgers on Oct. 15. Indiana appears to be the candidate in front but Wisconsin is not giving up. Badgers head coach Bret Bielema is expected to visit on Friday and assistant Eddie Faulkner will stick around town all day and attend Latham’s game in the evening. Since reopening the process, Latham has visited Indiana and wants to get back to Bloomington with his mother. The Hoosiers have also offered Latham an opportunity to play basketball as well. Several other schools have inquired about Latham since he reopened the process including a few SEC programs but for now this looks like a two-team race with the in-state program out in front.”
3. James Quick, WR, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity
The Top247 wide receiver is a pure battleground recruitment. Hometown Louisville, who is enjoying a terrific season, is trying hard to fight off neighboring Ohio State and all the momentum being created by the hire of Urban Meyer and the season unfolding for the Buckeyes. Ohio State will take their official visit swing in late November, but the trail the Cardinals at this point.
National Analyst Steve Wiltfong on Quick’s recruitment: “Louisville is the hometown favorite for the local star, and Charlie Strong’s future with the Cardinals could have a lot to do with where Quick signs. Ohio State is the other major candidate in the race and Quick sees opportunity in Columbus. He’s been to a few Louisville games this year and he also attended Ohio State’s win over Nebraska. Quick take his official visit to see the Buckeyes again the weekend of Nov. 24 for the Michigan game. Oregon and Tennessee would like to get a crack at Quick as well but currently trail in the polls. If Strong doesn’t leave for another gig, Louisville likely wins this race but Urban Meyer at Ohio State is the best closer in college football recruiting.”
2. David Dawson, OG, Detroit (Mi.) Cass Technical
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Dawson has gone from a Michigan commitment, to now favoring in-state Michigan State with a number of traditional powers trying pull the upset and pry the Top247 prospect out of the Midwest region.
National Analyst Steve Wiltfong on Dawson’s recruitment: “The former Michigan commit will likely see the Wolverines once a year on the next level as his top three currently consists of Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Dawson would like to be in East Lansing this weekend for the Nebraska game, Madison on Nov. 17 for the Ohio State game and Columbus on Nov. 24 for the Michigan game. Those programs could know more about where they stand after Thanksgiving. Alabama, Florida, LSU, UCLA and USC are other schools Dawson has mentioned but staying closer to home is important here. Dawson has two teammates currently committed to Michigan State so the Spartans could have the slight edge but this one is too close to call at this point.”
1. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Crete (Ill.) Crete-Monee
There is not a more important prospect in the region for programs to keep close to home than the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Treadwell. While Treadwell hails from Illinois, it’s seemingly up to Michigan to keep one of the nations to playmakers from heading south for the next four years.
National Analyst Steve Wiltfong on Treadwell’s recruitment: “Michigan nearly landed its man in early-July at The Opening in Oregon, but Treadwell decided he didn’t have all the information and needed to continue through the recruiting process. Fast forward four months later and the pride of the Lincoln State is still nowhere near making a college decision. The Wolverines are still involved but Ole Miss is the program that has surged. He’s visited the Rebels campus twice since the summer. Oklahoma is in the picture. Treadwell has had to cancel two trips to Norman but plans to get there at some point. Michigan State and Oklahoma State round out the top five and Notre Dame is hanging around as well. Illinois and Florida remain in touch. Still a long way to go here, impossible to call it, wouldn’t be surprised to see it go to National Signing Day, and wouldn’t be surprised to see new leaders emerge. Treadwell intends on taking all five officials. So far he’s taken zero of those allotted trips.”
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