After another week of 2013 recruiting happenings, Rivals recaps the top storylines from each BCS conference.
Miami hosted a lengthy list of prospects throughout its spring practice, and last week may have been the Hurricanes’ strongest showing to date. Al Golden and Co. entertained top targets such as four-star wide receiver Jordan Cunningham and three-star defensive tackle Maquedius Bain (a very soft Florida State commit), both of whom seem very high on the ‘Canes.
Saturday’s spring finale also drew a number of high-profile visitors. Among them: Miami committed athlete Jayron Kearse , Miramar (Fla.) linebacker Jermaine Grace and Naples (Fla.) Barron Collier tight end Mike Heuerman , the top-ranked tight end in the state of Florida. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder currently lists LSU, Miami, Notre Dame and Ohio State among his leaders, with Alabama trying to break into the picture.
Miami has landed just one recruit in April (New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr tight end Standish Dobard ) but many more could be on the way. Following a stellar 2012 showing, keep an eye on this program in weeks to come.
With the recent coaching instability at Pitt, the Panthers have scrambled to piece together their last two recruiting classes. Not surprisingly, that’s created several positional holes for Paul Chryst and staff to fill, the biggest coming on the offensive line: Dating back to 2011, the program has signed just four offensive line prospects, including Zenel Demhasaj, a JUCO transfer with just two years of eligibility.
Coming from a tradition of standout offensive linemen at Wisconsin, Chryst has quickly set his sights on bolstering his 2013 front. He’s already issued 14 verbal offers, but has been met with limited success. He’s reeled in just one commitment (from Chambersburg (Pa.) Area’s Aaron Reese , who declared on Saturday) and two of the top in-state linemen, Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny’s Patrick Kluger and Philadelphia (Pa.) William Penn Charter’s Mike McGlinchey , have already pledged elsewhere.
Top priorities moving forward could be Belle Vernon’s (Pa.) Dorian Johnson and Hershey’s (Pa.) Andrew Nelson . Look for the staff to intensify its efforts.
Iowa got on the board with its first three commitments this month, becoming the ninth Big Ten program with at least one early 2013 verbal. They were three big ones: The first came from Indianapolis (Ind.) Pike’s David Kenney , an explosive pass-rusher ranked as the nation’s No. 8 weakside defensive end, the second came from Rock Island’s (Ill.) Derrick Willies , a three-star wide receiver whose stock is starting to soar, and the third came from Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech’s Delano Hill , a three-star safety who also held offers to Illinois and Syracuse.
The Hawkeyes are positioning themselves to hit the spring evaluation period with momentum, and are among the frontrunners to land West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley tight end Jon Wisnieski and Cleveland (Ohio) St. Edward safety Solomon Warfield . After a slow start, Kirk Ferentz and Co. are gaining steam — and securing another commitment before the end of April wouldn’t be surprising in the least.
Though Baylor assembled a commendable class in 2012 (No. 45 in the Rivals’ team rankings) many analysts expected it to be better following an incredibly strong season culminating in a Heisman Trophy for quarterback Robert Griffin III. However, that success has translated to 2013: After a sluggish start, the Bears now have six verbals, including one from Killeen (Texas) Shoemaker running back Johnny Jefferson , who flipped from Texas AM.
Art Briles picked up his biggest pledge to date in Wylie (Texas) East four-star wideout Vequan Jones , a Rivals250 talent who had offers from every major conference but opted to stay close to home. Baylor remains in the running for several other of Texas’ top recruits and could use last season’s triumphs to land a fair share of them.
Colorado received some bad news last week, as it was revealed that junior wide receiver Paul Richardson will miss the 2012 season with an injured knee. However, coach Jon Embree is continuing his efforts on the recruiting trail. A number of talented prospects arrived to Boulder for the program’s junior day, including many from out of state: Santa Margarita’s (Calif.) Dane Crane , Riley Sorenson and Connor O’Brien were all in attendance.
But the most encouraging post-Richardson happening? The Buffaloes landed a blue-chip quarterback in Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep’s Sefo Liufau . The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder threw for 2,253 yards and 23 touchdowns last year and could provide an instant spark under center. Colorado had a trying first season beneath Embree and could face an uphill battle again this year. But thanks to strong recruiting efforts, help could be on the horizon.
There’s still two weeks left in April, but Georgia has already had a busy — and productive — month. Through Sunday, the Bulldogs have 15 verbals in the class of 2013 and six have come since April 6.
The most recent additions are South Gwinnett (Ga.) linebacker Reginald Carter , Camden County (Ga.) cornerback J.J. Green and Ocala (Fla.) North Marion cornerback Reggie Wilkerson , a trio of defensive standouts. Carter has been somewhat under the radar after missing last season with a torn ACL, but is thought to be an excellent pickup. Green, though just 5-foot-9, has tremendous speed, athleticism and instincts.
Georgia is doing especially well at home, as nine of its commits are from in-state. It’s part of a larger Bulldogs’ trend. Following the weekend, Mark Richt also has three 2014 pledges, all from within Georgia borders: Atlanta (Ga.) St. Pius X safety Nick Glass , Bethlehem (Ga.) George Walton running back Stanley Williams and Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek wide receiver Demarre Kitt .
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