July 6, 2007

Breakdown: Southeast's top uncommitted prospects

The race for many of the Southeast's top prospects is heating up. Rivals.com recruiting analyst JC Shurburtt brings you the latest on 25 of the region's best prospects, plus speculation on which teams he feels are in the driver's seat at this point and what schools could sneak into the picture. Here's the breakdown.






Top 25 uncommitted in the Southeast


Julio Jones, WR, Foley (Ala.)


Jones in action


July Take: Jones hasn't made a lot of comments about which schools lead for him. His actions this summer tell us that the three major Florida programs (particularly Florida State) are in the mix. Alabama certainly is in the picture, along with LSU. The best guess here is that the Tide, Tigers and Noles are the three serious players, though any time the Gators are involved with a prospect they have a shot, same with the Canes, USC and many of Jones' other suitors.


Team to Beat: ALABAMA


Darkhorse: FLORIDA STATE


T.J. Bryant, CB, Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln


Bryant in action


July Take: It's difficult to get a top prospect out of Lincoln High that Florida State wants and there is little doubt the Noles want Bryant, who currently is rated as the nation's top cornerback prospect. That being said, Florida, Miami (Fla.), LSU, Alabama, Auburn, USC and many others are in the picture right now with FSU. That's how it stands in July. It will be interesting to see how this one develops and how much stronger the Seminoles become down the stretch. Could this be one that Bobby Bowden and company let get away? Not likely.


Team to Beat: FLORIDA STATE


Darkhorse: LSU


Tyler Love, OT, Mountain Brook (Ala.)


Love in action


July Take: Alabama's top offensive line prospect has scholarship offers from nearly every major program in the South and has been carefully weighing his options. Love recently narrowed his list of schools to Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Oklahoma. Texas also recently got involved. Many feel that the 6-foot-7, 290-pounder is a lock to stay in-state and play for the Crimson Tide. They will get no arguments here. If an upset of mammoth proportions occurs, watch the Gators and Bulldogs.


Team to Beat: ALABAMA


Darkhorse: FLORIDA


Marcus Forston, DT, Miami (Fla.) Northwestern


Forston in action


July Take: The hometown Hurricanes have led for Forston through most of the process. While that still may be the case, Forston is saying that all teams currently are even and that he plans to weigh his options carefully. Notre Dame is a team that has made up a lot of ground recently as new defensive coordinator Corwin Brown continues to show he's an excellent recruiter (he has South Florida and Forston for the Irish). Forston also has a connection to Florida State (his girlfriend goes to school there). Still, it's hard to see anyone beating the Canes on this one in the end.


Team to Beat: MIAMI


Darkhorse: NOTRE DAME



Burton Scott, ATH, Prichard (Ala.) Vigor

Scott in action


July Take: Scott has made a couple of unofficial visits this summer, including one to Florida, and the Gators have emerged as his favorite. The versatile athlete enjoyed his trip to Gainesville immensely and felt like UF was a place he could fit in. Alabama remains strongly in the picture here, though, and the Tide should be considered a major factor as well. Miami, Florida State and USC round out his current top five.


Team to Beat: FLORIDA


Darkhorse: ALABAMA


Matt Patchan, OT, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood

Patchan in action


July Take: Patchan has been making unofficial visits this summer. He's been to Georgia, LSU and others and had previously been to Miami and Florida. The Canes, where his father played football, and Gators have long been considered the favorites for the 6-foot-7, 265-pounder, but LSU made quite an impression when he took an unofficial to Baton Rouge last month. Patchan wants to play both ways in college (he has the talent and drive to at least attempt it), so schools have to give him the opportunity to do so.


Team to Beat: MIAMI


Darkhorse: LSU



Aldarius Johnson, WR, Miami (Fla.) Northwestern


Johnson in action


July Take: Johnson hasn't stated publicly where he wants to go to college or even what he's looking for in a favorite, but all indications are that this one will be a Florida-Miami battle. Johnson noted that the Gators have been recruiting him hard in late May. Heading out of the Canes' prospect camp, however, many felt like it was just a matter of time before Johnson committed to Miami.


Team to Beat: MIAMI


Darkhorse: FLORIDA


DeAndre Brown, WR, Ocean Springs (Miss.)

Brown in action


July Take: There are four schools currently in the mix for Brown's services: LSU, Florida, Auburn and Alabama. The Bayou Bengals and Gators have long been the frontrunners for the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder, with LSU out in front (the school signed Brown's former teammate Richard Dickson in the Class of 2006). Auburn and the Tide have made up some ground and if either can get Brown on campus before the end of summer (he's supposed to attend camp at both) then they can become more heavily involved with Mississippi's top prospect. Florida's chances here may hinge on Brown's potential experience at "Friday Night Lights" Camp on June 20.


Team to Beat: LSU


Darkhorse: AUBURN


Mark Barron, ATH, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul's

Barron in action

July Take: Barron, a versatile athlete that could play a number of positions at the next level, recently narrowed his list to Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU and Auburn. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder has a high school teammate, running back Ivan Matchett, already committed to the Crimson Tide and he has made multiple unofficial visits to Tuscaloosa this spring/summer. It is believed that Barron will make a decision soon and he is a safe bet to stay in-state.


Team to Beat: ALABAMA


Darkhorse: AUBURN



Robert Quinn, DE, North Charleston (S.C.) Fort Dorchester


Quinn in action


July Take: Quinn has been all over the place this summer making unofficial visits, including a trip all the way up to Rutgers. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder holds scholarship offers from most of the major schools in the Southeast and several others. Tennessee, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Alabama, South Carolina and others all appear to be in the picture, along with several more. Quinn has not given any indication of a favorite in interviews. An education opinion at this point is that Quinn could be playing his college football two states to the West.


Team to Beat: ALABAMA


Darkhorse: AUBURN


William Green, DE, Hoover (Ala.) Spain Park

Green in action


July Take: Yet another talented prospect from the Yellowhammer State has avoided making an early decision to date. Green holds scholarship offers from many of the Southeast's top programs. Earlier this summer, the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder narrowed his list of schools to Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Florida State. He recently attended camp in Tuscaloosa and took an unofficial visit to Tallahassee to check out the Noles. It's tough to pull talent out of Alabama that the in-state schools want and Green, like the others, will be difficult to convince to leave. The Gators, however, have been on him hard and are to be watched closely here.


Team to Beat: ALABAMA


Darkhorse: FLORIDA


Dontavius Jackson, RB, Franklin (Ga.) Heard County


Jackson in action


July Take: The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Jackson could end up being the best pure running back in Georgia in this year's class and the in-state Bulldogs have made a major move with him since four-star Martin Ward de-committed a few months ago. Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Penn State also are in the mix for the talented rusher, but one has to like Georgia's chances at this point. The Crimson Tide and Tigers are said t be recruiting him the hardest with assistant coaches Kirby Smart (Alabama) and Chris Rumph (Clemson) leading the way.


Team to Beat: GEORGIA


Darkhorse: CLEMSON


Brice Butler, WR, Norcross (Ga.)

Butler in action


July Take: Butler is a year-one impact player at whatever school he picks and that choice may soon be revealed. The talented pass catcher is closing in on making an announcement and could commit somewhere by the end of this month. Most believe that school will be Southern California, Notre Dame or Florida State, but LSU, Penn State, Arizona State and others all are in the game as well. Butler has made unofficial visits to multiple schools and will be making an informed choice.


Team to Beat: FLORIDA STATE


Darkhorse: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA


Marcus Robinson, LB, Homestead (Fla.)

Robinson in action


July Take: Given his proximity to the campus and relationship with Canes linebackers coach and Homestead native Michael Barrow, it's easy to see why Robinson would be classified as a Miami lean. While that remains a safe bet, the 6-foot-2, 210-pounder has shown interest in other schools, namely USC and Rutgers. It will be tough for the Trojans or Scarlet Knights to land Robinson in the end, though. That is unless USC gets him on campus for a visit and blows him away. You can never underestimate the power of Troy. Long-term, however, it's going to take something unforeseen to get South Florida's top linebacker prospect away from the Canes.


Team to Beat: MIAMI


Darkhorse: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA



Chris Tolliver, WR, Rayville (La.)

Tolliver in action


July Take: Tolliver has camped at Alabama this summer and enjoyed his time there and is set to visit LSU this month unofficially. Ole Miss and Auburn also continue to recruit Tolliver, who caught 76 passes a year ago. As is the case with Georgia kids and the University of Georgia and Alabama kids with Auburn and Bama, it is tough to land a kid out of Louisiana that LSU wants. In his public comments, Tolliver has remained wide open, so one has to believe that other programs have a shot here. In the end, however, the Bayou Bengals will be difficult to topple.


Team to Beat: LSU


Darkhorse: Ole Miss


Antoine McClain, OT, Anniston (Ala.)

McClain in action


July Take: McClain has seen his stock soar since emerging at the Atlanta NIKE Combine in February as dozens of offers, many from the top programs in the Southeast, have rolled in. Despite overtures from many of the region's top schools from out-of-state, this appears to be an in-state battle between Auburn and Alabama and likely will go down to the wire. He grew up liking Auburn and the Tigers have done a great job recruiting him, so they have to be considered a major factor here and the favorite.


Team to Beat: AUBURN


Darkhorse: ALABAMA



Etienne Sabino, LB, Miami (Fla.) Krop


Sabino in action


July Take: Like many other prospects, Sabino has toured multiple colleges this summer and there is a chance he will see more this month. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder hasn't given a hint as to a leader, except for a brief period in the spring when North Carolina jumped on top for him. Sabino is looking for a blend of academic and athletic excellence and no doubt will be making an informed decision when the time comes. Many speculate (perhaps validly) that Notre Dame is the team that will emerge as the victor in the race for his services (he has a good relationship with Irish assistant Corwin Brown) but he hasn't been to South Bend yet. It would not be wise to rule out the hometown Canes here.


Team to Beat: NOTRE DAME


Darkhorse: MIAMI


Greg Shaw, OT, Miami (Fla.) Pace

Shaw in action


July Take: In many ways, Shaw is a prospect that is looking for a home. The brother of infamous linebacker recruit Willie Williams (who is now at Louisville), don't look for Shaw to stay at home and play for Miami. Shaw has been to Georgia Tech and Georgia and liked both programs. He also camped at Wisconsin and enjoyed his time in Madison. Florida's Friday Night Lights Camp is next and the Gators have their chance to make a big impression. In-state, Florida is the team to beat, but the feel is that Shaw will play college football outside of the Sunshine State.


Team to Beat: GEORGIA


Darkhorse: LOUISVILLE


Charles Mitchell, CB, Clarksdale (Miss.)

Mitchell in action


July Take: One of Mississippi's top overall prospects, Mitchell is a versatile impact player at the college level. As it stands, it's a safe bet that he will play college football in the Magnolia State as Ole Miss and Mississippi State are after him the hardest. Rebels coach Ed Orgeron and his staff have done an excellent job mining the area around campus (Clarksdale is 63 miles from Oxford and you go through Batesville, home of South Panola High School that has produced a ton of Ole Miss prospects) for talent. But don't count out Mississippi State, which has stepped up its in-state recruiting in recent years.


Team to Beat: OLE MISS


Darkhorse: MISSISSIPPI STATE



Barrett Jones, OL, Memphis (Tenn.) Evangelical Christian

Jones in action


July Take: The state of Tennessee's top overall prospect has taken multiple unofficial visits this summer and holds a bevy of scholarship offers. Trips to Alabama, North Carolina and Florida, along with several others, have gotten good revues from the Jones camp this summer. Jones has a connection to the Crimson Tide as his father played basketball there, but Jones has insisted that he will make his own decision regarding colleges and is considering all suitors.


Team to Beat: ALABAMA


Darkhorse: FLORIDA


Joe Adams, WR/CB, Little Rock (Ark.) Central Arkansas Christian

Adams in action


July Take: Adams has been impressive at every summer camp he has attended, including the Rising Star Camp at USC in late June and the Fort Worth NIKE Camp in April at TCU. He's shined at wide receiver, he's shined at defensive back and he's shown that he is a legitimate Rivals100 candidate. The top prospect in Arkansas historically heads to Fayetteville to play for the Razorbacks, but last year Auburn (Lee Ziemba, Kodi Burns) and Southern California (Broderick Green) signed the state's top three. The Trojans are after Adams, along with Georgia (who once led), Oklahoma and several others.


Team to Beat: ARKANSAS


Darkhorse: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA


Brandon Thompson, DT, Thomasville (Ga.)

Thompson in action


July Take: Thompson and his father have been sold on Clemson for some time. The Tigers were the first school to get on the 6-foot-2, 291-pounder hard and appeared to be on the verge of a verbal commitment earlier this summer. That didn't happen (at least publicly) after Thompson's showing at the Tommy Bowden Football Camp and the most recent updates has the big guy taking more of a look around. Florida, Florida State and Georgia Tech all have moved higher on his list, but the guess here is that the Tigers still are in great shape. If this lasts into the season, however, the chances of the other schools rise significantly.


Team to Beat: CLEMSON


Darkhorse: FLORIDA STATE


Brandon Harris, CB, Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington

Harris in action


July Take: Harris has plenty of schools to choose from, including the hometown Hurricanes, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State and others. The talk around Miami is that he is a lock for the Canes, but he's given other indications in his articles (in a recent interview with BuckeyeGrove.com, he talked about getting away from home and going to college, etc.). Harris, who plays for his father at Booker T. Washington, will weigh all of his options carefully before making a final decision. He's the type of kid that is going to make a choice based on a number of factors.


Team to Beat: MIAMI


Darkhorse: OHIO STATE



Jerrell Harris, LB, Gadsden (Ala.)

Harris in action


July Take: Harris is no different than the other talented prospects in the Yellowhammer State in this class in that he's going to be difficult to pull to an out-of-state school. Take away Auburn and Alabama and Clemson, where he had an excellent camp, likely leads everyone else. But Auburn and the Tide are in hot pursuit so he's a safe bet to stay in-state. It's close between Auburn and Alabama right now, but give the edge to AU at this point.


Team to Beat: AUBURN


Darkhorse: ALABAMA



Keith Wells, DE, Gainesville (Ga.)


Wells in action


July Take: A decision could be on the horizon from Wells and it's looking like he may be playing college football in the state of Florida. The Gators, along with Florida State, Ohio State and Notre Dame, look to be the schools that have the best shot at the 6-foot-5, 215-pound pass rusher. The Seminoles, led by the efforts of assistant coach Jody Allen, have made a huge move as of late and have knifed into what was once a substantial lead for UF. The final outcome could be interesting or he could pick the favorite (Florida) like everyone expects.


Team to Beat: FLORIDA


Darkhorse: FLORIDA STATE



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