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January 30, 2011

Roundtable: Biggest visits of weekend

ROUNDTABLES: Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Full NSD coverage

Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on National Signing Day topics every day leading up to Feb. 2.

What single weekend visit is the most crucial?

Barry Every: Miami has a dire need for a quality quarterback and the Hurricanes have the last visit with Jacoby Brissett, who can do it all. If they somehow persuade Brissett to become a Hurricane it would really put Al Golden and his staff on the map as recruiters. And he will be able to compete early because the depth chart at the QB position is horrific.

Mike Farrell: I think this weekend's Auburn visit for Cyrus Kouandjio is a major deal. I know a lot of people feel he will follow his brother, Arie Kouandjio, to Alabama. I tend to agree, but Auburn has one of the best recruiting staffs in the country, it is coming off a national title and gets the last shot at the nation's top tackle. The Tigers have a chance to pull a major stunner here.

Adam Gorney: There are higher-rated prospects on the road this weekend but Tennessee has put in a ton of work with four-star linebacker Lamar Dawson and might be able to close the deal this weekend. Apparently, three coaches - including head coach Derek Dooley - had an in-home visit with the Danville (Ky.) Boyle County standout and then Dawson visited Knoxville with his mother and grandmother. Others are certainly involved but some think the Volunteers have moved up significantly.

Chris Nee: This weekend when Miami hosts West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett. The Hurricanes have a major need at quarterback and have a lot of work to do with Brissett, but he could be a huge piece to their class and the immediate future for Al Golden.

Keith Niebuhr: Lamar Dawson to Tennessee. Do the Vols have a legitimate shot at landing the country's No. 45 player? This weekend's trip should determine that. Kentucky has long been the favorite to land the Danville, Ky., native but with Tennessee getting the last shot it can't be ruled out.

Brian Perroni: Miami desperately needs a quarterback in this class after the defection of Teddy Bridgewater to Louisville. The new coaching staff has not had much time to get to know Rivals100 quarterback Jacoby Brissett but really needs to make a big impression.

What surprising position change do you predict to happen next fall among the top prospects headed to college?

Barry Every: With Auburn signing two very talented offensive linemen in Christian Westerman and Reese Dismukes, I can see them both cross-training at guard to get the best five linemen on the field. I can also see Timmy Jernigan playing some strongside defensive end because he is just so quick and powerful off the ball. Malcolm Mitchell could end up at receiver, especially since Georgia's offense has been a bit droll over the past two years.

Mike Farrell: I don't know if it will be much of a surprise but I think Demetrius Hart won't see his early playing time at Alabama as a running back but more as a slot receiver and a utility player. Bama likes its back to be big and physical. He's powerfully built but doesn't have the size that a Mark Ingram or Trent Richardson has. There has always been talk of Alabama liking him as much for his receiving ability as his ability to run.

Adam Gorney: There are actually a few that I think can make changes although I don't think there will be an absolute stunner. Many people believe De'Anthony Thomas will play only cornerback at USC but I think he'll get a legitimate shot at running back and he could be phenomenal at that position. I also think Kris Frost's tryout at wide receiver will be short-lived. He's such an outstanding linebacker it would be a travesty if he didn't play that position. There might be some who points to James Wilder Jr. not playing running back and moving to linebacker. But I think he proved at the Army game that he can be in the backfield and do an outstanding job.

Chris Nee: I honestly don't think it would surprise a lot of people, but I could see Towanda (Kan.) Circle defensive tackle Jordan Phillips switching to offensive tackle at Oklahoma. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound prospect definitely looks the part and has everything you look for in regards to long arms, good feet and wide shoulders.

Keith Niebuhr: Because of his size and quickness, I could easily see A.C. Leonard moving from tight end to defensive end at Florida. Here are a few reasons why: If quarterback Jeff Driskel, an early enrollee, comes in this spring ready to compete, Florida likely would move backup quarterback Jordan Reed back to tight end. That would give the Gators two pretty good young players at that position. Meanwhile, Florida is lacking a bit in defensive ends. That's a spot Leonard has played in high school, and been very good.

Brian Perroni: I think James Wilder Jr. will eventually be a linebacker but that wouldn't come as a huge surprise. Also, with Notre Dame's ridiculous defensive end class this year, the Irish could move some guys around to get them all playing time. Five-star defensive end Stephon Tuitt could be a candidate to move to offensive tackle as he has a frame that would suit the position well. Oklahoma defensive tackle commit Jordan Phillips also could end up on the offensive line in college as well.

What school has disappointed you the most so far in this stretch run?

Barry Every: It's got to be UCLA. The Bruins have had a couple rough seasons back-to-back but they still have one of the prettiest campuses with a great education and great weather. They are being outdone by California, Stanford, USC in the state of California, then Washington and Oregon are also kicking their butt with native Californians.

Mike Farrell: I'd say Florida so far. The Gators stole a recruit away from Boston College, which in the world of Gators recruiting isn't that much of a big deal. They don't seem to be leading for any of the big five-star studs left on the board. They will still get a few four-star guys but unless they pull some major surprises there won't be any five-star recruits in the Gators class for the first time since 2005, which was Urban Meyer's transition recruiting year. The difference? Florida football wasn't what it is now when Meyer took over back then. I think fans expect a big close and so far that hasn't happened.

Adam Gorney: It has been a difficult time for Pittsburgh and it's showing in its recruiting class. New coach Todd Graham is trying his best to piece together the class after the disastrous Mike Haywood debacle. As of Saturday night, the Panthers have 10 commits with about half of them coming in the last week. The irony of the whole situation is that Pittsburgh would have probably had a really respectable class if the Panthers kept Dave Wannstedt. Instead, they fired him and it's been downhill.

Chris Nee: I would have to say that UCLA has been a disappointment, but it isn't unexpected with the current coaching situation. The staff is in transition and it isn't allowing them to win over kids. They sit at eight commitments with no new pledges since mid-November. Just a stale situation for the Bruins.

Keith Niebuhr: Many would say Florida, but while the new Gators staff has yet to land any really big fish, I'll pass on that program and instead go with Miami. There is no doubt recently hired head coach Al Golden hit the ground running. But where are the big names in the Hurricanes' class? Getting defensive end Anthony Chickillo to re-commit was huge, but Chickillo is Miami's only four-star recruit on board right now and that is a bit shocking. Given the amount of talent within 100 miles of the Miami campus, it's really hard to believe the Hurricanes started Sunday with the country's No. 42 class.

Brian Perroni: Florida has made runs at several prospects since new head coach Will Muschamp took over. However, the Gators have only received one commit in that time. If they can't close with cornerback Marcus Roberson or defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, they will have fallen quite a bit behind in-state rival Florida State.

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