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August 30, 2012

Around the Mid-Atlantic: Blanding to follow?

MORE: Around the Midwest | Around the Southeast

Each Thursday throughout the fall, Rivals.com is breaking down the Mid-Atlantic Region recruiting scene with news, notes and analysis. Here is the latest from Rivals.com national and Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Mike Farrell.

Underclassmen Watch

Here are some top underclassmen to keep an eye on from around the region:

TE Garrett Dickerson, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic (2014): Dickerson has firmly positioned himself as one of the top 2014 recruits in New Jersey, if not the region. At 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Dickerson moves extremely well for his size and is equally comfortable at tight end or even moving out to wide receiver.

He also has the potential and ability to play defensive end at the next level, even though tight end is likely his future position. Not surprisingly, recruiting is already moving quickly for Dickerson as he is up to approximately 10 offers. Included in this list are offers from Ohio State, Stanford, Boston College, Rutgers and Northwestern, which is where his brother, Cameron Dickerson, plays.

RB Jamauri Bogan, Union, N.J. (2014): Measuring at just 5-foot-7 and 162 pounds, some schools may overlook Bogan, but with the numbers he has already produced at the high school level, that would be a mistake. Coming off a sophomore season that saw him rush for 2,260 yards and 27 touchdowns, Bogan has proven that his size is not a detriment to him on the field. Already with a handful of offers, including Georgia Tech and Temple, Bogan is eager to prove to everyone this fall that he has what it takes to become a BCS-level running back.

ATH Montae Nicholson, Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway (2014): Nicholson is a dynamic athlete who has the ability to play either wide receiver or defensive back at the next level. While most of his current interest seems to be coming for his ability at safety, he proved at a Rutgers camp earlier this summer that he can also be an explosive threat at receiver. Possessing a long frame, Nicholson is a lean 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. He moves very well and has deceptive quickness. Nicholson moved onto the recruiting scene this summer by picking up offers at Michigan and Penn State. He recently followed that up with his sixth offer from West Virginia. Look for more offers to roll his way as he likely becomes one of the top targets in Pennsylvania next recruiting season.

News and notes

Five-star running back Derrick Green from Richmond (Va.) Hermitage was rumored to be ready to commit either before or during his nationally televised game this weekend. However, Green denied such rumors and made it through the weekend as one of the top two uncommitted players in the country. If he had committed this weekend it would likely have been to Auburn, but now his official visit to Michigan on Oct. 19 looms large.

Three-star running back Corey Clement of Glassboro, N.J. committed to Pittsburgh in June, but now he seems to be re-thinking that decision. Clement is thinking about Nebraska, Wisconsin and Notre Dame, with the Cornhuskers pushing the hardest right now. In fact, Nebraska will have the first opportunity to sway Clement as they will host him this weekend.

Three-star offensive lineman Dorian Miller of Metuchen, N.J., has seen a little adjustment in his top three recently, but overall still does not seem to be in much of a rush to end his recruiting process. After a recent visit to North Carolina, the Tar Heels replaced Tennessee in his top three, and now join Rutgers and Connecticut.

Five schools are still waiting on Tevin Montgomery to make his decision and the 6-foot-5, 295-pound defensive tackle from Massachusetts could be doing that soon. Sources are indicating that UVa, Boston College and Vanderbilt, in no particular order, have emerged as the favorites. Some believe it will come down to the Cavaliers and Commodores with it being too close to call between those two. It's worth noting he's friends with Jack McDonald, who is committed to Virginia.

Virginia athlete DaeSean Hamilton is one of the best available players in the state and sources say he's still leaning toward the two in-state schools. He will take official visits to both schools and there's no guarantee he will take other visits, but he is leaning toward seeing Duke, Illinois and Wake Forest again. Miami is another possibility for a visit but the out-of-state schools are playing catchup.

Four-star offensive guard Na'Ty Rodgers had narrowed his list to five and almost immediately thereafter he trimmed it to Maryland and South Carolina. As he said this week, South Carolina is still slightly in the lead but we're hearing it wouldn't take much to push the Terps back onto even footing.

What I'm Thinking

The commitment of Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside running back Taquan Mizzell to UVa makes the Cavaliers the clear team to beat for future five-star teammate Quin Blanding (2014). Mizzell follows Anthony Cooper (2012) and Demetrious Nicholson from Bayside to Charlottesville and his grandmother is a UVa grad. Florida State, Ohio State and Oregon (if they offer) are teams that can push, but this one is heavily slanted toward Mike London.

Four-star athlete Nadir Barnwell of Piscataway, N.J., could be closer to making a final decision after sustaining a shoulder injury in a scrimmage a few days ago. That bodes very well for Rutgers. With Barnwell missing approximately a month of playing time, it is possible that he will end his process before he returns to the field. Rutgers has been at the top for Barnwell for quite some time now, with Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA and Michigan State trailing.

The likely No. 1 player overall in the 2014 class, Da'Shawn Hand from Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior, took his third visit to Virginia Tech and didn't want to leave, according to a good source. The more visits Hand takes to Virginia Tech, the more he will compare other schools to Blacksburg and the at-home feeling he has there. The Hokies have now emerged, in my opinion, as the strong leader for Hand early in the process.

After watching Dorian O'Daniel rush for three touchdowns in a loss to Bishop Gorman on national television, it is clear that the Olney (Md.) Good Counsel standout could play running back in college if he wanted to at some middling BCS programs. However, at Clemson his speed on defense and ability to cover will be key for him. But he's one of the more interesting prospects out there in the Mid-Atlantic region because he could have gone down the offensive path if he wanted to.

While Christian Hackenberg was the headliner for Fork Union (Va.) Military on national television this past weekend, defensive back Malcolm Cook could be a real steal for Virginia. He's big, he can move and he was clearly one of the few standouts for his team on the day. FB:

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