Posted: Tuesday February 1, 2005 12:04PM; Updated: Tuesday February 1, 2005 12:12PM
Will Ryan Perrilloux choose Texas, LSU or Mississippi State on Signing Day?
By Jamie Newberg, Scout.com
With Signing Day less than 24 hours away, there are 19 prospects in the Scout.com National Hot 100 who remain uncommitted. That's an amazingly high number this late in the game -- and it means that there will be a flurry of activity and excitement on Tuesday and Wednesday. This could make for one of the most intriguing Signing Days in recent memory.
The highest-rated player still undecided is the nation's No. 2-ranked quarterback, Ryan Perrilloux (La Place, La.). Perrilloux says he is still committed to Texas -- and he also says his Signing Day decision will be a surprise.
His home-state LSU Tigers look like the team to beat here. Perrilloux is very close to LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and has a lot of friends in Baton Rouge. Plus, Perrilloux has a close relationship with his family, and LSU is just 45 minutes from his home town.
Lastly, Perrilloux knows that if he chooses Texas he will have to wait for Longhorns quarterback Vince Young to move onto the NFL, even though he and Young have struck up a great relationship over the past nine months. Perrilloux wants to play this upcoming season. He feels he can compete with the current LSU quarterbacks for playing time and ultimately win the Tigers' starting job.
The third team still in the Perrilloux equation is Mississippi State, which is certainly the place he could play the earliest. Only Perrilloux's close family members know what he plans to do, so this one is very interesting.
The recruiting battle for Fred Rouse (Tallahassee, Fla.), the nation's No. 2 wide receiver prospect, is bound to be Signing Day's other big storyline. Rouse has taken official visits now to FSU, Miami and Alabama, and has unofficially visited Texas.
There is a lot of speculation that Rouse may not sign with anyone on Wednesday. If that happens, he could sign on Thursday or Friday, or possibly take an official visit to Texas this coming weekend. Rouse is from Tallahassee Lincoln High School, and Florida State usually gets the kids it wants from that school. There is an enormous amount of pressure for Rouse to stay home and play for the Seminoles, but his mother, who initially favored Miami, loves Texas and Mack Brown.
As a kid, Rouse dreamt of playing for FSU, but he understands that Texas is a great program as well. He also raved about his visit to Tuscaloosa and loves Mike Shula. With Miami, he loves the fact that the 'Canes put players in the NFL like no one else. Still, you have to like Florida State's chances in landing him -- there will be immense pressure for Rouse to stay at home.
The heat is also on Scout.com's No. 1 rated running back, Antone Smith (Pahokee, Fla.). Florida's Mr. Football is being courted by his home state's Big Three as well as Auburn.
The Tigers lost running backs Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown to the NFL. They have talent coming back, but Smith knows he could step on the field immediately on The Plains. Plus, he has a great relationship with Auburn running backs coach Eddie Gran.
Miami, which was Smith's leader at one point, is located just down the road from Pahokee High School. The 'Canes have signed a number of elite running backs over the past two seasons, but that doesn't scare Smith.
Florida jumped in the Smith sweepstakes late, but impressed him by illustrating how Urban Meyer plans to use him in the Gators' spread offense. Florida State, however, received Smith's final official visit, and FSU doesn't lose many recruits who visit them last.
Last week, Smith said he had one team in his head, and he wanted to visit Tallahassee and then shut things down so he could sort through all four schools before making his Wednesday decision. Early on it was Miami or Auburn. Florida and Florida State have now made their moves. Smith could go any of four ways, but the Hurricanes will be tough to beat in the end.