Conference breakdown: Alabama, USC continue recruiting dominance
USC's addition of touted running back Ty Isaac and could spark a wave of verbals
Heralded QB Cooper Bateman committed to USC over Auburn, Florida and LSU
Ohio State is seeking a linebacker; Texas Tech is stockpiling 2013 defensive backs
After another week of 2013 recruiting happenings, Rivals recaps the top storylines from each BCS conference.
After finishing with the No. 6 class in last year's rankings, Jimbo Fisher and Florida State are off to another strong start this time around. Lake City (Fla.) Columbia offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is very high on the Seminoles, and he's forged a tight bond with assistant coach Rick Trickett. Tunsil's former teammate Timmy Jerningan also signed with Florida State back in 2011. Many believe that the nation's No. 3 overall prospect will eventually follow suit.
Among other priorities for the Seminoles' burgeoning haul: cornerback Adrian Baker, who recently delayed his decision between FSU, Florida and Alabama, defensive linemen Deadrin Senat and De'Asian Richardson, who decommitted from the program earlier this year, and linebacker Freddie Stevenson, who landed an offer within the last few weeks. Fisher and Co. will also work to hold onto defensive tackle Maquedius Bain, a current soft commit being heavily courted by Miami.
Pittsburgh recently had -- and potentially missed -- a golden opportunity to impress a number of its top regional prospects. Hoping to attract a bevy of local recruits during their more personal junior day event, the Panthers did not receive the turnout they anticipated.
Aside from the five current commits in attendance, only two big-time visitors made the trip to campus: four-star offensive lineman Dorian Johnson and four-star wide receiver Robert Foster. Both players are crucial targets for the team, and drawing Foster to the session was imperative, as many analysts believe he'll head out of state. Pitt appears to be the team to beat for Johnson, and having him interact with five previously pledged players only bolsters that cause.
The negative side of the event, however, was the list of players -- many at one point confirmed -- who did not attend. That list includes in-state talents Tyler Boyd, Titus Howard, Chavas Rawlins and Justin Moody, plus Ohio targets Marcus Ball and Tra'von Chapman.
Ohio State certainly isn't struggling in the class of 2013 -- Urban Meyer already boasts 11 verbals, nine ranked among the top 135 prospects in the nation -- but one position that has been particularly elusive is linebacker. The much-publicized decommitment of Wyomissing (Pa.) Area's Alex Anzalone earlier this month is the latest in a string of positional misfortunes: Lewis Neal decommitted from Ohio State a week earlier and Courtney Love spurned the Buckeyes in favor of conference rival Nebraska.
Despite the negative trend, however, Meyer still has several top options on the board. Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren' s Tim Kimbrough has made no secret of his affinity for Ohio State, and the program appears to be the frontrunner to land Fort Wayne's (Ind.) Jaylon Smith. Though discouraging now, the Buckeyes' linebacking weakness could soon become an area of strength.
Texas Tech currently has seven pledges for the class of 2013, but its commitment list looks a bit lopsided. The class consists of two wide receivers and five defensive backs. It's clear that coach Tommy Tuberville desperately wants to upgrade the secondary, a notion that became even more evident with the additions of safety Stormy Butler and cornerback Darren Doston, both of Visalia (Calif.) College of the Sequoias, on May 16.
Despite Texas Tech's secondary-heavy haul, expect a more balanced group as the cycle enters the summer and fall. The Red Raiders added just one running back and zero tight ends in 2012. They should be looking to add depth at both positions.
USC landed a major -- and some would say a surprising -- commitment from four-star running back Ty Isaac last Tuesday. And it could be the start of a wave of verbals for the Trojans. The Joliet (Ill.) Catholic standout ranks as the No. 18 prospect in the 2013 class and adds to a Lane Kiffin class that already counts seven recruits, all of whom maintain a four- or five-star rating.
Following the addition of four-star running back Justin Davis' pledge on Thursday, USC now turns its focus to five-star safety Su'a Cravens, who is expected to announce his decision on June 6. The Trojans are considered the preliminary favorite, though Cravens could visit several Big Ten schools, including Ohio State, Michigan and Nebraska, in late May.
After another impressive start, Alabama experienced a rare break in recruiting success over the past few weeks, adding just two verbals during the month of April. That changed recently. Beginning May 16, the Crimson Tide added three recruits -- none bigger than Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood Senior quarterback Cooper Bateman.
For 'Bama, Bateman is a huge pickup and fills a major need. The quarterback is always a crucial position for any school, but becomes even more significant in Tuscaloosa following Phillips Sims' decision to transfer. And Bateman was a hot commodity: The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder is the nation's No. 6 pro-style quarterback and chose the Crimson Tide over Auburn, Florida and LSU, among others.
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