Recruiting Roundup: Nkemdiche drama persists, Big Ten suffers
The Robert Nkemdiche recruiting saga shows no signs of concluding anytime soon
The Big Ten's horrible weekend performances could very well hinder its recruiting
Marcell Harris has expressed committing to Texas, but it remains highly unlikely
In this week's edition of the Recruiting Roundup, Mike Farrell explores the enduring Robert Nkemdiche saga, the appeal of the Big-10 after a rough weekend, and whether Rivals got their stars right with some current college players.
A Few Thoughts
1. Robert Nkemdiche's drama will drag on until at least signing day: There seems to be something new with Robert Nkemdiche every day. Last week it was his mother, Beverly, who resides in Nigeria, telling ESPN The Magazine that her son was pressured into committing to Clemson. She also said Robert's decision was not final. Nkemdiche, the nation's No. 1 overall prospect, is committed to the Tigers but his older brother, Denzel Nkemdiche, is at Ole Miss, where many think he will eventually end up. However, Nkemdiche insists that he is solid to Clemson; he has two teammates, Wayne Gallman and best friend David Kamara, committed to the Tigers. Most recently, a couple of innocent tweets from Tampa Buccaneers defensive tackle Da'Quan Bowers to Nkemdiche have made an unreasonably big stir. Ole Miss is lurking, we all know that, but betting against Clemson with five-stars recently has not been wise. It's only September, but I think he sticks with the Tigers. The question is, how much more drama will there be? My guess? Plenty.
2. If its teams keeps losing, the Big Ten will have trouble pulling in major recruits: The Big Ten certainly didn't help itself this past weekend when it comes to attracting national recruits and trying to prove that it is the No. 2 conference behind the SEC. Wisconsin loses to Oregon State, Nebraska gets taken down by UCLA, Iowa bonks against rival Iowa State, Purdue falls short against Notre Dame, Illinois gets whipped by Arizona State, Penn State chokes against Virginia and Michigan struggled with Air Force. Right now, the conference is closer to the Big East than the Pac-12, Big 12 and even the ACC, and league perception is crucial when recruiting prospects, especially the younger ones. Sorry Michigan State and Ohio State, your brothers-in-arms are dragging you down.
3. Running Back U? Why aren't more elite backs trying to attend Michigan State? Speaking of Michigan State, can someone please tell me why four- and five-star running backs aren't lining up to play there? Was Javon Ringer getting a million carries a game not enough? And now that Le'Veon Bell is being fed the rock as much as possible when needed to win games, it's clear that if you're good enough, you'll tote the rock a ton in East Lansing. It always puzzles me that recruits rarely look at things like this, especially when they say they want to go someplace where they can get a ton of carries, but Michigan State is rarely mentioned by the Rivals100 studs at running back. It's head-scratching.
4. Florida to Texas? Don't bet on it: Marcell Harris from Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips took a visit to Texas recently and raved about it. Because what's not to like? Texas has an amazing fan base, great facilities and is the kingpin of the Big 12. Heck, they even have their own network. But if he ends up as a Texas commitment, I will be stunned. First off, name the last Florida prospect to sign with Texas. John Brantley, the quarterback who verbally committed to Texas in 2006, doesn't count as he eventually flipped and signed with the Gators. Since we have been ranking prospects, there has never been a Florida prospect sign with the Longhorns and I doubt Harris will be the first. Throw in the fact that his dad, Mike Harris, was a safety for the Gators from 1994-1997 and most everyone thinks Florida will reel this one in eventually.
Rankings of Yore
Ranking Notre Dame defensive end signee Stephon Tuitt higher than fellow Irish signee (and former FSU verbal) Aaron Lynch was highly controversial at the time. Now we are feeling better about that decision. Tuitt, who outraced the entire Navy team for a 77-yard fumble recovery in the season opener despite checking in at 6-foot-6 and more than 300 pounds, has NFL scouts drooling over his athleticism, discipline and character. Meanwhile, scouts are scratching their collective heads at Lynch, who transferred to South Florida after a great start to his Notre Dame career. The difference between No. 22 overall in the country (Tuitt) and No. 28 (Lynch) was miniscule, but Tuitt has emerged as a three-and-out kind of talent while Lynch looks to rebuild his career in Tampa.
FSU fans can gripe about this ranking - defensive tackle Bjoern Werner being ranked as a three-star and the No. 65 player in the country at his position in 2010. Now the nation's leader in sacks, Werner is projected by some to be a first-round draft pick next year. Honestly, we were hesitant about Werner because he came to the United States from Germany to play football, went back because he was homesick as a junior and then returned, so his desire for football was questionable. Not anymore.
Brady Hoke's offense needs a pro-style quarterback who can thrive off play action and the running game if they are to compete for a national title. Shane Morris needs to be that guy sooner than later. No pressure.
I know Wisconsin only tallied 35 net rushing yards in a 10-7 loss to Oregon State, but firing offensive line coach Mike Markuson after the game? That's ridiculous and would make me wonder as an offensive line recruit or perhaps any Wisconsin target if my coach will be around with Bret Bielema showing off such a quick trigger finger.
It looks like Auburn's chances to become one of the few teams in Rivals.com history to reel in five or more five-star prospects could be heading out the window with an 0-2 start.
Arkansas has always wanted to recruit on a bigger stage and that window is quickly closing. If back-to-back double digit win seasons still ended in recruiting classes ranked near the bottom half of the SEC, what happens now?
Don't think one game can lead to a commitment? Ask Arizona four-star offensive lineman Kenny Lacy, who insisted he wasn't committing to the Bruins before his visit this weekend. But after watching three freshmen dominate Nebraska in the trenches, Lacy was a Bruin. Now, UCLA is now one of the hottest teams out there for uncommitted prospects on the west coast. Adrian Klemm is the next superstar recruiter in the Pac-12.
Cazeneuve: Senators "running on empty" heading back to Pittsburgh
Kings take 3-2 series lead with 3-0 shutout of Sharks