Notre Dame keeps rising, Texas and Auburn falling in recruiting
Notre Dame's dominant defensive performances are helping recruiting efforts
Texas, Auburn and West Virginia are teams losing recruiting momentum
There are still several top recruits who may flip their pledges in the near future
In this week's Recruiting Roundup, Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell explores the Notre Dame surge, the fall of Texas and Auburn, and the indecision of some of the nation's top prospects.
Irish Eyes are... hitting: Last week, I noted that Will Muschamp could return Florida to the kind of recruiting it was capable of under Urban Meyer. The new coach that could be changing his school's recruiting culture is Brian Kelly at Notre Dame. The Irish face stringent academic restrictions, but Notre Dame could still be a recruiting juggernaut if Kelly keeps rolling. The difference from the hot starts of the past (Irish fans remember Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis) is Kelly's defense. Kelly is recruiting better defensively than anyone in recent memory at Notre Dame -- landing recruits such as five-star linebacker Jaylon Smith -- and once defensive backs start falling into place, the Irish should be set for years to come on that side of the ball. USC commitments Max Redfield and Chris Hawkins are now seriously interested in the Irish after a great visit for the Stanford win. The Irish are sill in contention for Mackensie Alexander and L.J. Moore as well.
Texas-sized Crisis: Lots of recruits were watching Oklahoma thrash Texas by six touchdowns. This will not bode well for Mack Brown's future in Austin, and it may affect his 2013 recruiting class if his defense can't improve and offense can't be more consistent.
Kitt decommits: The de-commitment of 2014 wide receiver Demarre Kitt shouldn't be too concerning for Georgia fans. Kitt has long thought he made a decision too early and was discussing such as far back as June, just two months after his initial decision. Clemson and USC are the two big threats here, but there's a chance Kitt ends up back at Georgia..
Foster to freeze out Auburn? Speaking of de-commitments, I don't think Reuben Foster is close to doing so with Auburn just yet, but anyone who thinks a tattoo is going to keep him in the fold is delusional. Tattoos can be erased or altered and I think Foster's will be if Auburn fires Gene Chizik. The nation's No. 2 player just took a visit to LSU and the spin on it was that he was there to see a former teammate, but there's no way he wasn't impressed with what he saw from the Tigers. The more Auburn loses and the hotter the seat becomes for Chizik, the more Foster will be taking visits.
Something's Bruin: I get the feeling that UCLA might finish very strong in recruiting. Despite a bad loss to Cal, the Bruins seem to be in much better shape for a lot of recruits than the Golden Bears and Stanford down the stretch. A lot will depend on how they finish the season at home against USC and Stanford, but I see the Bruins moving up from their current No. 21 ranking and possibly finishing second in the PAC-12 behind USC.
Morris returns: Michigan quarterback commitment Shane Morris is a tough kid. After a poor start to his season and a mono diagnosis that was supposed to sideline him for the season, Morris was back on the field this past weekend. Morris completed 17 of 22 passes for 180 yards and two scores after an ultrasound revealed that his spleen had returned to normal size. Morris could have sat out the rest of the year and played it safe, but he didn't want to let down his teammates. We knew Michigan was getting a verbal leader in the charismatic Morris, but they are also getting a guy who leads by example.
I think Missouri reached on Eddie Printz following his de-commitment from UCLA. I know he has the same star ranking as Maty Mauk from last year, but I think Mauk is a much better fit for the offense. I didn't expect Printz to land in the SEC after being dropped by the Bruins.
Speaking of Missouri, the move to the SEC won't help recruiting like it will for Texas A&M for two reasons. First, they have no geographical border to an SEC state with any talent, and secondly, you need to win. A 3-4 start and an 0-4 record so far in the SEC doesn't make for better recruiting. That season finale against Texas A&M will be big for the Tigers. Missouri is a respectable 25th in the nation in recruiting, but Texas A&M is No. 10, ahead of Texas. Missouri is currently 11th in the SEC in recruiting. They would be No. 4 in the Big 12 (if A&M stayed as well). "Old Man Football" might have been a mistake.
Former Michigan commitment David Dawson was mentioned last week in this column as a guy that Muschamp could flip. Now, Dawson is de-committed and considered a strong Gators lean. While the Gators won't get all of them, there's a real chance that all of the commitments mentioned - Dawson, Jalen Ramsey, Demarcus Robinson, Alex Anzalone, Ira Denson and Elijah Daniel - could all end up at different schools. Anzalone is more likely now to end up in Gainesville than South Bend, Denson could flip if the Gators offer and Ramsey has his choice of closer options. Robinson is hard to read and Daniel could end up as a sign-and-place for someone.
Everything I said about West Virginia locking up a few big commitments in Texas next year could go out the window if the 'Neers don't recover quickly from that beatdown by Texas Tech. A win over Kansas State this weekend and everyone forgets the stumble, but another bad loss and all the momentum Dana Holgerson and company built with their first five wins is gone.
Despite a very good official visit at Florida State and an impressive visit to Texas in early September, I still think Florida safety Marcell Harris will end up with Coach Muschamp. Already a Gators lean heading into the process, this weekend's official visit has a chance to seal the deal for him. If Harris winds up any place but Gainesville, I think it will be one of the biggest recruiting upsets of the year. Tim Williams to LSU is a close second.