In this week's edition of the Recruiting Roundup, Mike Farrell explores the unpredictable recruitment of Ricky Seals-Jones, UCLA's controversial drop of quarterback Eddie Printz, and how the Bruins' hot start will improve its recruiting class among a series of other topics.
Texas's decision to stop recruiting Ricky Seals-Jones is confounding: I really like the new approach to Texas recruiting by Mack Brown except for one thing: Don't give up on a player as talented as Ricky Seals-Jones in September (Seals-Jones is now down to LSU and Texas A&M). Texas is now offering juniors earlier rather than waiting until after LOI Day, and the Longhorns are taking fewer early commitments so they have room down the stretch for targets at key positions. I know Brown has his reasons for the decision, but dropping RSJ rather than fighting the Tigers and Aggies down the stretch is not what big-time programs do. Would any SEC team back off a kid this talented? Would USC?
UCLA and Eddie Printz are better off without one another: There was plenty of outrage over UCLA dropping Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter quarterback Eddie Printz last week, if that is indeed what happened. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but if UCLA actually did drop him I am not bothered. After a hot start to the season and especially after the win over Nebraska, UCLA was suddenly intriguing to local quarterbacks who are more coveted and talented and who began to show more interest. A coach like Jim Mora simply has to take the best players when he can. I was puzzled why UCLA left the west coast for a quarterback in the first place and didn't push harder for Hayden Rettig, Troy Williams and others. And for those who say it's unethical to drop recruits, what about the number of prospects who drop verbal commitments themselves -- including Printz who was committed to SMU before following Adrian Klemm to L.A.? Both sides sound like they are better off now anyhow.
UCLA will land a big class: Speaking of UCLA, the Bruins are currently very hot on the recruiting trail, drawing more and more attention from some high-profile prospects. The trio from Fresno (Calif.) Central East could very well end up at UCLA if the team continues to win. While Hatari Byrd is committed to Oklahoma, it wouldn't stun me to see him de-commit for the Bruins if his teammates L.J. Moore and Johnny Johnson end up there.
Notre Dame seeks defensive backs: Moore will be with fellow California standout Khalfani Muhammad on an official visit this weekend to Notre Dame when the Irish play host to Michigan. But more importantly, Moore will be with fellow defensive back Cole Luke from Arizona. How good could Notre Dame be if they can start recruiting defensive backs? This is the best and most athletic Irish defense in years, and the current front seven will allow them to easily lure defensive linemen and linebackers. But they need to break through at corner and safety soon. Moore and Luke would be a nice 1-2 punch and can play either position down the line.
Thomas Tyner is a budding star: It's time to take another look at Aloha, Ore., running back Thomas Tyner, who just rushed for 644 yards and 10 TDs in one game on 38 carries and now has 1,245 yards and 17 scores in three games this season. Tyner was once rated as the No. 1 running back in the country by Rivals.com, but after a track injury this spring that followed an injury-plagued junior year, he lost that title and his fifth star. Tyner, who was once No. 9 overall in the country, is now No. 51 overall and is No. 6 at his position. After his record-setting game I asked him if he was a man on a mission and he simply replied, "Got a chip on my shoulder!" When healthy, there is no running back in this class who has a better combination of size and speed.
• Talk about blowing your chance to impress arguably the top recruit on your board. North Little Rock, Ark. running back Altee Tenpenny is clearly the No. 1 prospect in state and, despite being committed to Alabama, has been a top priority for Arkansas all along. So what does he get to see when he takes an unofficial to Fayetteville to watch the Hawgs battle the Crimson Tide? A 52-0 drubbing where the Hawgs rushed for 58 yards on 37 carries while 'Bama put up 225. At least Arkansas can sell immediate playing time, right?
• I know Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab defensive end Tim Williams recently said that Miami has a small lead over Florida State, Alabama and LSU right now, but if he ends up playing for anyone aside from the Tigers I would be stunned. He plans on being at every home game for LSU this season.
• Is Colorado the worst BCS team in college football now? It is very likely. Four-star tight end commitment Mitchell Parsons is looking around now because the Buffs are so horrid, and other uncommitted targets are dropping them from their lists as well.
• Tennessee has a lot of recruiting momentum right now. Players such as safety Vonn Bell and offensive lineman Reeve Koehler are strong leans to the Vols, and stars Jalen Ramsey, Derrick Green, Marquez North, Derrick Henry, David Williams and many, many others showing increased interest. However, Derek Dooley is now 0-11 in Knoxville against ranked teams and 0-18 all-time. That doesn't fly at Tennessee, and the Vols have a stretch of four straight games against ranked teams starting Sept. 29. If the trend continues, Dooley's seat will continue to heat up, and that will make recruiting interesting down the stretch.
• There's going to be a whole lot of talent in Tallahassee this weekend when Florida State takes on Clemson in arguably the most important game for Seminoles in ages. A win gives Jimbo Fisher's squad a clear path to the ACC title game. It will also send a message to remaining 2013 recruits, as well as big-name 2014 recruits expected to attend, that FSU is back. A loss? Recruiting will still go well, but they could start to lose ground on some difference-makers, especially with the team in Gainesville starting to thrive again and Clemson a danger to everyone on the recruiting trail.