In this week's edition of the Recruiting Roundup, analyst Mike Farrell explores the imminent decision of Derrick Henry, the strategy of Urban Meyer, and the increasingly entertaining recruitment of Laquon Treadwell.
What should Yulee (Fla.) running back/athlete Derrick Henry do? The nation's No. 3 athlete and No. 74 prospect overall will decide between Alabama and Tennessee on Thursday and there are certainly two trains of thought, at least for me. Despite rushing for a state-record 502 yards this past weekend and pushing past Emmitt Smith as the No. 2 rusher in state history (Florida commitment Kelvin Taylor is No. 1), Henry is listed as an athlete for a reason.
There are some concerns about his ability at the next level as a tailback because of his 6-foot-3, 243-pound frame and upright style. However, there is clearly talent there and the clearest path to being a feature back is in Knoxville with T.J. Yeldon and Dee Hart already in Tuscaloosa and Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones already in this class. But if he chooses the Vols, can he be sure that Derek Dooley and his staff will still be there? Dooley is 0-11 in Tennessee against ranked teams and 0-18 in his career. With Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama and South Carolina as the next four games on the schedule, this could be the stretch that ends his tenure.
It seems clear to most that Henry is leaning toward Alabama and, while he has a much better chance to make an impact with the Vols, it's hard to blame him based on the current coaching situation.
Meyer waits on a five-star: Ohio State is sitting quietly at No. 9 in the team rankings with a talented class but no five-star. The last time Meyer didn't have a five-star in a full recruiting year he was coaching at Utah. His closest player right now is defensive end Joey Bosa, who certainly didn't scream five-star on national television last weekend against Don Bosco. However, two things have always been certain under Meyer in recent years. First, he will land a five-star somehow, some way and likely more than one. Secondly, he will flip some players from previous commitments prior to National Signing Day. Let's see if both hold true this year.
Treadwell will tread carefully: Thank goodness for Laquon Treadwell from Crete (Ill.) Monee or else 2013 would be quite boring. In years past, there have been many completely unpredictable prospects that have added and switched schools of interest weekly but this year not so much. Treadwell is certainly interesting to follow. Now Texas is in the mix, Missouri will get an official and Florida, Michigan, Ole Miss, Auburn, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State remain in the picture. Don't be surprised if a few more schools jump on this list and some drop off. I still have a gut feeling that Michigan will be his choice, but he's certainly enjoying the process.
Notre Dame's class is only getting better: Notre Dame has a top five class so far in 2013 and I like this class quite a bit because it hits some key needs (linebacker, athletic playmakers on offense, offensive lineman). If the Irish close on two high-level defensive backs, this could be their best class in a long, long time. When I look up and down this class, I find it much harder to see kids that the Irish reached on than in recent years. Torii Hunter Jr. and William Fuller might not be the biggest or fastest guys, but trust me they will be one of the best 1-2 punches at wide receiver for Notre Dame since Michael Floyd and Golden Tate.
Ramsey unfazed, McQuay curious: I don't think the talk of USC commit Jalen Ramsey and his family being worried about distance from their home in Tennessee has legs. Ramsey just visited Florida on an official this past weekend with friend and teammate Max Staver, but my feeling is that Ramsey wants to stick with USC all things being equal and his family wants him where he fits best regardless of geography.
Ramsey's good friend Leon McQuay III visited Florida for the Kentucky game just so the two could hang out. McQuay later visited Florida State for the 'Noles big win over Clemson and I think FSU has taken the edge away from USC now even with Ramsey apparently heading out west. What's puzzling is why Florida State never offered because that friendship could have the 'Noles in the thick of things right now if they had.
• A little advice to recruits - always check with the school you're committing to before calling a press conference and inviting the media to watch you pick a hat. Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek defensive tackle Kelsey Griffin committed to Georgia last week but apparently the Dawgs weren't on board with accepting his commitment. We will see how this plays out.
• The Big Ten is simply awful, sorry fans. I know I said this couple of weeks ago, but it hasn't gotten any better. How they have three teams ranked in the Top 25 is beyond me and this is turning out to be a nightmare year that could affect recruiting moving forward. Michigan and Ohio State have top 10 classes right now, but the next Big Ten program nationally is Illinois at No. 25. The league could end up with only two teams in the national top 25 by the end of the year, which is Big East recruiting territory.
• After watching Oregon play again on offense in a 49-0 destruction of a pretty good Arizona team, it puzzles me that more four- and five-star offensive prospects don't flock to Eugene. I can't remember a team in recent memory that is more fun to watch offensively and the Ducks get everyone involved. They are currently behind USC, Washington, Arizona and UCLA and right now it's doubtful any of those teams can hold Oregon to less than 40 points. Tyree Robinson and Tyrell Robinson certainly understand as both committed following the rout. And let's not forget that Oregon State team isn't bad either Maybe more kids should look to that state to play football, just saying.
• Last week I talked about the Miami-area quarterbacks that got away from the 'Canes as part of the problem this season, but Stephen Morris might have salvaged the season for Miami and really pushed recruiting forward. The heart that Miami showed in coming back from a 36-19 deficit to pull out a 42-36 overtime win over a Georgia Tech team that just slammed Virginia the week before was impressive. Some local recruits, including Matthew Thomas and Denver Kirkland, certainly took notice.