December 01, 2011

Five thoughts on the latest college football recruiting developments.

Urban Meyer wasted no time hitting the recruiting trail. Shortly after Monday's press conference announcing his Ohio State hiring, Meyer phoned many of the Buckeyes' top prospects, even reaching out to a few new names on the board.

Meyer immediately contacted Glenoak (Ohio) running back Bri'onte Dunn, 247Sports' ninth-ranked running back in the 2012 class, who committed to the Buckeyes last September but softened his stance following the Tressel-related NCAA scandal. Dunn seemed pleased with his initial conversation with the new coach, but there appears to be a long way to go. Archrival Michigan remains in the mix to land the 6-2, 215-pound rusher.

Other touted prospects Meyer has reached out to since taking over: Bishop McDevitt (Pa.) defensive end Noah Spence, Lakewood (Fla.) defensive end Dante Fowler, Simeon (Ill.) offensive tackle Jordan Diamond and Gilman (Md.) athlete Cyrus Jones. Spence, a five-star pass-rusher, is still familiarizing himself with the Buckeye program, whereas Fowler, Diamond and Jones have talked about scheduling official visits.

As Meyer's tenure continues, look for him to make a recruiting splash. He offered a scholarship to Cleveland Heights (Ohio) receiver Shelton Gibson on Tuesday -- the four-star wideout was also offered by Auburn after visiting campus for the Iron Bowl -- and could phone several other prominent prospects, including Berkley (Fla.) four-star athlete Nelson Agholor, in the coming weeks.

Coaches are coming to see Arik Armstead en masse. The nation's No. 1 overall prospect, Pleasant Grove (Calif.) two-way lineman Arik Armstead, hosted a number of recruiters over the past week. Notre Dame's Brian Kelly visited on Monday, Cal's scouts stopped by on Tuesday and USC defensive line coach Ed Orgeron arrived on Wednesday. Auburn is scheduled to make an appearance over the weekend.

Since decommitting from the Trojans on Oct. 17, the battle for Armstead has been fierce. He's already taken officials to Notre Dame, Alabama and Oregon, and has a visit to Texas scheduled for Dec. 9.

The SEC -- and Notre Dame -- is gunning for Gunner Kiel. Since his high school football career ended in the Indiana Class 4A semifinals on Nov. 18, Columbus East (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel has turned his attention squarely toward the recruiting scene. The 6-4, 218-pound signal-caller took an unofficial visit to Vanderbilt on Nov. 22, and plans to return for an official on Dec. 1. He also attended last Friday's LSU-Arkansas showdown, and traveled back to Baton Rouge for an official visit on Tuesday.

Also telling: A day after decommitting from Indiana on Oct. 21, Kiel visited Notre Dame for its matchup with USC. He plans to visit South Bend for an official on Dec. 9, and wants to enroll early into whichever program he ultimately chooses. Kiel is considering a visit to Arkansas before committing.

Stefon Diggs digs eight schools. Good Counsel (Md.) five-star athlete Stefon Diggs has narrowed his list to eight: Auburn, California, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, USC, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Maryland, Miami and Notre Dame also remain under consideration, though to a lesser extent.

The 6-1, 190-pound Diggs told 247Sports that Cal will get his first official visit. He took an unofficial to Virginia for the Cavaliers' loss to Virginia Tech last Saturday, while his mother, Stephanie, went to Florida without him. Diggs' former high school teammate Jelani Jenkins is a linebacker for the Gators, and Stephanie toured Gainesville with his family.

Despite the buildup, don't expect a decision soon. Diggs doesn't plan on committing until National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

USC started its 2013 class with a bang. On Wednesday, The Trojans landed a commitment from Red Lion Christian's (Del.) Kenny Bigelow, Coach Lane Kiffin's first verbal in the rising junior class. The 6-4, 280-pound defensive tackle took an unofficial visit to Los Angeles last weekend, selecting the Trojans over Auburn, Clemson, Illinois, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rutgers and UCLA, among others.

• The nation's top-ranked defensive tackle, Friendship Collegiate Academy's (D.C.) Eddie Goldman, announced that Auburn, Alabama and Florida State currently make up his top three. He took an official visit to Gene Chizik and Co. last weekend, and plans to visit Clemson and either Cal or Miami (Fla.) in weeks to come.

• Corona Del Sol (Ariz.) offensive tackle Andrus Peat took his second official visit to Nebraska over Thanksgiving weekend, and hosted Florida State offensive line coach Rick Trickett on Monday. Stanford (his first official), USC, Texas and Notre Dame are the other programs on Peat's shortlist.

• Leesburg (Fla.) outside linebacker Noor Davis remains firmly committed to Stanford. Speculation circulated following Davis' official visit to USC, but the 6-4, 233-pounder has since put rumors to rest. Davis also made visits to Alabama and Auburn in November.

• Potomac (Md.) cornerback Ronald Darby is solid in his commitment to Notre Dame. The four-star talent took an official visit to Auburn over the weekend, but said he remains firm in his pledge to the Irish.

• Chaparral (Ariz.) athlete Davonte Neal is close to setting his first official visit to Notre Dame for the weekend of Dec. 9. The Neal family is expecting, or has already received, visits from USC, Utah and Washington this week. Auburn, LSU, Miami and North Carolina are among the other schools still in consideration.

• Lafayette's (Miss.) Jeremy Liggins was at Auburn for an official visit over the weekend. The Tigers round out his top five with Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The dual-threat quarterback plans to visit the other four before making a final decision.

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