December 06, 2011

December is finally here, signaling the home stretch in the Class of 2012 recruiting period. And plenty of questions remain. Will Rutgers be able to sign a trio of New Jersey five-stars? Will Arkansas add coveted wideout Dorial Green-Beckham? Where will the nation's top prospect, Arik Armstead, end up?

All the answers will come in time. For now, as anticipation builds, here are the predicted landing spots for each of the top 25 uncommitted prospects.

Considering: Alabama, Auburn, Cal, Notre Dame, Oregon

Prediction: Cal. Armstead officially visited Oregon for its Nov. 19 game against USC, and the Ducks seem firmly entrenched in a three-team race with the Trojans and Golden Bears. While all three remain possibilities, here's thinking he stays local. Armstead's relationship with recruiter Tosh Lupoi is the difference.

Considering: Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas

Prediction: Arkansas. The race for the nation's top wideout is expected to come down to two: Arkansas and Oklahoma. Given that Green-Beckham prefers to stay close to home (Fayetteville is 150 miles from Springfield, Norman is 300), and that Bobby Petrino's offense is perfectly tailored for pass-catchers, the Razorbacks should be considered the team to beat.

Considering: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee

Prediction: LSU. The nation's No. 3 overall prospect, Collins seems deadlocked between LSU and Alabama. Both SEC powers have recruited relentlessly, and both appear head-and-shoulders above the pack. In the end, the top-ranked Tigers get the nod. Les Miles and Co. don't lose local talents like Collins very often.

Considering: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Miami (Fla.)

Prediction: Florida State. Goldman's commitment is also shaping up to be a two team race, only this time between Alabama and FSU. He visited their campuses on multiple occassions, and came back with glowing reports from each. Though he made a recent trip to Auburn, and could potentially travel to Clemson and Cal, it's hard to see him not signing with Jimbo Fisher. He'd form a punishing front line with fellow five-star Mario Edwards.

Considering: Cal, Florida, Oregon, Stanford, USC

Prediction: Stanford. Arguably the nation's top pure tackle -- Armstead is being heavily recruited as a defensive end -- Murphy has taken officials to Oregon, Florida and Stanford. The Cardinal are the frontrunners. It's too early to count out the Gators and Ducks, but it's difficult not to marvel at what David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin have accomplished in Palo Alto. Murphy will follow in their footsteps.

Considering: Florida State, Nebraska, USC, Stanford

Prediction: Nebraska. A 6-7, 305-pound force, Peat is potentially the most athletic tackle in the nation. And though he's being courted by a slew of BCS schools -- it wouldn't come as a huge surprise if he ended up at Stanford -- Nebraska is the safe bet. He was impressed with his visit to Lincoln last weekend, and, more importantly, has family ties there. His older brother, Todd, is a freshman defensive tackle for the Huskers.

Considering: Arizona State, Cal, Notre Dame, Oregon, Washington

Prediction: Cal. Thompson originally committed to Cal -- the program where his brother, Syd'Quan, once starred -- in March, but decommitted just six days later. With the Sun Devils' program amid transition, expect him to end up where he started. It'd be nothing short of shocking to see the U.S. Army All-American head elsewhere.

Considering: Arkansas, Notre Dame, LSU, Vanderbilt

Prediction: Notre Dame. Kiel committed to Indiana on July 27, sending shockwaves through the recruiting scene, but reneged on his pledge on Oct. 21. Since then, he's visited Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and LSU, and has shown signs of favoring the former. Kiel plans to enroll at the school of his choice in January, which could offer Irish fans the first glimpse of their potential quarterback of the future.

UPDATE: Kiel commited to LSU on Dec. 27.

Considering: Florida, LSU, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State

Prediction: Maryland. Spence seemed Penn State-bound until last month's scandal -- and subsequent Joe Paterno firing -- derailed what appeared to be a Nittany Lion lock. LSU, Ohio State, Florida and Maryland have since entered the picture, and Spence's family has developed a strong relationship with the latter. The Terps' proximity and academic focus will be weighed heavily, but keep an eye on the surging Buckeyes. The 6-3, 235-pounder is exactly the type of prospect that new coach Urban Meyer could pick off.

Considering: Cal, Colorado, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan, Rutgers

Prediction: Michigan. The nation's top-ranked corner, Wright has been all over the map during his recruitment cycle. He holds offers everywhere from Cincinnati to Cal, and no team has emerged as a clear favorite. The Wolverines, however, seem to hold a slim lead.

Considering: Cal, Florida, LSU, Rutgers

Prediction: Rutgers. It's been rumored for a while now: Hamilton, the son of former NFL Pro-Bowler Keith and a bona fide five-star prospect, is likely to commit in-state to Rutgers. It'd be a huge get for Greg Schiano and Co., and it's not inconceivable. Teammate Leonte Carroo already pledged to the Scarlet Knights, and 2011 graduates Gary Nova and Paul Canevari are currently freshmen.

Considering: Alabama, Penn State, Nebraska, Rutgers

Prediction: Rutgers. One of the most electrifying athletes in the country, Fuller is another top recruit heavily considering Rutgers. Despite his interest in Bo Pelini's offensive scheme, he seems primed to stay close to home. Rutgers promised him a shot to start at quarterback (other schools are offering him as a corner), and he could turn the Scarlet Knights into a legitimate national contender by 2013 or '14.

Considering: Auburn, Cal, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia

Prediction: Virginia. Florida and Auburn once clearly led the race for Diggs, but hard-charging Virginia and Michigan have muddied the waters for one of the nation's premier prospects. The Cavaliers hold the current edge, but don't sleep on Ohio State. Urban Meyer plucked Jelani Jenkins from Good Counsel in 2009, and still has connections to the D.C.-area program.

Considering: Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami (Fla.), USC

Prediction: Florida. A model of versatility, Agholor has apparent upside at wide receiver, running back, safety and linebacker. But with dozens of school in pursuit -- including a potential dark horse in USC -- expect him to commit to the Gators. The explosive 6-1, 185-pounder is an ideal replacement for Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps following their graduation in the spring.

Considering: Cal, Florida, LSU, Nebraska, USC

Prediction: USC. The recruitment for McCarthy, the nation's fourth-ranked defensive tackle, is currently a two-horse race between USC and Cal. The Trojans are significant favorites. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron -- widely regarded as one of the best D-line coaches in the country -- has been all over the 315-pound stalwart since day one.

Considering: Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State

Prediction: LSU. The top prospect in Mississippi, Alford is a two-way star. In addition to his gridiron heroics, he's expected to be a top-round selection in next summer's MLB draft, a potential cause for concern for interested college programs. For now, however, the Tigers have the leg-up. Alford was debating between LSU and Ole Miss, and the Rebels are amid a period of uncertainty entering the Hugh Freeze era.

Considering: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee

Prediction: Alabama. Tall, athletic and talented, Jenkins could end up playing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Nick Saban and Co. recognized that, and, at this point, are the far-and-away the leaders for his services. Florida is the other major player, and Jenkins visited the Gators on Nov. 26. But all signs point to Tuscaloosa. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart has made a habit of nabbing top Georgia talents.

Considering: LSU, Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.)

Prediction: Florida State. A shutdown 5-11 corner, Howard is a virtual lock to stay in the Sunshine State. Florida, Florida State and Miami are among those still in contention, and Howard visited the Seminoles on Nov. 11. Barring a late change of heart, chalk another recruiting victory up for second-year coach Jimbo Fisher.

Considering: Cal, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Notre Dame, Stanford

Prediction: Stanford. Garnett, the state of Washington's top prospect, made an official visit to Michigan on Nov. 26 and watched the Wolverines' 40-34 victory over Ohio State. But though Brady Hoke and Co. made strides, they're still a ways behind David Shaw and Stanford. The Cardinal have a reputation as a West Coast offensive line haven, and they should lock up another Northwest talent here.

Considering: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State

Prediction: Auburn. Ward appeared 'Bama-bound for a while, but Auburn's late push appears to have given the Tigers the edge. He visited campus for the Iron Bowl, and though the Crimson Tide won, had nothing but rave reviews for Gene Chizik's team. And don't overlook Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have heightened their recruiting efforts in recent weeks, and could factor into the conversation before Ward makes his final decision.

Considering: Baylor, LSU, Michigan State, Texas, Texas A&M

Prediction: Baylor. A 6-6, 260-pound defensive line prospect, Magee is considering Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M. He visited Waco last weekend and made a trip to College Station on Nov. 18. Though it'll be close, he should go with the Bears. Riding the momentum of their best season in decades, they'll lock up their biggest commit in the class of 2012. It also helps that, as of Tuesday, the Aggies' coaching situation was yet to be resolved.

Considering: Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Stanford

Prediction: Oklahoma State. The son of one of the NFL's all-time great running backs, Sanders Jr. has been pegged as a future Cowboy since middle school. It's not a sure thing. Alabama is also prominently in the picture, and Stanford has emerged as a dark horse, with Sanders touring Palo Alto with Andrew Luck. In the end -- given Oklahoma State's 2011 success and his long-standing family ties -- Stillwater will be tough to top.

Considering: Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, West Virginia

Prediction: Virginia Tech. Caleb made multiple unofficial visits to Blacksburg, and it appears Virginia Tech -- and assistant coach and recruiter Shane Beamer -- have the inside track for the 6-3, 203-pound wideout. Hokies' faithful may have to wait to find out, though. Originally scheduled to commit at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Caleb now seems prepared to hold out until National Signing Day.

Considering: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU

Prediction: Auburn. It's by no means official, but Alexander, the nation's second-ranked outside linebacker, seems destined for the Tigers. He made an official visit for the Iron Bowl on Nov. 26, and has done nothing but shower last year's national champs with praise. Expect to see him at defensive coordinator Ted Roof's disposal in 2012.

Considering: Arkansas, Auburn, Iowa, Ohio State, Wisconsin

Prediction: Ohio State. Diamond was originally believed to be leaning toward Wisconsin, but Ohio State seems to be gaining some serious momentum. The 6-6, 290-pounder will officially visit Columbus over the weekend, and has scheduled an in-home visit with Urban Meyer for a later date. Auburn, Arkansas and Iowa also remain possibilities.

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