March 05, 2012

After another week of recruiting happenings, Rivals has assembled a notebook breaking down the latest developments. Here are several players, programs and trends to watch in the 2013 cycle.

DE Kylie Fitts, Redlands, Calif.

The East Valley (Calif.) defensive end has enjoyed a memorable couple of days. Fitts received an offer to USC on Wednesday and was invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Thursday. Even though the Trojans have long been one of his favorites, the 6-foot-4, 260-pounder plans to take visits to Notre Dame and Oklahoma, among others, before making a commitment. Fitts finished with 79 tackles and 8.5 sacks during his junior season and is a big, strong and athletic defensive end who can make plays all over the field. He already has double-digit offers.

DB Tre Bell, Jersey City, N.J.

A standout at St. Peter's Prep (N.J.), Bell has become one of the hottest prospects in the Northeast region over the last month. After starting slowly, he has reeled in offers from Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, South Carolina and West Virginia. He added his 15th offer on Monday, from Boise State, and should continue to see his total grow as the spring evaluation period approaches. A 5-foot-11, 170-pounder, Bell has visits scheduled for Florida and South Carolina in addition to West Virginia for the Mountaineers' spring game.

RB Godwin Igwebuike, Pickerington, Ohio

Igwebuike's teammate, Pickerington (Ohio) North four-star tight end Jake Butt, received a bevy of high-profile offers following his junior season. Now it's Igwebuike's turn. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound back recently received offers from Illinois and Indiana -- bringing his total to 12 -- while stoking interest in three Midwest powerhouses: Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame. As a junior, Igwebuike rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns and hauled in six interceptions as a cornerback.

WR Corey Robinson, San Antonio

The San Antonio Christian (Texas) wideout, and the son of NBA legend David Robinson, seemingly emerged from nowhere at last month's U.S. Army Combine. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound junior picked up his first offer from Notre Dame two weeks ago, and additional ones haven't stopped pouring in since. Robinson has been offered by Navy, his father's alma mater, Iowa, Kansas and North Carolina. The Tar Heels were the latest enter the mix, and, as with Kansas, have mentioned the possibility of Robinson playing basketball as well as football. Stanford has yet to offer, but could be in very good position if it did.


DE Antonio Riles, Lawrenceville, Ga.

The Archer (Ga.) star was virtually unknown outside of the Atlanta area until recently. Then Kentucky offered. Florida, Georgia and Tennessee followed suit. Now, Riles is one of the most coveted prospects in the talent-rich Southeast. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder is still a tad raw, but makes plays and boasts one of the most impressive frames in the region. Expect more offers to come his way in the very near future.

Northeast: Penn State

The Nittany Lions had a very nice day on Wednesday, landing four-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg and four-star athlete Ross Douglas. Hackenberg is especially crucial because of the team's dire need at quarterback -- and the fact that the Virginia native chose Penn State over Alabama and Florida, among others. Hackenberg and Douglas constitute the first two commitments for Penn State's 2013 class and a foundation that Bill O'Brien can build around. Will four-star tight end Adam Breneman be the next to pledge?

Midwest: Michigan State

The Spartans hosted another big junior day on Saturday, gaining two significant commitments despite the absence of coach Mark Dantonio. They landed Warren (Ohio) Harding athlete Jalyn Powell, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect who will likely play safety in East Lansing, and Beaver Dam (Wisc.) running back R.J. Shelton, who runs a 4.4 40. Shelton was just starting to raise his profile, and is a big pickup at a major position of need for Michigan State in 2013.

Southeast: Florida State

Jimbo Fisher hosted another fruitful junior day last Saturday, helping the Seminoles land four commitments, including three from the 2013 ranks. Florida State landed verbals from Orlando (Fla.) Evans wide receiver Tony Stevens, Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast safety Tyrell Lyons and Orlando (Fla.) Evans outside linebacker Ro'Derrick Hoskins. Orange Park (Fla.) strongside defensive end De'Asian Richardson also pledged, but immediately reneged on his decision as he didn't consult with his family or coaches beforehand. But the biggest news? The Seminoles bolstered their future by securing a commitment from Auburndale (Fla.) athlete Derwin James, a highly touted member of the class of 2015.

Southwest: Texas

After handing out just one offer at this weekend's junior day event, the Longhorns dished out some additional offers on Saturday night and Sunday morning. They were immediately rewarded. Texas received verbals from four-star linebacker Deoundrei Davis, four-star athlete Jacorey Warrick, fast-rising defensive end Daeshon Hall and four-star offensive tackle Kent Perkins by Monday. In fact, the only prospect to be offered over the weekend that didn't commit was defensive end Torrodney Prevot, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound Houston native who remains undecided.

West: Utah and Washington State

The Utes picked up two commitments from Woods Cross (Utah) linebacker Filipo Mokofisi and Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood tight end Siale Fakailoatonga, signaling a stellar start to the 2013 recruiting cycle. Utah could make national headlines by adding additional in-state prospects, although some quality talents -- such as Cottonwood quarterback Cooper Bateman and Woods Cross safety Sean Barton -- could very well leave the state to play in college.

Washington State held its first junior day under coach Mike Leach, and things went well. Wenatchee (Wash.) offensive tackle Cody O'Connell, among many others, reportedly enjoyed the trip, and quarterbacks Kolney Cassel from Yakima (Wash.) Eisenhower and Sefo Liufau out of Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep were on campus. Neither, however, has been offered to date.

RB Berkley Edwards, Chelsea, Mich.: The 5-foot-8, 176-pound all-purpose back is the brother of wide receiver Braylon Edwards and son of former NFL running back Stan Edwards. He recently picked up his first offer from Central Michigan, and several more could be on the way: Nebraska, Penn State, Oregon, Iowa, LSU and Auburn have invited Edwards to camp. Though he's not the biggest back in the 2013 class, he's certainly one of the fastest. He clocked a 6.88 60-meter dash at the Michigan High School Indoor Championships over the weekend, reportedly the 12th best time in the country this year.

LB Brandon Bell, Mays Landing, N.J.: A linebacker and running back out of Oakcrest High (N.J.), Bell has been a known entity in South Jersey over the past couple of years. The rest of the nation is finally beginning to take notice. Bell picked up offers from Northwestern, Rutgers, Connecticut and West Virginia, and his recruiting process has the potential to become very hectic by the time the spring evaluation period rolls around.

S Marcus McWilson to Nebraska: McWilson's commitment signifies a recruiting landmark for the Huskers. Coach Bo Pelini has tried to expand Nebraska's Midwest footprint since joining the Big Ten, and though he made strides in the 2012 class, an early commitment from one of the region's top 2013 prospects is an encouraging harbinger of things to come. Although McWilson does attend Pelini's alma mater -- Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney -- it comes as a surprise that the 6-foot, 195-pound prospect committed as early in the cycle as he did.

OT Kent Perkins to Texas: Dallas Lake Highlands offensive tackle Kent Perkins committed to Texas two days after visiting Austin for a junior day. The commitment of the nation's No. 25 prospect serves as a big blow for Oklahoma and Texas A&M, as both seemed in good position to land the 6-foot-5, 300-pounder. Perkins marks the sixth Rivals100 pledge for Texas in this cycle -- a continuation of Mack Brown's tradition of offseason recruiting dominance.

WR Earnest Robinson to Auburn: Robinson's verbal was a huge get for Gene Chizik and the Tigers on several levels. First, it creates recruiting momentum, temporarily countering the moves made by Nick Saban and Co. in Tuscaloosa. More importantly, however, it provides Auburn with one of the state's premier offensive prospects. Out of Pinson Valley, Ala., Robinson just missed making the initial Rivals100 (he's No. 101) and is a solidly built 6-foot-3 talent who could pose matchup issues upon his future arrival to campus.

• Ontario (Calif.) Colony is again producing D-I caliber talent. Athlete Bryan Harper signed with Arizona last year, and athlete Samajie Grant, running back Dontel James and quarterback Matt Simko are all primed to enter the college ranks next year. Grant recently added offers from Arizona, UCLA and Washington State, while James holds an offer from Rich Rodriguez and Arizona. Simko threw for 1,893 yards and 11 touchdowns during his terrific 2011 campaign.

• Quarterback Tim Boyle of Middletown (Conn.) Xavier has been a regional recruit to date, with offers from Connecticut, Boston College and Syracuse. However, Boyle took an unofficial visit to Florida, and Auburn and Tennessee are now inquiring about the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder. Don't be surprised if Boyle becomes a hot name in the coming months.

• Here's one of the more eye-popping stats demonstrating the acceleration of the recruiting process: Of the 13 Midwest prospects in the Rivals100, eight have already made their college commitments and a ninth, Trotwood (Ohio) linebacker Mike McCray (No. 44), is scheduled to reveal his decision in the coming week. Eleven months remain until National Signing Day, and the majority of the region's elite prospects have already pledged their services.

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