April 09, 2012

After another week of 2013 recruiting happenings, Rivals recaps the top storylines from each BCS conference.

Clemson is now clearly in the driver's seat for Olney (Md.) Good Counsel linebacker Dorian O'Daniel. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder will attend the Tigers spring game next weekend and, though he originally planned to announce his commitment at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, could pull the trigger by sometime early in the summer. O'Daniel still plans to meet with other programs, but right now there isn't a clear No. 2: There's Clemson and there's everyone else.

O'Daniel's teammate, five-star cornerback Kendall Fuller, will head to Michigan's spring game on April 14. However, he visited Clemson with O'Daniel a month ago and the Tigers remain high on his list. But Virginia Tech remains a heavy favorite. His older brother Vincent was a Hokies' standout, and siblings Corey and Kyle are both on the active roster.

Louisville is off to a strong start with four three-star commitments, the latest coming from Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King linebacker Jacarthy Mack. Things could soon get even better. With the spring game approaching, the Cardinals are expecting to host most of the top in-state talent, including Louisville (Ky.) wideout James Quick, defensive end Jason Hatcher and (possibly) quarterback Travis Wright.

Coach Charlie Strong has found success in South Florida, and he's already landed three-star safety Donel Elam out of Fleming Island (Fla.). If he can increase his local clout -- only two signees from last year's 22-player class were from Kentucky -- Louisville could have the makings of a perennial Big East recruiting power.

With so many early commitments in the class of 2013, there's bound to be an increased number of decommitments as well. One of the first came on April 1. Four-star Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic safety Jayme Thompson flipped his commitment to Ohio State after pledging to West Virginia in February.

It's a big pickup for the Buckeyes, but it's not the only one. St. Louis (Mo.) John Burroughs running back Ezekiel Elliot also offered his verbal, bringing Urban Meyer's 2013 commitment total to seven (all of whom are four- and five-star prospects). Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney linebacker Courtney Love and Lemont (Ill.) offensive tackle Ethan Pocic could be the next touted targets on Ohio State's radar.

Traditionally, Texas Tech has had to wait until its spring game to experience a string of early commitments. This year's cycle is a different story. Tommy Tuberville and Co. locked up Houston (Texas) Bellaire wideout Devin Lauderdale, Manvel (Texas) cornerback Tavares Gardner and Dallas (Texas) Skyline cornerback Will Barrow all before the start of March and their momentum keeps on rolling: Three-star Whitehouse (Texas) receiver Dylan Cantrell pledged at the spring game, bringing Texas Tech's early verbal total to five.

The Red Raiders heavily pursued JUCO prospects last year, signing nine in their 26-player class. If they continue their current pace, however, look for them to buck that strategy in 2013.

After landing blue-chip Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline quarterback Max Browne last Wednesday, the Trojans are off to a monster start. They've now secured two five-stars (Browne and Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy defensive end Kenny Bigelow) and don't show any signs of slowing down. Lane Kiffin is already making inroads with several other top targets.

Running backs Ty Isaac and Justin Davis, offensive tackle Nico Falah, defensive ends Joe Mathis and Kylie Fitts, linebacker Michael Hutchings and defensive backs Priest Willis, Max Redfield and Tahaan Goodman all reportedly list USC among their college frontrunners. So too do five-star safety Su'a Cravens and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III -- players whose commitments could seal a historically strong recruiting class.

Despite sanctions limiting the program to just 15 scholarships, USC is flying high. And given that it could compete for a national championship, its recruiting efforts could kick into a higher, possibly unprecedented, gear.

The Gators hosted their annual spring game on Saturday, and a plethora of top-tier prospects made it to Gainesville. A majority of the program's early verbals watched their future team in action -- including Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Day running back Kelvin Taylor -- and several others made their commitments: Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep cornerback Tre Bell, Jacksonville (Fla.) Bishop Kenny wideout Ahmad Fulwood and Lithonia (Ga.) Martin Luther King offensive guard Joshua Outlaw all pledged on April 7.

After locking up last year's No. 3 recruiting class, Will Muschamp already boasts 14 players in his 2013 haul. If he can reel in a few more top-ranked talents, including Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Joey Bosa, the Gators could contend for this cycle's overall recruiting crown.

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