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October 25, 2005Given their struggles on the field, Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron and his staff will have to work some of their recruiting magic down the stretch to keep the Rebs' recruiting class, which currently ranks No. 17 nationally, completely intact.
Ole Miss commitment Kendrick Lewis made an unofficial visit to South Carolina for the Gamecocks' 35-28 victory against Vanderbilt last weekend and came away impressed with what he saw.
"South Carolina was all I expected and more," Lewis told Tony Morrell of GamecockCentral.com. "I had a great time at their game. Their fans were really loud, and it was a great environment. I also liked their weight room and their meeting rooms for the players. Their coaches seemed really cool, and I think they're real close to offering me."
The Gainesville (Ga.) High wide receiver/safety prospect committed to the Rebels when he was still playing for O.P. Walker in New Orleans, prior to Hurricane Katrina.
The 6-foot, 173-pounder says that he is still committed to Ole Miss, but those plans are not final. Florida and Virginia Tech, along with the Gamecocks and Rebels, are in the hunt.
Lewis is the second Ole Miss verbal commitment to look around. Tylertown (Miss.) offensive lineman Josh Davis is considering Georgia and Maryland, even though he already has pledged to the Rebels. He was scheduled to visit Athens for the Bulldogs' 23-20 victory against Arkansas this past weekend.
The majority of highlights in the Rebels' current crop of recruits are prep school or junior college prospects who appear solid to Ole Miss. Keeping the high school prospects committed, however, is far more important to building a solid foundation to the program because of the number of years those players have in the system.
Vols have a shot at another great LB
Harrisburg (Pa.) four-star linebacker Jeremiha Hunter will make an official visit to Knoxville this weekend for Tennessee's home game with South Carolina. The nation's fifth-ranked outside linebacker prospect has the Vols, along with Iowa, Penn State, Georgia, Florida and Connecticut in his top group of schools.
Should Hunter emerge from this weekend's trip with Tennessee as a favorite, he would be the third high-profile 'backer that the Vols are in a strong position with, joining Highland Springs (Va.) four-star prospect Jarrell Miller and Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds inside linebacker Joshua Tatum, a top 30 prospect nationally.
Big battle for 'Bama big man
One of the best in-state recruiting battles in the state of Alabama this season could develop with defensive tackle Jermarcus Ricks of Leighton Colbert County.
After visiting Tuscaloosa during the weekend for the Tide's 6-3 victory against Tennessee, the Rivals250 prospect told Tim Watts of BamaOnLine.com that Alabama has moved ahead of Auburn for his services.
Ricks, however, does have a family tie down on The Plains. His brother attends Auburn.
Will the Tide's surge in recruiting (they lead or are in good position for many of the state's top prospects) be enough to land Ricks? Or will his family ties sway him back to Auburn?
Crowded situations for Schaeffer
One of the more puzzling recruiting storylines around the league is Florida's pursuit of Sunshine State native and former Tennessee starting quarterback Brent Schaeffer.
The five-star prospect from the College of the Sequoias in California says that the Gators have verbally offered him a scholarship and are pursuing the talented signal caller. Interesting enough because Florida already has freshman Josh Portis backing up its current starter, junior Chris Leak.
Also, the Gators already have Rivals100 quarterback Jevan Snead, who will be able to enroll before Schaeffer, committed. And what about key target Tim Tebow, the nation's top dual-threat quarterback?
Who knows? But Florida will be looking at a serious logjam should it land Schaeffer and Tebow.
It is also curious what Ole Miss, the other SEC team interested in the Deerfield Beach, Fla., native, will do should Schaeffer sign with the Rebs. Californian Michael Herrick and Texan Nick Stephens already have verbally committed in this class and Mississippi remains in hot pursuit of four-star standout Chris Smelley of Tuscaloosa (Ala.) American Christian.
Could Ole Miss take four quarterbacks in one class?
This, that and the other
The nation's top quarterback prospect, Georgia commit Matthew Stafford from Dallas Highland Park, threw for 391 yards and accounted for three total touchdowns in his high school game last week. ... Kentucky is hanging tough with Rivals100 jumbo athlete Micah Johnson of Fort Campbell. The Wildcats remain in the top six with Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Louisville. ... LSU picked up what could be one of two wide receivers from Mobile, Ala., as Davidson High standout London Crawford cast his lot with the Tigers. Rivals100 standout wide receiver Jared White of Williamson High has had the Tigers on top for some time. ... Mississippi State recently has jumped in the mix for two California prospects, three-star wide receiver Tyquan Knox from Los Angeles Crenshaw and three-star athlete Andre Harris of Woodland Hills Taft. ... Vanderbilt is in the top three for three-star Columbus (Ga,) defensive tackle Quencey Patrick.
More Recruiting Blitzes:
• Pac-10: Cardinal hot
• Big Ten: PSU profits from visitors