October 11, 2006

Ask Mike: The Devine question

Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell answers your questions in this week's version of the "Ask The Expert" mailbag. Farrell answers questions on top teams and players for 2007 and 2008 as well as where he thinks running back Noel Devine will play in college.

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With Texas' history of running the football and NFL-caliber backs, why is it that for the class of '07 - and even the class of '06 - UT has not had a top-five rated running back commitment? Selvin Young will be graduating next year, leaving '08 only with Jamaal Charles. Is UT holding off on recruiting running backs so as to not scare off 2008 stud Justin Johnson?

From: mjohn713, Houston, Tex.

Fan of: Texas


I don't think things look bleak in the backfield at Texas, not by a long shot. Texas loaded up on tailbacks last year and the year before. They also have a commitment from Foswhitt Whitaker this year. McGee was ranked as the No. 3 all-purpose back in the country in 2006 and was a Rivals100 member. Don't forget that Charles wasn't a top-five back in 2005, but he has turned out fine. Texas will get a stud 2008 running back for sure between Johnson and Jermie Calhoun. Texas will be just fine, trust me.

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What program will Noel Devine commit to?

From: Lee, Omaha, Neb.

Fan of: Nebraska


Ahhh, the million dollar question. Devine won't take any official visits until after his senior season is over. He'll be back on the field this Friday after missing two games due to a suspension at school for a confrontation. Florida State has done an excellent job recruiting Devine, and I think they have the edge. However, there is a real possibility that Devine wants to get out of Florida to play football. This is especially true after his latest suspension. That would make LSU, Southern Cal and Nebraska real possibilities. Devine feels he's under a microscope in Florida, and said he wouldn't mind going someplace where people haven't heard much about him for a clean start. Today I'd say FSU, but things are just starting for Devine.

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Tell me why Florida State, obviously in serious need of quality offensive linemen who can provide immediate support and a place where new prospects should be able to easily see an opportunity to participate immediately, continues to lose quality high school recruits to other schools (e.g., the Pouncey twins)?

From: EIEIO, Maryville, Tenn.

Fan of: Florida State


Another very good question. I think FSU has relied too much on their home state for offensive lineman rather than focus on areas known for producing big and physical guys up front. Some of the Florida linemen they've taken have not worked out, and I think there's an overall lack of toughness along the offensive line of scrimmage. Lately, FSU has started to be more aggressive in the Northeast and even the Midwest when it comes to linemen. They need to focus on other SEC states. Alex Barron and Walter Jones came from South Carolina and Alabama, respectively. The state of Florida is known for many things, but producing outstanding offensive linemen isn't one of them.

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Who are the out-of-state recruits that USC has a chance on picking up this year? Everson Griffen, Marvin Austin, Eric Berry, which ones?

- Trojan from Oklahoma City


I think USC leads right now for Griffen. They will be in the mix for Austin for sure, but they'll have stiff competition from Miami, FSU and Tennessee. As for Berry, I don't see him leaving SEC country. They have a good shot at Joe McKnight and Noel Devine, but again it will be tough pulling those two out of state.

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How do you see Auburn finishing this recruiting year? Do you think that last week's loss to Arkansas could have an effect on the recruits coming out of Arkansas? What are Auburn's chances with Caleb King? Thanks.

From: cbeck05, Auburn, Ala.

Fan of: Auburn


Auburn will finish strong. Yes, the loss to Arkansas gives Houston Nutt a whole lot of ammunition when it comes to keeping Lee Ziemba and Kodi Burns at home. Alabama looks in better shape with the top five or so players in state, but if Auburn can land Caleb King and a few others they'll be fine. I think Auburn is still the team to beat for King.

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Will OU get a quarterback this year and if they do will he be upper-class?

From: ICEMAN, Anadarko, Okla.

Fan of: Oklahoma


By "upper-class" I assume you mean top caliber. Yes, I think Oklahoma will get a quarterback this year … but the caliber remains to be seen. They are looking at junior college players, especially Cade Cooper from Snow College in Utah, but the coaches have been very selective with offers. I think a quarterback is needed in this class, but losing Rhett Bomar so late in the summer left the Sooners out of the mix for most of the top high school signal-callers. I think they'll reel in a top one in 2008 for sure.

Mike Farrell is a national
recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. href="https://rivals100.rivals.com/drawform.asp?form=968&SID=880">Click
here to send him a question or comment for his Mailbag.


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