August 2, 2007

Heartland uncommitted prospect breakdown

[rl] The race for many of the top prospects in the Heartland region is heating up as the season approaches. recruiting editor Jeremy Crabtree brings you the latest on the region's best recruits.

He offers up his insight on which teams he feels are in the driver's seat and which schools could sneak into the picture.

Here's the breakdown:

Top 25 uncommitted in the Heartland

Arthur Brown, Wichita (Kan.) Wichita East

Brown in action

Preseason take: Brown recently took a two-week tour across the Southeast and the Big 12 regions. He liked some new schools, and he's close to reducing his list to about 16 programs. You can count on teams like Oklahoma, USC, Florida and Florida State probably being there for sure. It wouldn't be shocking to see Alabama on his list. The Tide has climbed the charts after a strong unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa. Brown also says he's still considering Kansas State, but it'll be interesting to see if the Wildcats will get a visit. Oklahoma has been in on him the longest - since before his sophomore season - so the Sooners look to be in good shape here. However, the race to land this five-star prospect is far from finished.

Team to Beat: Oklahoma

Darkhorse: Alabama

Chancey Aghayere, DE, Garland, Texas

Aghayere in action

Preseason take: It's seemed like Texas has been the team to beat with Aghayere since Day One, but he has an official visit to Florida set up before his birthday. It could get interesting if he visits Texas - officially or unofficially - before his Florida trip. Louisville is probably the dark horse here since one of his teammates, Jacques Caldwell, committed to the Cardinals. Either way, it could be really interesting to see what happens with this five-star prospect.

Team to Beat: Texas

Darkhorse: Louisville

Jameel Owens, WR, Muskogee, Okla.

Owens in action

Preseason take: Owens has not tipped his hand publicly, but many believe he's Oklahoma's to lose. The Sooners have a great relationship with the staff at Muskogee. Big, physical receivers are also a big part of OU's offense. Owens also has offers from Arkansas, Florida, Kansas State, LSU, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and many others. One team that could make things interesting could be LSU.

Team to Beat: Oklahoma

Darkhorse: LSU

Jeff Fuller, WR, McKinney (Texas) Boyd

Fuller in action

Preseason take: It sure seems like it could come down to Texas and Texas A&M with Fuller. Florida has the only official visit set right now, so the Gators could be a dark horse in this race. Fuller just returned from an unofficial visit to College Station.

Team to Beat: Texas or Texas A&M

Darkhorse: Florida

Jon Major, LB, Parker (Colo.) Ponderosa

Major in action

Preseason take: Major says he still has a long list of about 10 teams, but three schools - Wisconsin, Colorado and Oklahoma - appear to have official visits lined up with him. That's a pretty good sign as to who might be in the cat bird's seat. With the success that CU has had with other high profile guys in-state lately, don't be shocked if Major heads to Boulder. But also don't be surprised if Wisconsin or Oklahoma lands him. Whoever does get him will sign one of the nation's best run stuffers.

Team to Beat: Colorado

Darkhorse: Oklahoma

Trevor Robinson, OL, Omaha (Neb.) Elkhorn

Robinson in action

Preseason take: Robinson was originally committed to Nebraska. The pledge was about as solid as it could get, but then he opened things up and started to take a long look at Notre Dame. Many assumed that once he broke away from Nebraska that he was a goner. However, it seems like the Huskers are back in good shape with him. Robinson is a tough one to figure out, and hasn't talked to the coaches at Nebraska much. They have been "giving him space."

Team to Beat: Nebraska

Darkhorse: Notre Dame

Adrian Bushell, ATH, DeSoto, Texas

Bushell in action

Preseason take: Bushell still talks about 10 teams that are high on his list. It sounds like Oklahoma State has impressed him, but he has only set up one official visit - to Nebraska. Bushell seems really open at this point. The one thing that could be a factor here is if he wants to get back to Florida to play in college. If so, he could be a Gator.

Team to Beat: Oklahoma State

Darkhorse: Florida

Cyrus Gray, RB, DeSoto, Texas

Gray in action

Preseason take: Gray still lists 11 schools that are in the running for his services. It's tough to really know which way he's leaning, but there is certainly a good relationship with Texas A&M. Many think Notre Dame could also be a team that will be in it for a while. Cal, Florida, and Arizona are other visits he wants to take officially.

Team to Beat: Texas A&M

Darkhorse: Arizona

Omarius Hines, WR, Corsicana, Texas

Hines in action

Preseason take: Here's betting that Oklahoma and Florida are in this race until the end. Florida has yet to offer, but he seems intent on visiting those two schools officially - along with Michigan, Kansas and Texas Tech. Since OU has offered, let's pick the Sooners to land Hines. Watch out for either Kansas or Texas Tech as surprises.

Team to Beat: Oklahoma

Darkhorse: Texas Tech

Stacey McGee, DT, Muskogee, Okla.

McGee in action

Preseason take: McGee is a special player, and whichever team gets him will be very lucky. His offer list is rather long, and it includes teams like Arkansas, Kansas State, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Texas Tech. This is the type of kid that Oklahoma usually doesn't let get outside of the state. McGee has been rather noncommittal about naming the Sooners - or any other team - his favorite.

Team to Beat: Oklahoma

Darkhorse: Tennessee

Kye Staley, ATH, Guthrie, Okla.

Staley in action

Preseason take: Staley may be ranked a bit low since he is outside of the Rivals100, but he is one of those impact athletes that play quarterback because he's the best player on his team. He will be an excellent player with the ball in his hands in the future. He could also play defensive back at the next level. LSU leads a host of other national programs in this race. Staley was tempted to commit early to the Tigers, but that never materialized. Also watch out for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have done a great job in Oklahoma over the past few years.

Team to Beat: LSU

Darkhorse: Texas Tech

Victor Johnson, S, Waco, Texas

Johnson in action

Preseason take: Johnson wants to wait and see if Texas is going to offer him a scholarship. However, he probably won't hear anything soon from the Longhorns. Johnson does have offers from his current top three - Oklahoma State, Miami and Nebraska. He recently had a very good visit to Oklahoma State. Because of location and familiarity, the Cowboys look to be the team to beat at this point.

Team to Beat: Oklahoma State

Darkhorse: Miami

Kapron Lewis-Moore, DE, Weatherford, Texas

Lewis-Moore in action

Preseason take: : If they have room in their classes, this could easily be a guy that could end up at Notre Dame or Texas A&M. He really seemed to be high on both teams in his most recent update, but he has also said he hasn't narrowed things down at this point.

Team to Beat: Texas A&M

Darkhorse: Notre Dame

Curtis Cunningham, DT, Littleton (Colo.) Columbine

Cunningham in action

Preseason take: Cunningham is ready for action after going head-to-head each day in practice with class of 2007 five-star prospect Ryan Miller. It's no shock to see Colorado at the top of Cunningham's list, especially because Miller is there. The Buffs should be tough to beat here, but there are others like Utah and Arizona State that are intriguing to him.

Team to Beat: Colorado

Darkhorse: Utah

Tony Gillespie, DT, Jenks, Okla.

Preseason take: Gillespie made an early commitment to Oklahoma State but later backed out of that. He has picked up some other impressive offers from teams like Arkansas, Kansas and Kansas State. He is also drawing heavy interest from Florida and Tennessee. Gillespie has been quiet lately and hasn't talked too much about favorites. Arkansas has done a great job in Tulsa lately, so don't be shocked if the Hogs are quietly in the lead for him.

Team to Beat: Arkansas

Darkhorse: Kansas State

Chris Harper, ATH, Wichita (Kan.) Northwest

Harper in action

Preseason take: Harper wants to play quarterback, and at this point there are only a few schools that are giving him the opportunity to do that. Illinois, Kansas State and Missouri are pursuing the heaviest at quarterback, and other schools like Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M have offered him as an athlete. Harper wants a shot at quarterback, which is why K-State and Mizzou are near the top of his list. For K-State this is a must-get player since he's in-state. For Mizzou, he would be a huge steal.

Team to Beat: Kansas State

Darkhorse: Missouri

Joe Harris, ATH, Denver George Washington.

Preseason take: Harris is another Colorado player that has been taking a low-key approach to recruiting this summer. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound athlete has drawn early offers from Colorado, Colorado State, Washington State and Wyoming. However, most are assuming that he's Colorado's to lose. CU was his leader early in the process, and Darian Hagan has done a good job recruiting him. Watch out for Washington State as a potential dark horse.

Team to Beat: Colorado

Darkhorse: Washington State

D'Anton Lynn, S, Celina, Texas

Lynn in action

Preseason take: Lynn showed up at USC's Rising Senior Camp and walked away with a scholarship offer. That offer makes USC the team to beat. Lynn will only visit two other schools out of list of Penn State, Florida, Nebraska, Arkansas and Texas Tech. The dark horse could be Penn State. The Nittany Lions are one team about which he speaks highly.

Team to Beat: USC

Darkhorse: Penn State

Kyler Reed, ATH, Overland Park (Kan.) St. Thomas Aquinas

Reed in action

Preseason take: There are three teams that appear to be leading the way - Nebraska, Kansas State and Northwestern. Reed, who could play receiver or linebacker in college, will be at Nebraska's game against USC. He often talks about how he would be a great fit in K-State's offense, and Northwestern has the academics he likes - plus a former teammate. This is pretty tough to call, but Reed does say he has a bunch of friends that want to see him go to K-State. Nebraska might not have a ton of room left on their board for guys like Reed.

Team to Beat: Kansas State

Darkhorse: Northwestern

Andrew Sampson, OL, Aurora (Colo.) Overland

Sampson in action

Preseason take: Sampson is a mean, tough, hard-nosed and downright nasty blocker. It's surprising that more schools that recruit Colorado haven't offered him. Sampson has received plenty of attention from Air Force, Arizona State, Utah, Washington and Colorado State. Arizona State has been the longtime leader, and nothing has changed recently. Matt Lubick has done a great job for ASU.

Team to Beat: Arizona State

Darkhorse: Colorado State

Aldon Smith, DE, Raytown, Mo.

Smith in action

Preseason take: Most assumed Smith would already be committed to Mizzou, but that hasn't happened yet. He will take an unofficial visit to Nebraska early in the football season, and it looks like the Huskers are the chief competition for Mizzou. But with Nebraska not having a ton of room left for guys like Smith at defensive end, you have to wonder where he'll be on their chart. That could open up the door for K-State to be the dark horse. It could also get interesting if Iowa and Iowa State get involved, since Smith is originally from Iowa.

Team to Beat: Missouri

Darkhorse: Kansas State

Nathan Stanley, QB, Teresita (Okla.) Tahlequah

Stanley in action

Preseason take: Stanley went to about every camp that he could this summer. He came away almost earning an offer from Michigan, but the teams that look to have moved to the forefront are Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Arkansas and Oklahoma are also in there, but neither has offered. Those teams seem to have answered their quarterback questions in this year's class. It also seems that Oklahoma State has done the same by landing Kody Spano, so this looks to be Kansas State's race to lose. If OU or Oklahoma State decides to take another quarterback, then they could be easily become a factor.

Team to Beat: Kansas State

Darkhorse: Oklahoma

Kendall Wright, WR, Pittsburg, Texas

Wright in action

Preseason take: Baylor is definitely in front in this race, but that might also depend on how hard A&M decides to recruit him during his senior season. If the Aggies go full bore, then they're going to be tough to beat. Oklahoma State, Nebraska, A&M and Baylor all appear to be the top teams from him. He is holding things close to the vest at this point.

Team to Beat: Texas A&M

Darkhorse: Baylor

Duane Zlatnik, DE Rossville, Kan.

Preseason take: Zlatnik is tough as nails. He's a hard-nosed prospect, and the fight to land him has been just as tough. He has offers from Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Most of the attention has been focused on K-State and KU - and for good reason. Reports are that Zlatnik's family wants him to pick Kansas, but that he grew up a fan of K-State. He is also scheduled to visit Wisconsin this week. This is a tough call either way, but a lot of people close to the situation think he's heading to Kansas.

Team to Beat: Kansas

Darkhorse: Kansas State

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