It was quite the busy weekend in college football recruiting. Alabama had an awesome group of star recruits visiting, so the biggest story lines came out of Tuscaloosa. And the Tide came through in an awesome environment in front of its four- and five-star recruits.
The most heralded player in attendance was Leonard Fournette, the best running back in the country and perhaps the best overall player. The five-star from New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine came away very impressed.
Mr. Roll tide and I pic.twitter.com/pIsNnCW8lL— LeonardFournette (@_fournette) November 9, 2013
He got to hang with a lot of Louisiana kids who are committed to or leaning to Alabama. From ESPN:
"It was amazing," Fournette said. "Both teams came out and played a good game. The crowd, especially the atmosphere, everything was great. Just to come out and hanging out with the guys like big Cam [Robinson], Tony Brown, [Laurence] "Hootie" Jones and all of them. We just hung out and had a good time."
Robinson, a five-star tackle prospect and a fellow Louisiana native, spent most of his night hanging out with Fournette. The two didn't spend much time talking about attending the same school, however.
"It was fun to hang with Cam -- it was a good experience," Fournette said. "Me and Cam was up there talking, enjoying the game and having fun. We didn't really talk about football, we talk more about our seasons and stuff like that. We don't talk much about Alabama or what schools we're going to go to."
I've long thought Fournette would end up at LSU. If he heads to the Tide, it could be a scary scenario for the rest of college football.
Johnnie Dixon, a four-star receiver out of Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer High School, tweeted about Alama's atmosphere.
It's tooooo live pic.twitter.com/1bA3a1G5kO— Johnnie Dixon (@JDStandAlone) November 9, 2013
Dixon is also strongly considering Miami.
2015 superstar offensive linemen Drew Richmond, of Memphis, was similarly impressed.
Bama was that spot tonight though 🐘🐘— Drew Richmond (@TheDream_75) November 10, 2013
Home teams whiff
On the whole, however, it was a weekend of missed opportunities for home teams on big weekends.
Tennessee couldn't pull the upset of Auburn because it couldn't stop the run at all and its special teams were embarrassing. Florida lost at home on homecoming to Vanderbilt for the first time since the 40's. Michigan lost in the Big House to a bad Nebraska team. Arizona missed out on its chance to beat a ranked UCLA team. Ditto Utah, which almost upset Arizona State. Kentucky could not show any progress against Missouri, losing by more than four touchdowns. Maryland was embarrassed at home by Syracuse. And Texas Tech was destroyed at home by Kansas State.
Despite Tennessee's loss, five-star offensive tackle David Sharpe seems to have enjoyed himself ($):
"I think it's a great school," said Sharpe, who's ranked by 247Sports as the nation's No. 10 overall prospect and No. 2 offensive tackle in the 2014 class. "Before, I just thought it was just another school, but it wasn't nothing like what I thought. People were telling me it was a great school, great fans and great atmosphere, and it was."
Tennessee can offer early playing time, and that's something important to Sharpe.
Florida did host two superstar defensive linemen in New Orleans' Gerald Willis and Virginia's Da'Shawn Hand. Willis tweeted positive remarks about the Gators.
I still expect Willis to select LSU.
Hand also seemed to enjoy his visit.
Great weather down here pic.twitter.com/RlOzCfhihj— Da'shawn Hand (@TheHand54) November 9, 2013
It's sucks that all 3 schools are great. Hardest decision of my life!! Can't wait til Thursday!— Da'shawn Hand (@TheHand54) November 10, 2013
Michigan and Alabama are Hand's other two finalists. He decides Thursday. As of now I think he will choose Michigan, but Alabama is a tough team to turn down.
Florida's recruiting will be some of the most interesting to watch down the stretch. Will commitments Dalvin Cook and Ermon Lane, five-stars from the Miami area, stick with Florida? And can UF land long-time Gators lean Jamal Adams, a five-star safety from Texas who seems to have renewed interest in the Longhorns? And will Florida commitment J.C. Jackson, a recent attendee at quite a few Miami Hurricanes' home games, stick with Florida? Is FSU in the picture as well in addition to the 'Canes? We shall see.
- Speaking of Michigan, Brady Hoke keeps reeling in top recruiting classes, but they aren't making much progress at all on the field. Like Florida, Michigan is completely incapable of putting together a competent offense. Last weekend was particularly disappointing, given how terrible Nebraska's defense is this year. I expect that Hoke will continue to be fine in recruiting for at least another year because he and his staff are great salesmen, but at some point, opponents will begin to use Michigan's lack of results against it via negative recruiting.
- Is Randy Edsall now on the hot seat at Maryland? And if so, are local five-stars Jalen Tabor and Damian Prince still locks to the Terrapins, as many believe? Will Maryland want to stick with a coach who has had a disastrous tenure, albeit mostly due to crazily bad injury luck? This situation is worth watching.
- Another week, and another awful loss by Virginia. Opposing coaches are waiting to pounce on UVa's surprisingly excellent class if the Hoos pull the plug on Mike London.
- There's a good chance Miami soon adds four-star defensive lineman Anthony Moten, of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas.
- Minnesota is battling Florida State and Arkansas for local four-star offensive tackle Frank Ragnow. Is the Gophers' surprising season enough to keep him from leaving the state?
The gophers looked really good today #wow— Frank Ragnow (@KNARFWONGAR) November 9, 2013