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College football recruiting: Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida make most of big visits

All the recruiting news and notes from the weekend that was in college football.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Vols win in a loss

Tennessee couldn't quite spring the upset of Georgia, but an inspired comeback against a Bulldogs team that came in perhaps overlooking the Volunteers (and came out with a ton of injuries) was impressive to the recruits on hand. And there were many top recruits on hand.

Five-star linebacker Clifton Garrett is not seen as someone Tennessee will likely land, but he enjoyed the game and posted this photo to his twitter of him in front of Tennessee's famous rock, which bore the names of top recruits.

"A loss doesn't really define a team," Garrett said (ESPN $), "I think it's more about the way the guys play while they are losing -- that's a factor for me. I want to see if they just give up or do they keep fighting because that shows how much they believe in their coaches and the system. Obviously Tennessee fought hard in the Georgia game but came up a little short.

And strong defensive Cory Thomas, who formerly had Mississippi State as his No. 1, now has the Vols on top.

I expect Tennessee to end up with a top-10 class, and perhaps a class in the top-five. Butch Jones will use the Georgia game as an example of what Tennessee can do if it had just a few more top players to get over the hump.

On a small down note, Tennessee did lose a commitment from JUCO receiver Eric Lauderdale. Ultimately, this doesn't matter all that much. Tennessee likely won't be competing for the SEC East during the time Lauderdale would have been in school.

Oklahoma hosts horde

The Oklahoma Sooners hosted a ton of top prospects over the weekend, including a large contingent from California -- a place OU has done well recently. The Sooners hosted running back Joe Mixon, of Oakley (Calif.) Freedom High School, Adoree' Jackson, of Gardena (Calif.) Serra High School, and Michiah Quick of Fresno (Calif.) East. And the win over TCU featured some explosive offensive plays, great defense, and an electric atmosphere that few schools can match.

Here is Jackson on his visit:

Gators take advantage of rare night game

Florida fans have bemoaned the lack of night games in recent years. On Saturday, they got their wish, as UF dominated Arkansas in the Swamp under the lights. Two top prospects came away impressed.

David Sharpe, a top offensive tackle from Jacksonville (Fla.) Providence has been trending to Georgia and Clemson of late, so it was important for the Gators to get him in for a visit. He had a great time.

"It was a good atmosphere," Sharpe said ($) of the game. "It was my first night game inside the Swamp and I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the noise and the people. I was very excited about that, I really enjoyed it a lot."

Tight end Bryce Dixon, of California, is one of the best in the country at his position. He, too, enjoyed the visit.

"It was the best school I've visited so far," Dixon told 247Sports Monday morning ($). "I've been to UCLA, USC and Miami and those are my top choices. I've been to Arizona, too. Right now Florida set the tone and they set the bar high."

Who leads now for the four-star recruit?

"Florida one, then UCLA two and USC three," Dixon said. "If you want to go to the league you might as well play in the league before you go. I'm thinking about playing in the SEC."

Florida continues to be in contention for a top-five recruiting class.

  • Stanford had two important visitors this weekend in Texas defensive end Solomon Thomas and Arizona offensive tackle Casey Tucker. Stanford has recruited offensive linemen better than any school nationally, and Thomas would be an incredible pass rusher off the edge for the Stanford defense. The Cardinal stand a very good shot of landing the pair.
  • Virginia Tech added a commitment from defensive tackle Ricky Walker over the weekend. This is significant for two reasons: 1) Walker is a very solid player and 2) his brother plays for Virginia.
  • Florida State impressed Montae Nicholson, of Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway over the weekend.
  • Florida commit Ermon Lane will likely take trips to Alabama and Florida State. Out of Homestead (Fla.), Lane is a five-star receiver and either the best or second-best in the country at his position.
  • Virginia was blown out at home by Ball State in front of a pathetic crowd. Teams that get blown out by Ball State at home do not typically have or hold on to five four/five-star commitments. But that's what is happening at Virginia. Will UVa hold off on firing London just to keep the recruiting class together? Perhaps it should.
  • Leonard Fournette, the best high school running back since Adrian Peterson, helped New Orleans St. Augustine over River Ridge (La.) John Curtis High School with a 260-yard performance. Rapper Lil Wayne came away impressed. Fournette is considered a strong lean to LSU.
  • While Northwestern didn't come away with the win against Ohio State, it did show that it can compete at a high level in the Big Ten. That certainly won't hurt recruiting.

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