The BCS National Championship game is set, and it features two very talented teams in Florida State and Auburn. Both schools have signed an average of 10 four or five-star players over the last four classes. Coaching and development matters, but pretty much every national champion in the last decade has recruited at a high level. More on that later this week.
After not making his official visit to Florida, Gators commit Dalvin Cook, the five-star running back from Miami (Fla.) Central, took an official visit to Miami over the weekend. He spent a lot of time with Miami offensive coordinator James Coley on his official visit ($).
"I spent a lot of time with coach Coley," Cook said. "He is the one who would really be putting me in the right places to make plays. He is a great person. I got to know him better over the weekend. He showed me how he could use me, Joe, and Duke on the field at the same time and how it has been done before. He showed me a lot. We sat down for two hours on Saturday and we went over some packages and watched some film. He was showing me how he uses the players. He loves speed and I am that speed back. He was showing me that kind of stuff."
For what it's worth, Cook's grandmother told Ryan Bartow that she thinks Cook will pick Florida State ($):
"I think FSU," Cook said. "I really think Jimbo (Fisher) is genuine and there's stability there. They aren't going anywhere. I think what we are all waiting on is to see who Florida hires (at offensive coordinator)."
Sources tell me that Florida State remains confident it can flip him, but Miami people also remain confident. Oddly, the Florida folks I know aren't confident, despite Cook remaining committed to the Gators at the moment. Cook will be an early-enrollee, so his decision will come soon. He's also has signed financial aid agreements with all three schools, allowing for unlimited contact and public comment.
LSU: Leonard Fournette, a five-star running back from New Orleans and arguably the best player in the country, took his official visit to LSU. He spoke with Sonny Shipp about his trip ($):
"Everybody bonded and it was laid back. I didn't expect that at all," said the nation's No. 1 running back. "I expected it to be more business-like where we talked about how they would use me and things like that. I already knew that stuff so I liked how it was laid back and just so comfortable."
Fournette, the closest thing I've seen to Willis McGahee in a long time, is a battle between LSU and Alabama.
LSU also hosted Tony Brown (five-star cornerback), Jamal Adams (five-star safety) and teammates Gerald Willis (five-star defensive lineman) and Speedy Noil (five-star receiver). Hosting five five-stars in one weekend is absolutely ridiculous, and LSU pitched the group on playing together and bringing another title to LSU. I expect LSU to land four of the five, and am unsure on Adams at the moment. This will be a special class for the Tigers.
Alabama: Fournette is set to visit Alabama next weekend, as is Jalen Tabor, a five-star defensive back from DC, and Brian Wallace, a four-star offensive tackle from St. Louis.
Cornerback is usually a strong spot for Alabama's defense, but not this year. And that makes the Tide's recruiting of the position all that more interesting. Auburn has a real shot to flip Alabama cornerback commitment Kalvaraz Bessent. Because of that, it will be very important for the Tide to land Marlon Humphrey, the five-star cornerback from Hoover (Ala.). Florida State is the top competition for Humphrey, who is an Alabama legacy.
Several schools added major commitments in the last week.
- Josh Malone, a four-star receiver from Tennessee, chose to stay home and play for the Vols. Malone was a huge get for the Vols, choosing them over Georgia and Clemson.
- Alabama landed four-star defensive tackle Jarran Reed, a JUCO player and former Florida commit from the previous cycle.
- Fahn Cooper, a four-star JUCO offensive tackle, picked the Ole Miss Rebels. Pass protection was a problem at times for Ole Miss, and Cooper might be able to help quickly.
- Garrett Dickerson, a four-star defensive end, chose Northwestern over a host of big BCS schools -- a major win for the Wildcats.
- Ainuu Taua, one of the top defensive linemen in California, picked the UCLA Bruins. Jim Mora continues to build a power in Los Angeles.
- Oklahoma State lost to Oklahoma over the weekend, but did grab a very good running back in Sione Palelei.
- Florida State added a commitment from Chad Mavety, a four-star JUCO offensive tackle. Obviously, protecting Jameis Winston in 2014 is paramount for the Seminoles.
- Dravon Henry, a four-star defensive back, committed to West Virginia Monday over Pitt and a few others.
- Zaycoven Henderson, a four-star defensive tackle, committed to Texas on Monday. Henderson was a former TCU commitment, and defensive tackle is a major position of need for the Longhorns.
- Charles Mosley, a four-star defensive tackle from Tennessee, chose the Volunteers. That's a big get, and not only because Mosley is around 350 pounds.
Raekwon McMillan will decide on December 16. Last week, I wrote this about McMillan:
Raekwon McMillan, the five-star linebacker of Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County, is set to decide on December 16. Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson are the three presumed favorites. He did visit Auburn for the Iron Bowl, but I think that effort from the Tigers came too late in the process. I think McMillan will be a Buckeye.
Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State will all have made in-home visits by the time he commits. He's long been a Buckeye lean, and I have no reason to believe he'll head elsewhere. We'll see if that changes this week.
Another star linebacker deciding on December 16 is Clifton Garrett, of Plainfield (Ill.). I would be very surprised if he chose anyone other than LSU, and the Tigers have been way out in front for quite a while. Garrett could play early for LSU because he has college-ready size.
Here is Garrett with LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis, in front of a purple and gold Christmas tree.
David Sharpe, the four-star offensive tackle from Jacksonville (Fla.) Providence High School, rescheduled his commitment date, but I still expect him to pick the Florida Gators in short order.
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