Recruiting 2008 - Q&A With Jamie Newberg
Clemson recruit Daquan Bowers
Clemson recruit Daquan Bowers
Posted Jan 22, 2008

Who is Daquan Bowers and why should Clemson fans be fired up? Who are the other top recruits ready to make an impact? How will several coaching changes affect the recruiting season? national recruiting guru Jamie Newberg lets you know how it'll all impact things on the field this year.

The 2008 Recruiting Season

Q&A With's Jamie Newberg

By Pete Fiutak   

- 2008 Recruiting ... What You Need To Know

What's happening in the recruiting world? What do you really need to know? Here to answer some key questions is Jamie Newberg, one of's recruiting gods/national scouts to make sense of it all.

Outside of QB Terrelle Pryor, who are the three other major make-or-break recruits the average fan should care about?

Jamie Newberg: WR Julio Jones, RB Darrell Scott, S Will Hill, DE Daquan Bowers, WR AJ Green, OT Mike Adams... now there are a bunch of kids that should make a big splash as true freshmen, but these guys, plus Pryor, could make an immediate impact at their respective schools.  I see ryor getting a Tim Tebow role (like when TT was a true frosh sharing time with Leak) at whatever school he picks (likely Ohio State, but it's still way up in the air).  Scott is good enough to push for immediate playing time at Colorado or Texas; I think he picks between those two.  Hill has great range and is tough in run support, and with Florida having a glaring weakness at safety, I could see him having the same impact for the Gators as Eric Berry had for the Vols.  Bowers is this year's Everson Griffen (USC) and he should at least get into the Clemson rotation.  Barring injury, I would think Green sees immediate time in Athens and could start early for the talented Dawgs, while Adams will be another great OT in Columbus.

How much was LSU helped by getting the Miles thing settled, and are things better, worse, or the same recruiting-wise than they were under Saban? (Subquestion, was Ohio State hurt at all by the last two national title showings?)
JN: It certainly helped that Miles squashed those rumors early (on the morning of SEC Championship game) and elected to stay in Baton Rouge.  LSU winning the SEC and National Title will obviously help the Tigers and they will close well.  Their recruiting really hasn't dropped off at all since Saban departed and Miles took over.  One thing people have to understand is the state of Louisiana is usually loaded, and I mean LOADED, with talent.  So who does LSU have to compete in-state wise for those top end kids?  Tulane?! No disrespect to the Green Wave, but I've only seen them beat LSU once for a big time in-state bluechipper (WR Roydell Williams) in the 16 seasons I've covered recruiting.  LSU owns Louisiana, and as long as it does, it'll always be a contender.  Sure they have to fend off the likes of FSU, Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, Alabama, etc., but they typically win on a ton more kids than they lose.  Then LSU spot recruits Texas, Florida and some other areas.  Bottom line, they have a great recipe for recruiting success, and Miles is really cooking right now.

Does a one-year boom really help recruiting in the long run? Will Kansas and Missouri start getting the top shelf guys?
JN: To stay a national power you have to recruit consistently well.  While one very good class will help in the foundation, you need several back to back to back big years to truly be a contender and power each and every season.  Consistency in recruiting is the key.

Do Michigan, Arkansas, UCLA and West Virginia, places with a major last second coaching change, really have a chance to do anything significant?
JN: Any time a team goes through a coaching change, recruiting is a struggle because that team has a short window, a mere six to eight weeks, to get a class together by National Signing Day.  Think about it, regardless of what school you are, you make a coaching change (let's say) and make a new hire in mid-December.  That means you have less than two months to assemble a staff, identify needs after evaluating what's already on campus and then go get those players.  You have to do in less than two months what your rivals have had all recruiting season to do.  In many cases, these kids are recruited for 12, 18 and 24 months by other schools and you have a few short weeks.  Remember, recruiting is about one word - RELATIONSHIPS!  That's why it's so hard for a new regime to do well.  However, if there is a coaching change at a good school who was putting together a good class before that change then all they need to do is hang on tight with those players.  A&M is a good example of that with what Mike Sherman has done.  But more times than not, teams struggle in relation with what they normally do in recruiting.  If you can sign a top 20-25 class, you did well.

Does the succession thing really help? Is Florida State going to do better now that the pass-the-torch to Fisher happened, and is Penn State getting hurt by not doing this?

JN: FSU naming Jimbo Fisher certainly helped the Noles in recruiting after getting hammered in a negative way in recruiting over the years in terms of Bobby Bowden's future.  Teams would hit them with "you won't play all four (or five) years with Bowden and you don't know who the next guy will be."  Now that's answered and it has helped.  Penn State keeps plugging along in their situation and they have always seemed to recruit pretty well.

Which schools have the best reputation for developing talent as opposed to, say, USC, which gets the ready-made stars?
JN: I was a huge fan of Bobby Petrino at Louisville while he was there because I thought he did just that.  I think Virginia Tech has consistently done that as well as anyone in terms of development.  Wisconsin too.  I think you can make a case for Missouri and Kansas based on what they did this past season.

Why isn’t more made of the schools that recruit to type? It seems like all the recruiting gurus spend so much time focusing on the superstars that they neglect to give enough analysis to the teams that get guys who fit. For example, West Virginia and Wisconsin are never on the top of the recruiting rankings.
JN: Very true.  Nebraska used to be like that, too.  I think Virginia Tech does that as good or better than anyone.  Obviously, teams recruit to their needs and schemes.  Terrelle Pryor would not have been a good fit in the old Michigan scheme, but he's perfect in the current one with Rodriguez.  On one hand you see Ohio State, USC, Florida, LSU and some others always find themselves atop the recruiting rankings, but teams like Virginia Tech, the old Nebraska, West Virginia and Wisconsin are rarely that high.  Why?  I think it stems a lot from several things.  You have to get those kids in school, and then you have to coach them up and develop them.  Plus, you need that one player to make it happen.  Like a Pat White at WV.  Had he signed with LSU (he's original commitment) then would have WV seen the same success the past three years?  Slaton was headed to Maryland... etc.  Sometimes you get lucky (Slaton) and sometimes the persistence pays off (White).  Wisconsin is more of a system recruiting team.