Q&A With Scout.com's Scott Kennedy
Recruiting 2010 - The Key Questions, Part 1 - Is Bama taking advantage?
Recruiting 2010 - The Key Questions, Part 2 - Is Miami keeping the top
Recruiting 2010 - The Key Questions, Part
3 - Do recruits care about JoePa's future?
Recruiting 2010 - The Key Questions, Part
4 - How is FSU doing without Bobby Bowden?
Recruiting 2009 - The Key Questions
Recruiting 2009 -
Q&A with Scott Kennedy
What's happening in the recruiting world? What do you really need to know? Here to answer some key questions is Scott Kennedy, one of Scout.com's recruiting gods/national scouts to make sense of it all.
1. (Outside of Florida ... that's the next question) What's THE big storyline of the 2010 recruiting season?
I think you can include Florida in the big storyline and not because they have the #1 class. The big storyline this year was the turnover at some of the highest profile programs in the country. Going to Notre Dame to play for Charlie Weis? Pete Carroll at USC? Lane Kiffin at Tennessee? Bobby Bowden at Florida State? Or even Urban Meyer at Florida? Those are five perennial Top 10 recruiting teams.
The message to high school players should be more clear than ever: choose the program, not the people. Because even at the most rock solid of jobs, odds are the coach you commit to isn’t going to be there when you leave in five years.
2. Why doesn't it seem like anyone is taking advantage of the Urban Meyer health issues? Florida appears to be getting everyone it wants, while any negative recruiting against Florida isn't having any effect.
I don’t think people believe that Urban Meyer is going to be gone. But let’s face it, for the better part of 20 years, Florida has been the marquee team in the college football’s marquee conference, in the nation’s most talent rich state.
Florida is bigger than even Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow.
3. Who are three sure-thing future first-round draft picks that every fan needs to know about?
I might just go 1-2-3 in the Scout rankings.
Picking offensive linemen may be the most risky along with quarterbacks, but it’s hard to bet against Seantrel Henderson of St. Paul, Minn., Scout’s #1 recruit. He’s got NFL size at 6-8/340 and athleticism being a basketball player. I always wanted to know what Glen “Big Baby” Davis would have looked like had he stuck with football instead of moving to basketball, and I think we’ll get a chance to find out with Henderson.
Florida commitment Ronald Powell of Moreno Valley, Calif. has defensive back like agility at 6-4/250. He could be the big outside linebacker in an NFL 3-4 (think Spencer Ware), or he could be an edge rusher at defensive end.
Receiver Robert Woods (6-2/185) of Gardena, Calif., is a two way star for his Serra team that could be equally as dangerous at free safety. But the separation he gets at wide receiver is unparalleled across the nation. He has track speed but is a pure football player who also happens to be a state champ in track.
4. What's the most important recruiting battle going on right now?
I think we’d have to go back to #1 Seantrel Henderson. Only two of the Top 15 prospects in the country haven’t made commitments. Henderson is a guy that a team can sign, and then forget about the left tackle position for the next three years. Strong lines make everyone on the team better from quarterbacks to running backs to offensive coordinators, and there isn’t a better lineman in the country than Henderson.
5. What under-the-radar prospects should step in and fill an immediate hole?
I’ve always said that playing early is more a matter of depth than it is talent, but it’s nice if a team can fill a hole in a depth chart with a big-time talent. It’s hard to ask the guy who is in charge of rankings which under the radar player will have a big impact, because if we thought he was going to have a big immediate impact, he’s probably not under the radar.
That being said, linebacker Jake Holland of Pelham, Ala. committed to Auburn and
should be a player right away. Holland is a big middle linebacker at 6-1/230 and there’s a need at Auburn for a bigger linebacker to add some run stopping ability to the defense.
6. In relative terms, who's having a disastrous recruiting season?
I think Notre Dame is a team that is struggling right now having fallen out of the Top 25. The Irish has lost a few of its commitments and is having trouble closing on some of its higher profile targets. For whatever faults he might have had, former coach Charlie Weis and staff were great recruiters. Brian Kelly is walking into a team loaded with talent and .500 season and finishing out of the Top 25 should be a thing of the past starting next year.
7. What non-traditional powers are having really good recruiting seasons?
It’s hard to say that a team in the Top 20 all-time isn’t a traditional power, but it’s been a long time since Washington was considered amongst the elite programs in the country. Head Coach Steve Sarkisian is well on his way to bringing Washington back to the table as a traditional power with a class that’s currently ranked eighth by Scout.
Maybe most impressive of the Husky class is that four of Washington’s eight players ranked 4-Star or better are on the offensive and defensive lines. While those players might not be flashy on signing day, teams don’t win without them.
8. Is ANYONE in the Big 12 making any sort of a dent in Oklahoma and Texas considering the monster classes those two are bringing in?
Is Nebraska capitalizing on the momentum under Bo Pelini?
For the star watchers, the next closest team is Oklahoma State who is currently ranked #12 nationally. While it doesn't have the star power of Texas and Oklahoma, the Cowboys are certainly bringing in enough talent to compete for the Big 12 title. Texas A&M is right behind them at #14. A sleeper in this group though is Missouri. The Tigers have the third most players rated 4-Star or higher in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma and Texas and have a national ranking in the Top 25. Quarterback Tyler Gabbert of Ballwin, Mo. Should continue Missouri's recent tradition of top quarterback play.
Nebraska's class, while solid, hasn't seen the bump in momentum one might expect considering the season they had this year. But recruiting is like the MLB All-Star game, a player gets voted in the year after they deserve it. So the big dividends from the Nebraska season should pay off in the Class of 2011.
9. How good a recruiter is Lane Kiffin, or is it Ed Orgeron who's the key to the recruiting success at Tennessee and now at USC?
A: Kiffin is a very good recruiter, as is Orgeron, of course. Part of being an excellent recruiter though is having the job that’s easier to recruit. If the question is who is key to the recruiting success at Tennessee and USC; I’d answer Tennessee and USC. Both are national programs that can thrive under aggressive recruiters like Kiffin and Orgeron.
10. How are these key programs doing after their high-profile coaching issues?
- South Florida
- Texas Tech
- Florida State
No one recruits better than they usually do during the year of a coaching change, however Florida State may be on to something with the Head Coach in Waiting. While the Seminoles technically had a coaching change, they had a successor picked out years ago, and Florida State has seen a big boost to its recruiting and is more of a factor for top players in Florida than they’ve been in several years. Shortly after the announcement, Florida State got commitments from a pair of 5-Star defenders in Lamarcus Joyner of Fort Lauderdale and linebacker Jeff Luc of Port Saint Lucie.
Florida State has added four players rated 4 Stars or better since the coaching change. To put that in perspective, the other four teams combined only have two, both of those headed to Tennessee.
Tennessee has lost some commitments through the process, but with some of the off the field trouble that many of the decommitments had gotten in to, their losses may eventually be addition by subtraction. Two key pickups for the Vols were poaching wide receiver Justin Hunter (Virginia Beach, Va.) off of LSU’s commitment list and adding immediate help in junior college safety Glen Stanley of Thatcher, Az..
South Florida, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati were particularly hit hard by the coaching change. USF lost the only coach it had ever had, Texas Tech lost the most successful coach its ever had, and Cincinnati lost an undefeated coach. However each of these teams is in a talent rich area. Texas is #1 in total D1 signees, Florida #2, and Ohio #4 or #5 depending on the season (Ohio and Georgia both right around 150 signees every year). With the available talent and the head coaches that the schools were able to bring in, each of these three teams should expect more success on the recruiting trail for the Class of 2011.