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October 14, 2012

Roundtable: Who's making noise at midseason?

ROUNDTABLES: Oct. 7 | Sept. 30 | Sept. 23 | Sept. 16

The Rivals.com analysts tackle current topics in the recruiting world in a roundtable format.

1. Which recruit in your region is being talked about the most and why?

Mike Farrell, National/Mid-Atlantic: For me it's linebacker Alex Anzalone because of his recent visit to Florida. Anzalone has already flipped from Ohio State to Notre Dame, and now there is a lot of talk that another flip could be coming. He's being very quiet about everything, so where there's smoke there could be fire. Notre Dame fans have to be a bit worried.

Rob Cassidy, West: Four-Star cornerback Cole Luke is creating buzz the way the television show Lost did it. Nobody has any idea what's going on, so chatter follows. It's a proven method. Luke does so few interviews and plays his recruitment so close to the vest that every school's fan base thinks they have a shot to land him. He visited Texas a week ago but has gone off the grid since. The Longhorns, along with Notre Dame and Oklahoma, are thought to be the frontrunners.

Adam Gorney, West: A lot of people are talking about Tahaan Goodman as his recruitment goes on. It's pretty well accepted that USC is the leader for him, but that could still depend on whether the Trojans have room in their class. Some say UCLA could be a surprise player in his recruitment but others say the Bruins have only a small chance. LSU might be in the mix -- he has family in the area -- or there could be a sleeper out there not many know about yet.

Josh Helmholdt, Midwest: The top wide receiver prospect in the 2013 class, Laquon Treadwell of Crete-Monee (Ill.), has not only backed up his lofty status with outstanding play on the field this fall but also in the heat of an intense recruiting battle. Last week he released a top five of Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and his official visits start this weekend.

Woody Wommack, Southeast: Right now it has to be defensive tackle Montravius Adams. He's one of the top players in the country and not only is he uncommitted, but he's yet to really tip his hand toward any school. Now that he's taking visits and rumors are swirling about his mother's preferences, things are even more complicated. The bottom line is a lot of schools think they have a shot, and we could be waiting a few more months until we find out for sure where he'll end up.

Jason Howell, Southwest: Dallas Kimball defensive tackle Justin Manning seems to be in the news more lately, especially since he is taking visits. He has taken visits to Oklahoma, Texas A&M and TCU, and there is plenty of speculation as to where he end up. Popular thought is he will head to Oklahoma, where his brother DeMarcus Granger played, but he has been playing things close to his vest. He plans to make an announcement in the very near future, and over the weekend he was expected to be an unofficial visitor for the Red River Shootout. But he also wants to take official visits to LSU and USC. There's just been a lot going on surrounding this Army All-American.

Kynon Codrington, Southeast: Keith Bryant had a good time on his official visit to South Carolina as the Gamecocks crushed Georgia. For South Carolina this would be a huge pick up if they can flip him from his Miami commitment. The SEC East program has landed only one player from the tri-county area of Broward, Dade and Palm Beach since 2006 when Emanuel Cook decided to head north to the Palmetto State. A Bryant family member said Florida State and Oklahoma are still keeping tabs on him. Defensive tackle is a position of need for UM, so they need to do everything they can and more to hold onto the physical run-stuffer.

2. Is there a sleeper in your region who could be getting a bump in our next rankings?

Mike Farrell, National/Mid-Atlantic: Matthews (N.C.) Butler defensive back Channing Stribling was a bit of a reach when Michigan took him, but he has played very well this season and his stock is rising. He was outstanding at Michigan's summer camp, which is why he earned his offer, and he has carried that play over to this season.

Rob Cassidy, West: Las Vegas Bishop Gorman quarterback Anu Solomon, an Arizona commit, is making an open-and-shut case for a boost in ranking; but he's already a four-star and probably doesn't qualify as a "sleeper." That said, you don't have to leave Arizona's class to find a player that does. Undersized running back Mauriece Lee probably won't add a fourth star, but a jump from a low three-star to a high one may be in the cards. Lee runs with surprising power and purpose for a player of his stature. He doesn't translate well to camp settings, but when you see him on Friday nights, you take notice.

Adam Gorney, West: Viliami Latu is not necessarily under-the-radar since he plays at Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., but he's definitely moving up in the next round of rankings. He just committed to Arizona State last weekend and could be an early contributor for the Sun Devils. He's big, tough, plays without fear and was really impressive in a loss to Upland.

Josh Helmholdt, Midwest: Hamilton, Ohio, linebacker Marcus Oliver entered his senior season unranked and holding just one an offer from Miami (Ohio). The 6-foot-1, 235-pound inside linebacker has been dominant this fall, however, putting together ridiculous tackle stats and displaying BCS-caliber talent on the field.

Woody Wommack, Southeast: After watching Kinglsand (Ga.) Camden County athlete J.J. Green earlier this year, I came away very impressed. He has good feet and vision as a running back and also impressed in coverage and in run support as a cornerback. He may not fly up the rankings, but his stock is on the rise.

Jason Howell, Southwest: Waco, Texas defensive tackle Andrew Billings is one guy who has picked up a lot of steam in the region. He is not the most talked about prospect from a national standpoint and is a little on the undersized side of things. However, he is a freak in the strength department. Even though he is listed at defensive tackle, he is playing a lot of defensive end for his high school team and is being recruited as both an offensive and defensive linemen. He is close to four-star status right now, and I can see him getting a bump. Defensive end Dimarya Mixon also has some very impressive senior highlights and may need to see his ranking adjusted.

Kynon Codrington, Southeast: Well he isn't exactly a sleeper, but Fulton (Miss.) Itawamba athlete Ashton Shumpert is making a case to earn a fourth star. The only question is where does play at the next level? When he lines up at running back he flashes a tough, downhill rushing style that can get yards after contact and move the chains. On defense, he displays above-average range and is a good open field tackler. He has a chance to make a jump in the state rankings if he keeps up his high level of play.

3. Which team nationally is overachieving the most in recruiting?

Mike Farrell, National/Mid-Atlantic: I'd say Vanderbilt. James Franklin has Vandy in the national top 20 which is impressive with the Commodores having a sub-.500 record and getting beaten very badly at Georgia, where Vandy has done much of its recruiting damage. There was a time when you could pencil Vanderbilt in at the bottom of the SEC recruiting rankings every year. Those days are gone for now.

Rob Cassidy, West: What does a 2-4 start plus one bowl bid in the last four years add up to? If you're Virginia, it yields the No. 19 recruiting class in the country. The Cavaliers' pleasant surprise of a class is headed up by five-star running back Taquan Mizzell, the top all-purpose back in America. What second-year head coach Mike London and his staff are doing on the recruiting trail is impressive to say the least, and the excitement building in Charlottesville is warranted. After all, the program has averaged a final recruiting ranking of 37 over the last 10 years.

Adam Gorney, West: Auburn is definitely doing the reverse on the field, but in recruiting the Tigers are still doing a fantastic job.Wwith the season they're having, they have to be considered overachievers in recruiting. With five-star commits Reuben Foster, Carl Lawson and Dee Liner, Auburn's struggles might not be long. That's if all stay through this tough time. And that has to be something to watch if things get worse there.

Josh Helmholdt, Midwest: Usually Baylor is left to pick up the scraps after Texas, Oklahoma and others poach the Lone Star State's top talent, but this year the Bears have gone head-to-head with national powers on a handful of prospects, most notably Rivals100 wide receiver Robbie Rhodes, and won. Baylor is certainly benefitting from a post-RGIII bounce, and so far it has the Bears ranked among the top 25 recruiting classes in the country.

Woody Wommack, Southeast: Despite losing Dominic Walker last week, I think the answer is still Vanderbilt. James Franklin and his staff have done a nice job building one of the best classes in school history, now the main objective is holding onto it as the season wears along.

Jason Howell, Southwest: Considering its performance on the field it has to be Auburn, but we'll see how solid that class is as the process plays itself out. I also love what Notre Dame is doing. The Irish are putting together a fantastic class and hitting on prospects all over the country.

Kynon Codrington, Southeast: I'm going with Texas A&M. I thought the Aggies would struggle with other SEC teams raiding Texas, but Kevin Sumlin and his staff have done a nice job on the recruiting front and on the field as well with a 4-1 start (with the lone loss coming to top-five ranked Florida.) I really like the out-of-state pick ups of athlete Cameron Echols-Luper from Alabama and Noel Ellis out of New Orleans. The Aggies are ranked one spot ahead of Texas in the Rivals.com team rankings and are in the running with four-star athlete Ricky Seals-Jones.



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