Florida Gators: Michigan State Spartans

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: The Class of 2014 will go down as one of the wildest recruiting rides in recent memory. With so many players switching commitments and some elite prospects still left on the board, here are five things to keep an eye on heading into recruiting’s biggest day.

Does Bama have the best class ever?


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Michigan State has never recruited top-10 classes but has produced on the field, but now more doors might open for it with the Rose Bowl victory; Kansas State’s loss is about to be UCLA’s gain; and it’s been a good few days for the Florida Gators’ 2014 class.


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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Michael O'Connor will never forget New Year’s Eve 2013. It was the day his life was turned upside down.


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Ranking Nick Saban's coaching tree

December, 11, 2013
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Nick Saban's name is sure to come up in every high-profile coaching job that opens until he decides to retire.

That's just the nature of the business when you've had the kind of success Saban has had with four national championships in the last 11 years.

[+] EnlargeNick Saban
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesAlabama coach Nick Saban has several protégés who are now head coaches, including Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Florida's Will Muschamp and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio.
He won't be playing for a national title this season, but one of his protégés will -- Florida State's Jimbo Fisher.

In fact, it's been an eventful season all the way around for the Saban coaching tree.

Since we're all into power rankings this time of year, let's roll out the power rankings for the Saban coaching tree coming out of this season. In other words, those guys who have coached under Saban at some point in the college ranks and have gone on to be head coaches either in major college football or the NFL.

1. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State head coach: We'll go with Fisher at No. 1 on this list since he has the No. 1 Seminoles unbeaten and headed to the VIZIO BCS National Championship game to face Auburn. It's their first trip to the national title game since the 2000 season. Fisher is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. His Seminoles have been dominant this season. They've won all 13 of their games by 14 or more points and 12 of their 13 games by 27 or more points. Fisher was Saban's offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-04.

2. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State head coach: Another finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, Dantonio has Michigan State in the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season and led the Spartans to a school-record 12 wins this season. This will be their seventh straight bowl appearance. Dantonio was Saban's secondary coach at Michigan State from 1995-99.

3. Jim McElwain, Colorado State head coach: In his second season at Colorado State, McElwain has the Rams in a bowl game for the first time since the 2008 season. They will face Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl. McElwain was a part of two national championship teams at Alabama under Saban as the Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator from 2008-11.

4. Pat Shurmur, Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator: Now in his first season with the Eagles, Shurmur was the Cleveland Browns head coach from 2011-12. He coached under Saban at Michigan State from 1995-97 as the Spartans' tight ends coach.

5. Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots offensive coordinator: This is McDaniels' second season as the Patriots' offensive coordinator. He was the Denver Broncos' head coach from 2009-10 and was a graduate assistant under Saban at Michigan State in 1999.

6. Will Muschamp, Florida head coach: After a breakthrough second season at Florida and a trip to the Sugar Bowl, Muschamp's Gators suffered through a dismal 4-8 season this year that was marred by a litany of injuries. It was Florida's first losing season since 1979. The Gators lost their last seven games, including a home loss to Georgia Southern. It goes without saying that Year No. 4 will be a critical one for Muschamp, whose Gators have struggled on offense. Muschamp coached under Saban at LSU as the linebackers coach in 2001 and defensive coordinator from 2002-04. He was also Saban's assistant head coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2005.

7. Derek Dooley, Dallas Cowboys receivers coach: Now in his first season with the Cowboys, Dooley was the head coach at Tennessee from 2010-12. The Vols suffered through losing seasons all three years and managed just five SEC wins, leading to Dooley's firing. Dooley was the head coach at Louisiana Tech for three years prior to his stint at Tennessee. He coached under Saban at LSU from 2000-04 as tight ends coach and then running backs coach. From there, he went with Saban to the Miami Dolphins and coached tight ends before getting the Louisiana Tech head job in 2007.
Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin Derham-Hall), the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2015, has narrowed his top list. After much deliberation, Cornell has cut the list of schools in the running down to 15.

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ESPN 100 forward Kevon Looney (Milwaukee/Hamilton) confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday that he has narrowed his choices to six schools.

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BEAVERTON, Ore. --- Rumors circulated early this week that defensive tackle Anthony Moten (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) had decommitted from Florida.


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Four schools are standing out to four-star defensive tackle Daniel Cage (Cincinnati/Winton Woods), and he hopes to visit all four this summer.


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Elite 2014 PF is in high demand 

May, 9, 2013
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Spend enough time on the high school basketball circuit and you’ll find there are certain players you gravitate toward because you know exactly what you’re getting when you go watch them. ESPN 60 forward Kevon Looney (Milwaukee/Hamilton) is one of those guys.

Duke, Michigan State, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Kansas are among a big pack of programs that will vie for his signature.

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By mid-July, one of the top players in the country will have a pretty good idea as to where he will be playing his college football in 2014.

Paramus (N.J.) Catholic cornerback Jabrill Peppers, No. 2 in the ESPN 150, will visit Stanford in July. Following that trip, he will have his future program in mind.

“Definitely after I visit Stanford I should have it pretty clear where I want to go,” Peppers said.

The five-star cornerback is coming off April trips to LSU, Michigan and Ohio State, and while Peppers did not tip his hand, people close to the dynamic two-way athlete say Michigan has a sizeable lead of those three. He has listed Stanford as his No. 1 for several months and will visit Palo Alto before officially dropping them from the top of his list.


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BRADENTON, Fla. -- For the 2015 cycle, there isn't another prospect with more FBS offers than Jacques Patrick (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek). And Florida State was fortunate enough to have him on campus again recently.


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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Some of the top prospects at the skill positions took to the fields at the IMG Academy over the weekend to participate in the 7-on-7 Southeast Regional. Here are 10 players who really stood out based upon their performances alone.

10. Kyle Gibson
Seffner (Fla.) Armwood | ATH | 6-foot, 180 pounds

The safety wasn't flashy over the course of the two-day event, but Gibson consistently seemed to be in good position to knock down pass attempts. The four-star prospect continually took the right angles on deep balls and came up aggressively on underneath routes. On day one, Gibson helped Team Tampa beat the South Florida Express Elite, which consisted of big-time wide receivers Ermon Lane and Florida State commit JoJo Robinson. Vanderbilt and Louisville are two schools standing out for Gibson. He has no timeframe on making a decision.


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When he got off the phone with Florida head coach Will Muschamp, 2015 offensive lineman Kyonta Stallworth (St. Clair Shores, Mich./South Lake) couldn't believe he just received an offer from the Gators.

It was the same feeling he got when UCLA extended an offer, and Stallworth is now realizing that he is slowly becoming a top prospect in his class.


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T.J. Harrell to lean on visits 

March, 29, 2013
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T.J. Harrell (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic) is going to be leaning heavily on visits.

The 6-foot, 197-pound two-way athlete has a bunch of offers, but to distinguish them, he's going to have to see what the school is like behind the brochures he gets in the mail.


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ATHENS, Ga. -- For most high school players, the end of practice means they get a break from the incessant nagging and ceaseless instruction of their coaches. They go home, eat dinner, study and enjoy the respite until the whistles start blowing next time. For ESPN Watch List safety Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School), that is not the case.

Wilson’s father is the defensive coordinator and the defensive backs coach at the University School, so Wilson jokes that he gets no respite.

“Oh no, there’s no break, there’s no break,” Wilson said. “Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Yeah, I get it at practice, before practice, after practice, in the car, at the dinner table ...”

The talented junior laughed about the nonstop instruction but he also credited his father with making him the player he is today -- one of the most coveted safeties in Florida.


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