- Dave Hooker, Reporter, RecruitingNation
Will Marshall matter further?
Keith Marshall will likely be a standout on the football field in college, but now that he has committed to Georgia, can the five-star commitment from Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook boost the Bulldogs' 2012 class as recruiting approaches its final stages?
Four-star outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons from Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes, four-star defensive end Jordan Jenkins from Hamilton (Ga.) Harris County, and four-star offensive tackle Avery Young from Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High are some of the bigger names on Georgia's board. Young is scheduled to take his official visit to Georgia this weekend.
Of course, Marshall's biggest influence will be on four-star athlete Todd Gurley from Tarboro (N.C.) High School. The two are good friends and have talked about playing college football together.
However, there is newfound competition for Gurley – because of Marshall's announcement.
Where will Clemson go now?
Look for the Tigers to put the hard press on Gurley now that they lost out on Marshall.
Clemson doesn't have to nab another tailback, but it wouldn't turn down a top-flight prospect. The Tigers have plenty to sell a young ball carrier. Starter Andre Ellington will be a senior, so there is a great opportunity.
Four-star prospect Mike Davis from Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson would certainly be a viable option, although there is a lot of competition for the 5-foot-10, 200-pound tailback. Florida State and Miami head the list. Georgia also recently offered Davis a scholarship.
How much ground can Miami make up?
The Hurricanes were once a strong player for five-star defensive tackle Eddie Goldman from Washington (D.C.) Friendship. That all changed when widespread allegations of NCAA violations prompted an investigation of the school.
Miami is now trying to convince prospects that the issue won't result in major sanctions and that head coach Al Golden won't bolt because of the issues that happened before he arrived in South Florida.
The hard press is on this week for Goldman. Miami's coaches visited with him on Wednesday. Now, he'll take his official visit to Coral Gables. No, Goldman won't commit this weekend; Florida State is still thought to be the leader. But if the nation's No. 2 overall prospect doesn't come back from Miami with some relief that the 'Canes aren't headed for NCAA doom, Miami won't stand a chance in his recruitment.
Where does Tennessee go now?
Despite a disappointing end to the season, Tennessee has managed some momentum in recruiting, especially with Howard. The four-star prospect had several scholarship offers.
The makeup of Tennessee's class is intriguing. The Vols have commitments from four wide receivers despite the fact that the position is considered a rare team strength. Landing another defensive tackle is still a priority. The Vols have three committed but they'd gladly take another blue chipper.
It will be interesting to see what impact newly-hired running backs coach Jay Graham can have on the Vols' recruiting. The former standout tailback at Tennessee was in on a handful of top prospects while coaching at South Carolina.
Can Freeze get Ole Miss hot?
Ole Miss' decision to hire Arkansas State coach Hugh Freeze is somewhat of a gamble, but one that comes with some foresight.
Freeze is a native of Mississippi and he's been an assistant coach on the Rebels staff so he knows the landscape in Oxford well. The first order of business will be recruiting. Freeze should be well equipped to do that, especially in nearby Memphis, Tenn., where he was a high school coach.
“We've got to change the mindset and go recruit some players that can help us change it,” Freeze said on WNML radio in Knoxville.
Freeze can surely use Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher as an example of what his tutoring can do. Freeze mentored Oher in high school and in college at Ole Miss. Expect Oher to be a significant figure in Ole Miss' resurrection.
Turning the tide on Mississippi State is also a priority in recruiting. The Rebels have lost three straight games to the Bulldogs and five of the last seven.
“I was born and raised here,” Freeze said. “Nobody has to tell me how important it is. I get it. It's huge for in-state recruiting.”
5dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough