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Friday, June 20, 2014
Ducks renew hunt for future QB

By Gerry Hamilton

Signing a top quarterback remains at the top of the list for the Oregon Ducks.

After first losing out to Texas A&M on five-star Kyler Murray, the top quarterback on the board, the Ducks went after former Notre Dame commit Blake Barnett. While it appeared as if Oregon had a very good chance to land the Under Armour All-America selection, Barnett committed to Alabama on Wednesday in what was another hit at the position for the Ducks.

The Ducks, however, wasted little time moving on to the next quarterback on the board.

Shortly after Barnett gave his verbal to the Crimson Tide, the Ducks offered spring riser and ESPN 300 No. 89 Sam Darnold. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Darnold has Northwestern, Utah, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Duke high on his list, with the Ducks now in the mix.

Darnold is scheduled to visit the pair of ACC schools and Northwestern in late June.

'Freak Show' features top targets

The North Carolina Tar Heels have already enjoyed a terrific few days on the recruiting trail, picking up a pair of four-star offensive line commitments in ESPN 300 center/guard Tommy Hatton (June 13) and four-star tackle Emanuel McGirt (June 17).

The third and fourth four-star offensive line prospects in the 2015 class for Larry Fedora and staff could end up being the buildup to what could be an impactful weekend with Saturday’s “Freak Show” camp set to host a number of top targets.

At the top of the list are in-state difference makers No. 22 Shy Tuttle and No. 90 Jalen Dalton. Not only are the duo good friends and live less than 30 miles from each other, they are both considered Tar Heels leans, with Tuttle holding the key. Tuttle also has Alabama, Tennessee and Clemson high on his list, with the Tar Heels trying to close out one of the nation’s most-sought defensive tackles.

At running back, No. 81 Johnny Frasier and No. 147 Nyheim Hines are the top two targets on the board, and Frasier is scheduled to be in attendance on Saturday. The explosive, 200-pound Frasier has Florida State, Georgia, Duke and the Tar Heels at the top his list.

Under the radar because of injury, ESPN 300 Johnathon Sutton is another prospect who is a possibility to be on hand. He has been considered a North Carolina lean in recent weeks, with Virginia Tech and Duke trying to beat out the Tar Heels.

Of note, getting four-star offensive tackle William Sweet back on campus this weekend is potentially huge. While the Sunshine State prospect has remained solid with his verbal commitment, the Florida State Seminoles pose a serious threat for the Tar Heels, making each visit to Chapel Hill even more important.

North Carolina sits at No. 21 in the Recruiting Nation class rankings.

Virginia Tech still in a good spot for DEs

If there is a singular top position of need in 2015 for Virginia Tech, it’s defensive end. While missing out on ESPN 300 end Clelin Ferrell was a tough pill to swallow, the Hokies continue to be at the top for No. 4 overall Josh Sweat and four-star Darrell Taylor. With pass-rushing ends the focus in the class, landing both Sweat and Taylor would make up a dream duo.

Sweat is scheduled to be at Georgia on Friday after Tennessee on Thursday, with Florida State scheduled for July 18.

Stanford looking East for OL

Stanford scored big in North Carolina this week, picking up a commitment from ESPN 300 center and Under Armour All-America Game selection Brian Chaffin.

The Cardinal might not be done out East, either. ESPN 300 No. 226 Sage Hardin spent Wednesday and Thursday at Stanford, and, like Chaffin, an offer could be a true game-changer for the athletic tackle.

While the smart money is on Georgia after the Bulldogs offered Monday following a standout Saturday camp performance, academics are of high priority for Hardin, and Stanford is very high on that list.

If not Georgia or Stanford (if the Cardinal offer), watch out for Tennessee. Butch Jones offered on Tuesday, and that was especially meaningful for Hardin, who attended camp in Knoxville last year. The first time Hardin was talked about as a BCS-level prospect was following that camp.

Texas A&M about to clean up in 2016?

While Texas A&M fans are jumping up and down about the Aggies' No. 3 ranked 2015 recruiting class that features nine ESPN 300 prospects to date, Kevin Sumlin and staff are also making some big waves in 2016.

At the top of the list is offensive tackle Greg Little. Not only is Little one of the top 2016 prospects in the nation, but he is also a tackle for Allen High, whose quarterback is 2015 five-star and Aggies commit Kyler Murray. While recruiting is fluid, if nothing else, the Little recruitment looks like when, not if, for Texas A&M.