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Friday, January 25, 2013
Recruiting notebook: Busy weekend ahead

By Sam Khan Jr.

Torrodney Prevot
Texas A&M has a chance to impress in-state DE Torrodney Prevot who has been committed to USC since July.
There will be no shortage of recruits on the Texas A&M campus this weekend.

From longtime commits who are finally taking their official visits, to one visitor from the class of 2013 who is committed elsewhere and several notable members of the 2014 class.

One of the notable names that will visit is expected in town today: 2014 offensive tackle Braden Smith.

The ESPN Watch List prospect from Olathe (Kan.) South High School will be touring the campus today in advance of Mondo Challenge college track and field meet taking place on campus. Smith's sister, Megan, is a thrower for TCU which is competing in the event.

According to Smith's high school coach, Jeff Gourley, said the Aggies have been recruiting the 6-foot-7, 285-pound tackle as hard as any team in the country.

"They've been in every week, if nothing else, just to say hi," Gourley said. "I would say that of all the schools that are interested in Braden, which is give-or-take 30, they're probably I would say the most interested at this point. If not they're a real close second or third."

Gourley said receivers coach David Beaty kicked off the recruitment and offensive line coach B.J. Anderson has since taken over and dropped in at Olathe South on Thursday. Gourley said schools all over the country are targeting Smith.

ESPN 300 DE taking official

While most of the official visitors to Texas A&M this weekend are commits, ESPN 300 defensive end Torrodney Prevot (Houston/Alief Taylor) is a prospect still weighing options.

The No. 236 player in the ESPN 300 is committed to USC but has been taking visits elsewhere. He visited Oregon last weekend, is expected to be at Texas A&M this weekend and at Notre Dame next weekend.

Prevot got an in-home visit from Texas A&M defensive line coach Terry Price last week and he's one of two defensive end targets the Aggies are still courting in the 2013 class (the other is Daeshon Hall).

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco and cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks also stopped by the Alief Taylor campus last week. Also joining Prevot on the trip will be his high school teammate, 2013 Texas A&M safety commit Jonathan Wiggins.

Other official visitors expected include A&M quarterback commit Kenny Hill, linebacker Jordan Mastrogiovanni, safety Kameron Miles and offensive tackle Ishmael Wilson.

Notable juniors visit Sunday

Braden Smith won't be the only highly touted 2014 prospect visiting this weekend. The Aggies host their first junior day of the year on Sunday and there are plenty of notable names.

Solomon Thomas
Defensive end Soloman Thomas will be one of several top 2014 players at Texas A&M's junior day.
Several of Texas A&M's 2014 commits are expected in town, including linebackers Hoza Scott and Josh Walker, athlete Nick Harvey and cornerback Cedric Collins.

Plenty of uncommitted 2014 prospects have confirmed attendance, including ESPN Watch List running back Leonard Fournette, defensive end Solomon Thomas, defensive end Myles Garrett, tight end Koda Martin, inside linebacker Zac Whitley and offensive tackle Kealvin Davis.

Clemson commit Dylan Sumner-Gardner, an ESPN Watch List safety from Mesquite (Texas) West Mesquite, is also slated to be there. He's the teammate of Kameron Miles and recently picked up a Texas A&M offer.

Others expected to be there include quarterback Patrick Mahomes, receiver Speedy Noil and defensive end Gerald Willis III.

FSU ATH commit to visit

With Tony Stevens (Orlando, Fla./Evans) no longer in the picture, Texas A&M moved on to courting another potential pass-catcher from Orlando. ESPN 150 athlete Levonte Whitfield received an in-home visit on Monday from Texas A&M defensive line coach Terry Price and will take an official visit to Texas A&M on Feb. 1, the final weekend before signing day. Whitfield has been committed to Florida State since Aug. 13 but has taken other official visits.

While small (5-foot-9, 176) he's a burner (4.37-second 40-yard dash) and is ranked seventh at his position nationally. He's the No. 73 player in the ESPN 150. In a text message to GigEmNation, Whitfield set the in-home visit with Price went well.

"It was good," Whitfield said. "I enjoyed it. We talked about a lot not just football."

LaRue not visiting Notre Dame

Another ESPN 150 target for the Aggies, Santa Monica (Calif.) High School receiver Sebastian LaRue, said earlier this week that he will not take his previously scheduled official visit to Notre Dame this weekend.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound receiver, who is No. 74 in the ESPN 150, is considering Texas A&M and Washington State and will consider whatever school gets his final official visit. Texas, Arkansas, Texas Tech and Miami (Fla.) are possible candidates for LaRue's Feb. 1 visit weekend.

The nation's No. 9 receiver has already officially visited both Washington State and Texas A&M, with the Aggies' trip coming most recently (Jan. 18-20).

Coach says Claiborne not looking around

Earlier this month, Texas A&M outside linebacker commit Darian Claiborne mentioned that TCU was making a push to get him to take an official visit but he decided against it. As speculation picked up that he might actually take the trip after former Aggies' linebacker coach Matt Wallerstedt (who recruited Claiborne) accepted the defensive coordinator position at Texas Tech, it appears that he won't take any visits anywhere before national signing day according to his high school coach.

"I don't think he's planning on taking any trips," Port Allen (La.) High School coach Guy Blanchard said. "He's going to sign with A&M. He's a solid verbal commitment and I think he's very happy with his situation."

Blanchard mentioned that head coach Kevin Sumlin was in town on Wednesday to visit with Claiborne.

Stevens' coach sheds light on commitment flip

ESPN 300 receiver Tony Stevens' commitment to Texas A&M was short lived. He committed to the Aggies on Jan. 5 during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and flipped his commitment to Auburn on Jan. 20.

Stevens' high school coach at Orlando/Evans, Chip Gierke, said he believes Stevens' decision was influenced by the possibility of early playing time.

"I think the [possibility] that he can get on the field as a freshman," Gierke said. "I told Tony, 'That's not a good reason.' It's easier as a receiver because he's a gifted kid, but that's not automatic.”

Gierke was taken by surprise when he heard that Stevens was on the Auburn visit. Gierke said Stevens did not inform him of his visit and he learned about it the day Stevens arrived at Auburn on Jan. 18.

Gierke said Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn did stop by Evans High to visit with a few of their prospects, including Stevens, the day before.

"We had exams all week," Gierke said. "When coach Malzahn showed up, they talked and whatever and everybody went home. We didn't have school on Friday. So the next thing I know, he's on a trip.”

Gierke said that the last time he talked to Stevens about his future before that Auburn trip, Stevens told him that he was going to Texas A&M. To Gierke's knowledge, Auburn wasn't in the picture at that time.

He also said this week that he doesn't think Stevens' recruitment is over. Auburn is the third school the 6-foot-4 receiver, who is No. 209 in the ESPN 300, has committed to. He committed to Florida State first, then Texas A&M in January.

"I would stay tuned, because I don't think it's over," Gierke said.