The early period concluded Wednesday night but there’s a chance a letter of intent or two could be post-dated and arrive within the next two weeks. However, outside of that possibility, the period is over. That means its time to check in with the big dogs and take a pulse of what’s up with the remaining ESPNU 100 players.
No. 1 Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) sat back and watched the early period come and go without a decision. This was exactly what we expected him to do. The biggest development in his recruitment might be the early season play of UCLA. The Bruins, the perceived clubhouse leader, dropped their first two games. Everyone’s asking what this means for UCLA and Shabazz. The reality is, Ben Howland’s pitch now becomes stronger: “We need you” is something I’m sure he’s heard by now and now UCLA can cite examples of why. That’s the only silver lining in the early season losses if you can call it that.
No. 7 Anthony Bennett (Brampton, Ont./Findlay Prep) had no intention of signing early and he followed through with that. His list is long. I’d say pay attention to Florida, Kentucky and Connecticut but remember, his list is long and he’ll be armed with the capacity to take five official visits.
No. 8 Cameron Ridley (Fort Bend, Tex./Bush) did not sign with Texas. As we’ve reported, his camp says there’s no trouble with the commitment. Regardless, his non-action in the early period will result in inquiries from other Big 12 schools and maybe even the Houston Cougars who have strong ties in his backyard.
No. 18 Jarnell Stokes (Memphis, Tenn./Southwind) flirted with signing or at least gave that impression. Stokes is presently battling for the right to play high school ball this season following his transfer. Memphis, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida would like to get him in the spring.
No. 20 Devonta Pollard (DeKalb, Miss./Kemper Co.) played football this year. He too had no intention of signing early and didn’t. Georgetown, Mississippi State, Alabama and others mentioned here. Bet he adds before he subtracts.
No. 24 Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia, Pa./Friends Central) wrapped up with a visit to Stanford. Villanova, NC State, Kentucky, UConn and Ohio State are in the mix. Here’s my gut: see if he schedules an unofficial visit to UK. His family didn’t trip with him to Lexington the first time and my theory is he really liked it but may need his parents to sign off. We’ll see if that holds up. If he returns with mom or dad, that could be a sign. Behind the scenes, Amile was really torn and needed more time.
No. 30 Ricardo Gathers (LaPlace, La./Reserve) has St. John’s on top. Look for LSU, Cal and Oregon to be players. All elite schools in need of a big man will visit LaPlace, La., this winter.
No. 31 Tony Parker (Lithonia, Ga./Miller Grove) seems to be focused in on Ohio State, Memphis and Duke. His recruitment behind the scenes is like a game of survivor. He and his family seem to be on different pages. Who makes an allegiance and helps push one school to the head of the pack?
No. 38 Torian Graham (Durham, N.C./ACD) is doing well at his new school. All options are on the table. Xavier’s been down, he’s always liked Kentucky. NC State owned an early commitment and Memphis is doing homework. You’ll hear a number of schools in the next month mentioned as they investigate him.
No. 51 Andrew White (Chester, Va./Miler School) had a difficult time trimming up his list and couldn’t come to a conclusion. There have been rumors that he may have signed with Kansas and wants to announce later in the month. Who knows? White still mentions nearly 10 schools. For me, the key question is will geography and distance factor into the decision? Some think Richmond is quietly very strong and Georgetown entered late.
No. 67 Savon Goodman's (Philadelphia, Pa./Constitution) recruitment is up in the air and he may even re-classify to the 2013 class.
No. 68 Winston Shepard (Fresno, Tex./Findlay Prep) has New Mexico, San Diego State, Oklahoma State, UNLV and UTEP. Expect additions.
The remaining undecided members of the ESPNU 100 are Christopher Obekpa (Centereach, N.Y./Our Savior), Zena Edosomwan (N. Hollywood, Calif./Harvard Westlake) and Wannah Bail (Houston, Tex./Trent International).