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What I learned this weekend

11/14/2011

Gilman guys

It was a busy weekend for prospects from Baltimore Gilman School.

Penn State offensive line commit Brian Gaia has declined to comment on the Nittany Lions' evolving situation. That hasn't stopped other schools from calling to test his commitment, namely Maryland, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Vanderbilt.

ESPNU Watch List defensive tackle Henry Poggi and athlete Wyatt Dickerson visited Maryland for the Notre Dame game this weekend. Poggi has several scholarship offers and figures to be one of the top prospects in the 2013 class from the Mid-Atlantic region -- if not the nation.

“It went well,” Poggi stated in a text to ESPN. “I liked the uniforms.”

Poggi knows Maryland well, but he was also able to check out the Fighting Irish.

“Yeah, I think so,” he said when asked if Notre Dame will be in the mix. “I like how their defense flies around and that they are fundamentally sound.”

Dickerson was also impressed.

“It was awesome,” he said of the visit. “I really liked the jerseys for both teams and Notre Dame played a great game.”

Dickerson said he thinks he has scholarship offers from Syracuse and Navy and has been in contact with Michigan State and North Carolina State. His dream schools, however, is Vanderbilt.

Who is THE in-state power in Tennessee?

Tennessee had better be careful or it may not be the Volunteer State’s most dominant football team -- recruiting or otherwise.

The Vols lost out on one of their top recruiting targets on Saturday when Andrew Jelks from Paris (Tenn.) Henry County committed to Vanderbilt. Later that day, the Vols lost 49-7 to Arkansas and Vanderbilt beat Kentucky 38-8.

Wait, there's more.

Now, Vandy (5-5) has a better record than the Vols (4-6) heading into their matchup on Saturday.

Jelks didn't shy away from the impact that his commitment might have on the recent recruiting rivalry between the two teams.

“I want to make a statement,” he said. “That's a big thing. Vandy's not here to be overshadowed by anybody.”

Strong words. Yet there's more, even from out-of-state prospects.

Vandy also made a strong impression with receiver Ian Thomas from Reistertown (Md.) Franklin this weekend.

“Great people here,” Thomas stated in a text message to ESPN about Vanderbilt. “I feel like a necessity. I feel like what the coaches were saying was really genuine.”

Thomas also has scholarship offers from Rutgers, Iowa, Maryland, Virginia and Notre Dame.

And as for the Tennessee-Vandy game on Saturday.

“Oh yeah, I like Vandy's chances in that game,” Jelks said. “I like Vandy's chances in about any game.”

Of the 30 top prospects in Tennessee, five are committed to Vandy while two are committed to be Vols.

The one thing Tennessee still has in its favor is that its class ranks higher overall as the Vols sit at No. 16, while the Commodores are No. 25.

Buckeyes will be a factor

Derrick Green now has 12 scholarship offers after Oklahoma joined the list this week. The ESPNU Watch List tailback from Richmond (Va.) Hermitage will, however, always consider Ohio State thanks to the influence from his grandfather. The two watched the school most every fall Saturday.

“He always had me watching Eddie George,” Green said referring to the former Buckeyes tailback. “I looked up to him growing up. I still study him to this day.”

That will help the Buckeyes, but it doesn't mean they'll automatically land Green, who could be one of the top tailbacks in the 2013 class.

“Ohio State is always going to be in my top schools,” Green said. “I'm always going to love Ohio State but as the process goes on, you have to see what schools have to offer to me.

Clemson can get better

While it’s hard to believe, but Clemson's class could actually get an unbelievable boost that it doesn't even need to be considered one of the best, most efficient classes in the nation.

Tailback Keith Marshall from Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook took his official visit to Clemson this weekend. He was joined at the last second by four-star defensive end Jonathan Bullard from Shelby (N.C.) Crest.

Package deal?

I still say Marshall to Clemson is a longshot, but it's definitely worth watching. My prediction is that the Marshall package deal will actually be going to Georgia, but it won't be with Bullard. It will be Marshall and fellow North Carolina tailback Todd Gurley from Tarboro (N.C.) High School.

Clemson will manage. It's 2012 class is ranked fifth in the nation and has six ESPN150 prospects, but can the rich can get richer?

Gilman and Good Counsel are good

Well, I really didn't learn that this weekend but it was strongly confirmed in my mind. The two powerhouse teams will face off for a championship title this weekend after easily moving past last weekend's semifinal opponents.

Why does that matter in recruiting? Because it will be one more week before recruiting kicks into high gear for the senior prospects on both squads. Several official visits and, subsequently, commitments will surely follow after a champion is crowned. Good Counsel beat Gilman 26-21 in September.