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What I learned this weekend

11/28/2011

No telling where Diggs is going

Stefon Diggs' decision not to take his official visit to Auburn this weekend would seem to eliminate the Tigers' chances to land the four-star athlete prospect from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel. A source with knowledge of his recruitment confirmed as much.

That leaves a host of other suitors. Predicting his final destination is a fruitless endeavor since Diggs doesn't like revealing much.

Diggs has said he'll visit Michigan in mid-December and the Wolverines are interesting to watch because Diggs' former high school teammate, cornerback Blake Countess, plays at Michigan.

Diggs recently told WolverineNation.com that he's starting to consider the Wolverines more now since their coaches have started to play Countess. Michigan also needs wide receivers.

Diggs will cut his list from 11 to seven on his birthday, Nov. 29. He has said all other reported lists are no longer accurate because of a recent run of offers.

I think Jones will end up at Alabama

Cyrus Jones isn't saying so and the four-star athlete prospect from Baltimore (Md.) Gilman said he's truly undecided when asked if he had made up his mind on Sunday.

“I have an idea but I'm not sure yet,” said Jones, who plans to announce his decision in mid-December.

In terms of trying to predict Jones' future, he has seemed most impressed by his visit to Alabama, raving about the trip he took on Nov. 21 which included an exclusive breakfast with coach Nick Saban.

Then, Jones saw the Crimson Tide hammer Auburn 42-14 in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday.

“The game was nice. Alabama was just too experienced and physical,” Jones stated via text message.

He has eliminated West Virginia and Maryland, which probably wasn't all that easy. Jones' father played basketball for the Mountaineers and Jones' good friend and mentor, Tavon Austin, is a standout junior receiver in Morgantown. Ruling out Maryland meant turning down the hometown team that had made him a top priority.

When asked if Alabama made a strong impression with their performance against the rival Tigers, Jones stated, “Yea, I like Bama, but I think Auburn has a big upside because they are so young. Alabama has a lot of experience. And Auburn is playing the second most amount of freshmen in the country. I think they're going to be good in a year or two.”

And as for the impression Auburn made this weekend, Jones said, “It was cool. I liked how it was laid back more than a lot of schools. They can keep it lighthearted and at the same time be about business.”

Virginia Tech also has a significant tie to Jones because Athlete J.C. Coleman from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith and Jones are close friends. Coleman has long been committed to Tech.

Maryland's losses piling up

Maryland's fall from one of the most talked about teams in the nation to where they are now has been startling.

Maryland beat Miami with its new uniforms and had prospects talking, especially from the all-important nearby areas around Washington D.C., Baltimore, Md., and northern Virginia.

Since then, the Terrapins lost 10 of its last 11 games and finished the season 2-10. Moreover, eight of those 10 losses were by double digits.

Publicly, prospects are saying they understand the rebuilding process is in its early stages under first-year Maryland head coach Randy Edsall.

One highly-touted prospect, however, was willing to share his concerns on condition of anonymity.

“I think it plays a big part,” the prospect said. “I think kids from here would love to play for their home school. But at the same time no kid wants to go to a losing program and a program that has no clear-cut direction or signs of improvement.

“Especially when you have kids with bigger offers from winning traditions and programs where you know you will be developed and have a chance to win big every year.”

Penn State may still be Penn State

Barring another major announcement of widespread wrongdoing or the NCAA stepping in with a full-fledged investigation (which the governing body has said it won't do until the legal system has run its course), Penn State's 2012 signing class seems as if it will remain intact.

The Nittany Lions lost its highest-rated commitment, offensive tackle Joey O'Connor of Windsor, Col., after the child-abuse scandal broke.

Other than that, 2012 commitments are standing by their chosen school.

Brian Gaia from Baltimore (Md.) Gilman was the latest, telling ESPN on Sunday that he remained committed to Penn State.

The reverberations of investigations and a coaching change will be felt for years to come, but as for the 2012 class, it could indeed remain mostly stable. Whether or not Penn State recruiters can close the class strong remains to be seen.

Volunteers needed

Tennessee could find itself struggling to hold together its 2012 signing class after its monumental loss to Kentucky on Saturday, which broke a 26-game winning streak. But the shake-up won't have much to do with that game.

Sure, it was an embarrassing loss, especially considering that surging in-state recruiting rival, Vanderbilt, won on the same day to become bowl eligible when the Vols failed to do so.

But it's more than perception. The Vols didn't need a 5-7 season to prompt coaching changes because 6-6 may have done it.

Now head coach Derek Dooley may try to re-tool the staff. If he decides to let some coaches go, he'll lose those recruiting relationships even though some moves may be best for the long-term health of the program.