NCF On The Trail: 061713 ESPN 300 team analysis

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- What sanctions?

In the latest ESPN rankings, Penn State boasts the No. 17 recruiting class -- second-best in the Big Ten -- with a trio of ESPN 300 prospects in WR De'Andre Thompkins (No. 54), QB Michael O'Connor (No. 125) and WR Chris Godwin (No. 153). And if that surprises you, then you just haven't been paying attention.

Forget the bowl ban. Forget the reduced scholarships -- because PSU's commits sure have. Thompkins, still ranked as the No. 54 overall prospect, picked the Lions over schools in the SEC, ACC and Big 12. (And let's not forget Notre Dame, too.)

And that success is only going to continue because, as Thompkins put it, the main reason for these commitments isn't going to change.


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The ESPN 300 was released Monday, and it is evident Ohio State has to make up some ground.

Last year, Ohio State debuted at No. 7 when the first 300 was released behind a core group of six ESPN 150 selections and five other top pledges.

This year, the Buckeyes have just one ESPN 150 senior in cornerback Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) and two other 300 selections in outside linebackers Dante Booker (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Kyle Berger (Cleveland/St. Ignatius), though it should be noted that Booker is just six spots out of the 150.


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- On Monday, the ESPN 300 was released, as was an updated ESPN 150. The majority of Michigan’s class was largely unaffected, only experiencing minor moves throughout, though most of Michigan’s commits’ moves were down rather than up.

However, the Wolverines continue to have nine of their 11 commits in the ESPN 150, and many of their top targets remained in the top 100.


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Gators finished with the No. 2 overall recruiting class in the country last year and are again off to a hot start for the 2014 cycle. Six of Florida's 10 verbal commitments are in the new ESPN 300 rankings.

[+] EnlargeDalvin Cook
Tom Hauck for Student SportsWorkhorse running back Dalvin Cook remains the Gators highest-ranked 2014 commit.
Running back Dalvin Cook (No. 22), who rushed for 1,501 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior, continues to lead the way for Florida commits. Cook was previously committed to Clemson before making the switch to UF in early April.

Record-setting quarterback Will Grier dropped eight slots from No. 45 to No. 53, but will have a chance to improve his ranking with a strong performance at the Elite 11 camp at the end of the month.

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ESPN 300 analysis: LSU Tigers 

June, 17, 2013
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- It's been since Jordan Jefferson in 2008 that one could find a Louisiana quarterback who met the four-star threshold.

Back then, before RecruitingNation issued stars, Jefferson was given an 80 score, which translates to four stars.

Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway) broke that drought this year. And now he's done something no Louisiana quarterback has done in the RecruitingNation era.


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As far as Florida State is concerned, there are plenty of notable and recognizable names in the newly released ESPN 300.


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If you want evidence as to why Texas A&M has one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, look no further than the latest ESPN 300.

Last season, the Aggies -- who had college football's No. 8 recruiting class -- hauled in 10 players in the 2013 ESPN 300.


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With the initial release of the ESPN 300 for the 2014 class, the recent recruiting momentum by the University of Georgia shows the Bulldogs could close with another top class, even with less than 22 spots to fill.

[+] EnlargeNick Chubb
Scott Fink for Student SportsRecent Georgia commit Nick Chubb has jumped into the latest ESPN 300 rankings.
At the top of the commitment list is running back Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), the No. 17 prospect in the country. He is followed by athlete Malkom Parrish (Quitman, Ga./Brooks County) at No. 69, who is expected to play cornerback for Georgia. Tight end Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) is No. 94 in the latest rankings and new running back commitment Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) jumps into the ESPN 150 at No. 142. Georgia has less than one third of last year’s class (33) committed so far, but only one less ESPN 150 commitment with four pledged to play for Mark Richt at this time. Quarterback Jacob Park (Goose Creek, S.C./Stratford) committed to Georgia on Friday, giving the Bulldogs the No. 182 prospect in the country, while defensive line commitment Dontavius Russell (Carrollton, Ga./Carrollton) is No. 263 in the initial ESPN 300.

Georgia has a shot to land several more ESPN 150 prospects as well. New five-star prospect Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) has a spot reserved for him in Athens, Ga. Another five-star target, defensive lineman Lamont Gaillard (Fayetteville, N.C./Pine Forest) has Georgia on top and the No. 12 prospect in the country could decide in July.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- The Longhorns have enjoyed a hot streak on the recruiting trail over the past week with four commitments since Thursday, including two on Saturday.

The commitment from tight end John Thomas (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley Community College) late Saturday night gave Texas 19 pledges for the 2014 class, which is four more than it had in the entire 2013 class.


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ESPN 300 analysis: USC Trojans 

June, 17, 2013
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The USC recruiting class might not be high in numbers yet, but the quality appears to be on par with what the coaching staff landed last signing day.


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NORMAN, Okla. -- Not everything is a well-oiled machine for Oklahoma when it comes to recruiting. Though there are still issues to be addressed, with eight months left until signing day, time is on the Sooners' side.

The offensive and defensive lines need a lot of work and OU hasn’t secured a linebacker yet, despite the fact the position is a major need.


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It should come as no surprise that the University of Alabama’s 2014 recruiting class is littered with recruits in both the ESPN 150 and the new ESPN 300 rankings as the Crimson Tide are coming off back-to-back national championships. But the class received its biggest boost yet with a pair of commitments over the weekend.


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