Five things I learned this weekend:
A steal at center
Brock Stadnik has gotten most of the pub but watch out for his twin brother Clayton Stadnik. Both have size -- over 6-4 and 280 pounds -- but Clayton may actually have more mobility than his brother. And Clayton should be a bit more versatile, having played center, right tackle and both guard positions at Western Guilford High School in Greensboro, N.C. Sure, Brock is the prototypical left tackle, had many more scholarship offers and is slightly higher rated but Clayton is well adept at playing center, the position he's played for almost a full season and the position he's expected to play in college. South Carolina may have gotten a steal when both prospects committed in May.
Kudos to the Vols faithful
The fans showed up in Neyland Stadium on Saturday. No, it wasn't a packed house as it so often was in the glory days, however, it was enough that visiting prospects were surely impressed by the gameday atmosphere. Fans should be commended. They had a lot to overcome, such as a deflating loss to Florida, an early kickoff and an opponent that wasn't too exciting, Buffalo. Still, the fans showed up and that will certainly help the Vols woo prospects.
Don't doubt Dabo
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is trying to lower the excitement and expectations about his football team. That will be hard after a win at Virginia Tech this weekend, which followed wins over rival Florida State and defending national champ Auburn. Those wins will surely help recruiting but just how much remains to be seen. The Tigers already have 18 commitments and few scholarships to offer for the 2012 class. However, I expect Clemson to benefit from this run in the near future -- namely the 2013 class. If the Tigers can close as strong as they've started, they'll erase the perception in some prospects' minds that they are underachievers. Champions has a better ring to it.
A bit bigger
This goes further back than just the weekend but I must mention I was taken back by Keith Marshall's stature. While many (including me) have him painted as a scatback type of tailback, the five-star prospect from Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook High School looks to be a bit more than that. When I asked if he had hit a growth spurt, Marshall maintained that he was still just 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds. I'll take him at his word but I'll never refer to him as a scatback again.
There's never been any question in my mind that the SEC is the best football conference in the NCAA. Prospects shouldn't doubt it either. Florida is a good football team but that didn't matter when Alabama came to town and laid a 38-10 whipping on the Gators. South Carolina is a good football team but that didn't matter when Auburn mounted a late drive to upset the Gamecocks. Simply put, if prospects want to play in the conference that will best prepare them to play in the NFL, the SEC is that conference. Sure, other conferences have strong selling points and no prospect should pick a school solely on conference affiliation, but the SEC is pretty special.