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Five things I learned this weekend

10/24/2011

Winston makes official visit to LSU

Jameis Winston (Hueytown, Ala./Hueytown) surprised many by making an official visit to LSU this weekend. Winston, the nation’s top-ranked signal caller, committed to Florida State back in early August. He unofficially visited Alabama for its game against Vanderbilt a few weeks ago and is scheduled to be back in Tuscaloosa next weekend for the battle between the Crimson Tide and LSU.

Should there be concern in Tallahassee?

Absolutely.

Winston told me last Tuesday that he’s “still committed to FSU but keeping his option open.” That’s like basically making a reservation with the Seminoles while he’s still in fact checking out the Tide and Tigers.

He and Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas/Ryan) both say that they are committed to Jimbo Fisher and Florida State but the two are making their trips. It’s not like Fisher and his staff figured everything was done when these two committed to the Seminoles. That’s what happens when you target the country’s very best prospects. Edwards is No. 1 overall and Winston is No. 11 in the ESPNU 150. Sometimes these players want to keep things open to a certain degree.

With Edwards, I think he’s certainly more open to the idea of splitting away from Florida State than Winston. At least that how things appear at this time. We will enter a period where the official visit, especially for these two, will be very, very important and go a long way towards determining when they end up.

Winston also told me this past week that he will be at Florida State in a few weeks when the Seminoles take on Miami. It may turn out to be his official visit on Nov. 11 and that will be determined soon by Winston and his family. Even if Winston, who is one of the nation's top baseball prospects, were to sign with Florida State, Fisher and the Noles could still lose him to Major League Baseball next June.

Phillips open again

Lorenzo Phillips (Patterson, La./Patterson) decommitted from Florida late last week. Phillips, 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, is No. 138 in the ESPNU 150 and the No. 10 rated outside linebacker.

Florida was actually the second time he made a commitment. He gave his first pledge to Texas A&M before the Gators. Now he’s saying Gainesville is too far from home.

So who might the new favorite be? Believe it or not, it’s looking more and more like Houston. Two of his Patterson teammates, defensive back Trevon Stewart and wide receiver Jaydrick Declouet, a former Vandy commit, are committed to the Cougars.

According to Phillips, he visited Houston unofficially this weekend and said they are currently the only team he’s considering. Phillips also said he will make his decision sometime after the season.

Meanwhile, Florida has a huge need at linebacker. They have two committed in Jeremi Powell (Pinellas Park, Fla./Pinellas Park) and Antonio Morrison (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook). The Gators are in good shape with ESPNU 150 standouts Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County) and Josh Harvey-Clemons (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes). Florida is co-leaders with Alabama for Jenkins and are battling Georgia and others for Harvey-Clemons.

Flash Gordon was electric with 458 yard/8 TD night

Michael “Flash” Gordon (Camden, Miss./Velma Jackson) put up one of the great rushing performances this fall, with a 458-yard and eight touchdown performance on 27 carries on Friday night. And get this: He had three more scoring runs called back because of penalty or else he would have rushed for 611 yards.

The funny thing is Gordon wasn’t even supposed to play on Friday. He sustained an ankle injury and Velma Jackson coach Cedric Wilder was going to hold him out and save him for the playoffs. Then, their new running back starter got sick.

“That’s one of the greatest performances in the history of Mississippi football,” Wilder said. “And he wasn’t supposed to play. He was going to be a backup or play in an emergency role. I think it helped him that Flash rested all week. That was the best performance I have ever seen.”

Velma Jackson, now 7-3, was actually trailing at halftime 28-20 and towards the end of the third quarter 36-34.

“Flash then completely took over,” Wilder said. “He just went off. The offensive line blocked well but he hit the holes and set up everything beautifully. It was amazing to witness that. He ran through people and just flat out ran away from guys.”

Memphis, Southern Miss, Arkansas State, UAB and Houston have offered Gordon and Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, LSU and a bunch of others have all recently requested game film. Gordon now has 1,837 yards and 34 touchdowns on the season.

I was at Gordon’s high school this past Wednesday and watched some of his senior film with Wilder. He’s impressive and someone is going to land a terrific running back recruit. Gordon, 5-9 and 190 pounds, is a three-star and the No. 41 ranked running back in the nation.

Ole Miss lands second Hoosier State prospect

It’s not often that the Rebels venture to Indiana for prospects but they just landed their second recruit from the Hoosier State in outside linebacker Ike Spearman (Saint John, Ind./Lake Central).

The Rebels offered him early and Spearman visited them back in April. In fact, a handful of prospects from Indiana visited Ole Miss this spring and summer, including offensive lineman Jake Meador (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland), who visited Oxford in June and later committed to Ole Miss.

Interesting how Ole Miss has a dozen commitments and two are from the state of Indiana. That isn’t normally one of the state’s where the Rebels spot recruit but it’s has of late. We’ll see if there are more northern commitments out there for Houston Nutt and his staff.

McGill-Toolen with the upset

Coach Bart Sessions said no matter what they did they had to contain Daphne (Ala.) High School running back T.J. Yeldon in order for Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen to win this past Friday, even if that meant containing him to "just" 175 yards. Yeldon finished with 181 (and four touchdowns) and McGill-Toolen upset top-ranked Daphne 38-28 in a monster 6A game in Southern Alabama.

That’s a nice call and a big win for Sessions and his McGill-Toolen program. Last season, Sessions and several of his assistants were coaching at Daphne.