#BlueChipBattles -- Dec. 21

RecruitingNation breaks down the nation's top 10 football recruiting battles

Updated: December 21, 2012, 10:15 PM ET
ESPN RecruitingNation

RecruitingNation has summoned its writers from around the country to compile a list of the top 10 battles for elite football recruits leading up to February's signing day. We'll update our rankings periodically to reflect a change in a player's status (i.e., new offers, trimmed-down list or a positive/negative official visit). Our writers have debated the list for weeks, but we value your input as well. Voice your opinion on Twitter (@RecruitingESPN) using #BlueChipBattles.

Here is this week's panel of writers: Kipp Adams (@KippLAdams), Jared Shanker (@JShankerESPN), Greg Ostendorf (@GregO_ESPN), Blair Angulo (@bangulo), Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi), Corey Long (@CoreyLong), Sam Khan (@skhanjr), Bob Pryzbolo (@BPrzybylo) and Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman).

What's your top 10?

Below is our list, but we're also giving you a shot at ranking the top 10 recruiting battles.


Dee Liner | @Liner_25

Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High School | DT | 6-3/270 | ESPN Rank: No. 12

Last week's #BlueChipBattles rank: No. 6

Commitment status: Committed to Auburn

Who's in the driver's seat: Alabama and Auburn.

Other candidates: Miami (Fla.).

Dark horse: Tennessee has always been in contact with Liner, but with former Auburn linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen moving up to Knoxville, the Vols could become a more attractive option.

@GregO_ESPN's take: Nothing has really changed with Liner. At the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game last week, he spent a lot of time with the other in-state prospects committed to Auburn and joked around about recruiting. He also took a photo with Alabama commitments ArDarius Stewart and Darius Paige that went out on Twitter. This week, his coach said he's considering a visit to Miami and possibly Tennessee, but don't expect anything to happen until after the Under Armour game in January.

RecruitingNation ranks Liner's recruitment as the No. 10 battle in the country. Tweet us your opinion using the hashtag #BlueChipBattles @RecruitingESPN.


Trey Johnson | @THEtreyjohnson

Lawrenceville (Ga.) C. Gwinnett | ILB | 6-1/1215 | ESPN Rank: No. 96

Last week's #BlueChipBattles rank: Unranked

Commitment status: A former Auburn commit, Johnson plans to make his announcement Jan. 4 on ESPN during the Under Armour All-America Game.

Who's in the driver's seat: Ohio State.

Other candidates: Penn State and Tennessee.

Dark horse: Florida.

@mitchsherman's take: Johnson visited Ohio State for the Nov. 24 Michigan game, a stirring OSU victory that propelled the Buckeyes to the top of Johnson's list. Linebacker is a priority at this stage of recruiting for Ohio State, which also continues to pursue Texan Mike Mitchell. Johnson decommitted from Auburn after the coaching change and keeps the Tigers in the discussion largely out of respect for the school. The Penn State connection involves defensive coordinator Ted Roof, who originally recruited Johnson while at Auburn under Gene Chizik. USC has long intrigued Johnson, and Oregon recently visited the linebacker, though the Pac-12 powers, in the end, look too far away from home.

RecruitingNation ranks Johnson's recruitment as the No. 9 battle in the country. Tweet us your opinion using the hashtag #BlueChipBattles @RecruitingESPN.


Vonn Bell | @TheVonnBell7

Rossville (Ga.) Ridgeland | S | 6-0/190 | ESPN Rank: No. 61

Last week's #BlueChipBattles rank: No. 10

Commitment status: Bell has narrowed his list to three -- Alabama, Ohio State and Tennessee -- and plans to take official visits to each one before making a decision.

Who's in the driver's seat: Alabama.

Other candidates: Ohio State.

Dark horse: Tennessee might have the most ground to make up with its recent coaching change, but Bell grew up a fan of the Volunteers and wants to meet UT's new coach, Butch Jones.

@GregO_ESPN's take: There was talk that Bell might make a decision as soon as his senior season wrapped up, but after his team lost in the state title game last weekend, that has since changed. Bell now plans to take all three official visits before making a decision. At the time, Alabama looked like the team to beat, but Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer made his in-home visit with Bell and his family on Saturday for the state championship and convinced the ESPN 150 safety to visit the Buckeyes' campus one more time.

RecruitingNation ranks Bell's recruitment as the No. 8 battle in the country. Tweet us your opinion using the hashtag #BlueChipBattles @RecruitingESPN.



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