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2008: A Recruiting Oddysey (Part Deux)

As I noted on Friday, there's a lot going on in the world of SEC recruiting. And since I wrote that update, we've seen Florida add a 4-star defensive back commit, Georgia add a versatile athlete who happens to be the son of one of the Dawgs' grittiest players, Clemson steal a blue chip offensive lineman out of the heart of Bulldog Country, and Mark Richt offer a scholarship to an Alabama prospect who convincingly beat that blue-chipper on the spring camp circuit. Got all that?

Now lets turn our attention to the national recruiting picture. As I indicated on Friday, there are some things going on nationally that no one forecast. Some of them are trivial, but others could actually have a significant impact on the college football landscape. In no particular order, you should know . . .

1) All your blue-chippers are belong to Karl Dorrell. That's right. UCLA coach (at least for the moment) Karl Dorrell is actually reeling in the talent at a rate that even Pete Carroll would approve of (though not necessarily fear). I've tried flow charts, bar graphs and a phone call to Miss Cleo, and I still can't explain this one. Coach Dorrell has verbal pledges from 13 players rated "4-star" by, 5 receiving 3 stars, and unrated offensive tackle Connor Bradford, who fits a big position of need for the Bruins. How bizarre, how bizarre.

Every time you look around, Karl is in your face. That means you, Pete.

2) Jim Grobe has been playing Sawgrass way to much this spring. The coach who took Wake Forest football all the way to an ACC championship has been spending an inordinate amount of time in northeast Florida, as evidenced by his recruiting demographics. The Demon Deacons have four commitments for 2008. All are from the Jacksonville/St. Augustine area, and all are rated 3 stars by Rivals. It's like something from a Nicole Kidman remake flick (working title: The Stepford Jocks).

3) Where's the beef? Nebraska. Everything old is new again, as Bill Callahan is bringing in stud offensive linemen at a Tom Osborne-esque clip, led by Nebraska legacy Baker Steinkuhler, Rivals #4 ranked offensive tackle in the country.

4) It's been a Slow Spring for the Zooker. Illinois coach Ron Zook has always had a reputation as a great closer on the recruiting trail. He better be, as he's only inked three Chicago area players so far.

5) Who will win Texas? Mack Brown has built a dynasty by merely getting the best recruits out of his home state. Really, Texas is like a whole 'nother country, with about as many division one caliber football players in a given year as there are citizens of Curacao. Mack is getting his share of course (11 four-star prospects, 8 three-stars, and one unrated defensive back). But he may not win the battle for Texas this year. Who is eating Mack's cheese, you ask? It's not Dennis Franchione (though he's filling his limit with Texas talent as well, albeit not as highly rated). Nor Mike Leach. It's . . .

6) Bob Stoops. Bob "Flipping" Stoops. At least that's how Peter Bean's readership is probably referring to him. In addition to being an excellent investment advisor, it appears Stoops is also a fair to middling recruiter. Stoops has pledges from the top tailback in Texas, the top offensive lineman in Texas (whose decision prompted what my esteemed colleague Peter Bean referred to as "the anatomy of a fanbase meltdown") and the top defensive end in Texas. Those players are three of the top four in Rivals Texas Top 100. While Mack Brown has commitments from 7 of the top 25, Oklahoma has verbal pledges from 6. In yet another fit of outright weirdness, Oklahoma doesn't have a single verbal commitment from the state of Oklahoma. I assume this is because boys from Oklahoma, at least according to red dirt rockers Cross Canadian Ragweed (warning: turn down the speakers), are doing all sorts of things wrong these days.