Commentary

Top ten undecided Class of 2008 prospects

Originally Published: January 14, 2008
By Tom Luginbill | Scouts Inc.

Jones and PryorTom Hauck for ESPN.com/AP PhotoWR Julio Jones (left) and QB Terrelle Pryor are the two most coveted undecided prospects.
Recruitniks nationwide are abuzz with where the top uncommitted prospects across the land will sign. Here's a look at the top 10 uncommitted prospects in the ESPN 150 and what lies ahead for them leading up to February 6:

1. WR Julio Jones (Foley, Ala.)
ESPN 150 rank: 2

Many may argue that Terrelle Pryor is the biggest mystery in recruiting, but for our money it is without a doubt Julio Jones as he has not said a word to anyone in regards to his recruiting experience -- ever. Heck, just about two months ago he announced his five official visits (Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, FSU and Texas Tech), but that was it with no elaboration whatsoever. I, for one, actually admire this young man's approach; many prospects are all about the attention and publicity, but not Jones. He deserves some credit for just taking the time to make the right choice for him without anyone's interference. Florida State was the latest stop this past weekend on the recruiting trail, and if it were our guess, this is a three-horse race between Alabama, Florida and Florida State, in no particular order.

2. QB Terrelle Pryor (Jeannette, Pa.)
ESPN 150 rank: 4

The minute Rich Rodriguez left West Virginia for Ann Arbor and David Cutcliffe cut out to be the head coach at Duke, everything changed for this class' greatest athlete. Prior to all this happening, we believe Pryor's choices were in this order: Tennessee, West Virginia and Ohio State with a few hangers on down the line. Now, the tables have turned and Oregon and Michigan have thrust themselves to the forefront for Pryor's services. If Oregon weren't so far away, the Ducks would likely be in the lead by a few lengths. Obviously both offenses fit Pryor's skills perfectly and while I'm sure he would love to contribute right away, I think he is smart enough to understand that red-shirting isn't a bad option either. Rodriguez has played with a freshman before in Pat White and if he wants to truly run his scheme in year one, he will likely hand the keys over to Pryor as the ultimate recruiting tool in luring him to Ann Arbor.

3. RB Darrell Scott (Moorpark, Calif./St. Bonaventure)
ESPN 150 rank: 9

The best thing that ever happened to Mack Brown at Texas in regards to landing Scott was Jamaal Charles' decision to declare for the NFL draft -- it leaves the void of an elite load carrier in the Longhorns' backfield. Brown still has to contend with the family connection Colorado has (Scott's uncle is wide receiver Josh Smith) and the young, athletic Gators starving for a bona fide running back to team up next to Tim Tebow. For our money, Texas is in the lead.

4. RB Jamie Harper (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian)
ESPN 150 rank: 12

[+] EnlargeJamie Harper
Gary Bogdon for ESPN.comJamie Harper should make an instant impact no matter where he signs.
Speaking of hotly pursued running backs by the Florida Gators, Harper is going to be tough to lure away from Clemson fresh off his official visit this past weekend -- he has made no secret of his interest in the Tigers. However, he has stood firm on his stance to make sure he educates himself on all his options, including cold weather climates like Illinois.

5. WR Deandre Brown (Ocean Springs, Miss.)
ESPN 150 rank: 24

Recently leaping into the top 25 of the ESPN 150, Brown has impressed us with an excellent postseason. His improved receiving polish to go along with his 6-foot-6, physically-impressive frame has made him a highly sought-after talent on the recruiting trail. While coveted, Brown remains open on his recruitment at this point and has yet to take any official visits; LSU, Florida, Texas Tech, Auburn, Alabama and in-state Ole Miss and Southern Mississippi are currently atop his list. Early playing time and a throwing offense to better utilize his skills appear be the decisive factors in his decision. Current LSU tight end Richard Dickson is an Ocean Springs grad and the familiarity to the program could push the Tigers towards the top if he decides to leave the state.

6. CB T.J. Bryant (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln)
ESPN 150 rank: 25

There is more than one physically-talented cornerback in this 2008 class. T.J. Bryant (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) may be our No. 2-rated prospect behind recent LSU pledge Patrick Johnson (Pembroke Pines, Fla./Ely), but he is just as coveted. Planning to announce on signing day, Bryant still has six schools in the mix -- LSU, FSU, Florida, Miami, Alabama and USC -- and plans to visit each (five officially and one unofficially). He is keeping his recruitment close to the vest, and each of his final six schools certainly has their selling points. LSU is coming off a national championship, but the loss of respected defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and the recent pledge from the country's top shutdown corner could hurt the Tigers. FSU has been stagnant on the recruiting trail, but it is the home team and has had a host of Lincoln players succeed in its program. Florida is thin and young at corner and the chance to play next to Will Hill (West Orange, N.J./Saint Peter's) and Dee Finley (Auburn, Ala.), ESPN's top two safety prospects, has to be enticing. Physical tools would fit well as a Miami corner, and Randy Shannon has shown the recruiting touch for in-state defensive players. Nick Saban appears to have already made a good impression on Bryant; his ties to the NFL and defensive pedigree could greatly influence the No. 24 player in the country. USC is USC, the tradition and reputation for producing NFL first rounders is attractive. The X-factor could be which track program most impresses the accomplished hurdler.

7. CB Brandon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington)
ESPN 150 rank: 28

While in Orlando as an Under Armour All-American, Harris, coming off a 15-0 senior season and 4A state championship, said he will not make his college announcement until signing day and is still very much open. At this point, LSU, Florida, Ohio State and Miami are the finalists, with the Tigers a possible frontrunner. Harris has already taken an official visit to Baton Rouge and enjoyed himself and visited Gainesville as well. Randy Shannon seems to have made an impression on him, like he has with most southern Florida prospects this year, and a visit is coming up. The Buckeyes hosted Harris this past weekend, but OSU does not appear to be a frontrunner at this point. A proven winner and one of the more competitive athletes in this class, this year's national champs could be in the lead for the defensive playmaker.

[+] EnlargeOmar Hunter
Gary Bogdon for ESPN.comMassive DT Omar Hunter looks to be a lock for the Gators.
8. DT Omar Hunter (Buford, Ga.)
ESPN 150 rank: 37

If this one-time Notre Dame commit doesn't end up verbally committed to Florida within the next week, we will be shocked.

9. DT Brandon Thompson (Thomasville, Ga.)
ESPN 150 rank: 39

We remember watching film onThompson early last spring and being wowed by his explosiveness and ability to cause havoc along the line of scrimmage. We were also surprised by the early lack of offers as at that time Clemson was the only program showing great interest. Since that initial evaluation,Thompson has become a well-known name in recruiting to fans and coaches. As we head down the final stretch toward national signing day the defensive tackle has plenty of options. Several schools throughout the months have been in and out of the mix but one constant has been Clemson. The Tigers have been long rumored to be his destination and at this point seem to still be the safe bet. LSU and Tennessee and are also seriously in the mix though. The Under Armour All-American visited Knoxville this past weekend and already visited LSU. Miami and Ohio State, while long shots, are also in the picture.Thompson was close to announcing at the UA Game and a decision from him could very likely come in the next week or two.

10. DE William Green (Birmingham, Ala./Spain Park)
ESPN 150 rank: 43

Green is one of the top speed edge rushers in the 2008 class, making him a hot commodity especially this late in the recruiting process. The Alabama native is just beginning to take visits and has a busy month ahead of him. He stayed in-state and visited Auburn this past weekend and also has official visits set up for Florida and Clemson later in the month. While those three programs are the only ones with visit dates set, Alabama and Tennessee are also in the mix. It is tough to declare a favorite for Green at this point and we would not be surprised if he waits until national signing day to announce.

Tom Luginbill is the national director of recruiting for Scouts Inc. Luginbill is a college football and recruiting studio analyst for ESPNU.