Commentary

Under Armour Game adds Ayers, Wilson

Two of Southeast's best join roster, plus Bama closing in on top recruits and more notes

Originally Published: June 3, 2009
By Jc Shurburtt | Scouts Inc.

The Under Armour All-America Game added two of the Southeast's best prospects when offensive lineman Torrian Wilson (Miami/Northwestern) and cornerback Ryan Ayers (Douglasville, Ga./South Paulding) were named to the game in the past few days.

Wilson has perhaps the most upside of any offensive line prospect in South Florida in the 2010 class. He had an impressive junior season and also was one of the better line prospects at the Miami Under Armour Combine in February.

"I was excited when I got the news," Wilson said. "I am looking forward to playing in the game and competing with the best."

One of Wilson's former teammates at Northwestern, current University of Miami offensive lineman Brandon Washington, played in the inaugural Under Armour All-America Game in 2008 and couldn't say enough good things about the experience.

"[Washington] told me that I should check out the Under Armour Game, and said that he had a great time and that it was a great game to play in," Wilson said.

I was excited when I got the news. I am looking forward to playing in the game and competing with the best.

-- Torrian Wilson
Wilson has a top five -- in no particular order -- of Tennessee, Miami, Alabama, Michigan and Stanford. He has not set up any unofficial visits this summer.

Ayers has an extensive offer list that includes Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Auburn and North Carolina among others. It will be interesting to see how the defensive back matches up with a talented receiver pool in the game.

"It will be a good platform for Ayers to show what he can do when isolated on some of these guys one-on-one at corner, and a great gauge on whether he can stay out on the perimeter in college or will need to slide back to a high-point position," said ESPN Scouts Inc.'s Billy Tucker. "Either way, we feel his striking burst and sound anticipation skills will make him a playmaker on defense at the next level, particularly if his body continues to physically develop."

In fact, it's Ayers' ability to do so many things -- and do them well -- that makes him such an attractive prospect.

"What stands out about Ayers, aside from his great speed and acceleration to the football, is the great scheme versatility we think this guy is going to bring to his future defensive coordinator at the next level," Tucker said. "He has very good range, takes direct pursuit angles running the alley and simply has a ball-hawking mentality when employed at safety. Yet he also has the size and underneath breaking skills sought after in a hard underneath corner for teams that use a lot of Cover 2 schemes."

The leaderboard

Given running back Lache Seastrunk's comments during Auburn's Big Cat unofficial visit weekend, it's hard to imagine the Temple (Texas) standout ending up anywhere else at this point. His familiarity with the Auburn staff -- particularly recruiting coordinator Curtis Luper, his recruiter of record -- and the way the Tigers have approached his recruitment has been the difference so far. Seastrunk also has been reportedly encouraging other recruits to give Auburn a hard look, a sure indication that at least as of right now, he's going to join Gene Chizik's program.

The hot sell

Here's a spotlight on a hot school in recruiting right now.

Texas Longhorns

There is already a buzz about the Longhorns for the 2011 class. Talented running back Aaron Green (San Antonio/Madison) appears to be one of the top targets for the Longhorns in next year's class. Texas assistant Duane Akina recruits San Antonio for UT and has been by the school to check on him. Should the Longhorns not land Green, they also like Malcolm Brown (Cibolo, Texas/Steele) and Bradley Marquez (Midland, Texas/Midland). Defensive linemen Jermauria Rasco (Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian) and defensive tackle Desmond Jackson (Houston/Westfield) are 2011 prospects who attended the Houston Nike Football Training Camp last weekend and have the Longhorns high on their lists.

Recruiter to watch

Strong
Charlie Strong, Florida
The Gators' defensive coordinator should be a head coach soon. One of the things that makes him so attractive for a major job -- besides the fact that year in and year out he produces one of the country's best defenses -- is his ability to recruit. Strong is able to form relationships with players and parents quite well, something that will help him when he leads his own program. Under Armour All-American linebacker Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast) and one of his assistant coaches recently cited his relationship with Strong as a reason the Gators were in the running for Luc's services.

Also keep an eye on

Fisher
Jimbo Fisher, Florida State
The Seminoles' head coach-in-waiting/offensive coordinator is in a unique position, because he can sell the program's future as the head coach on the road during the spring, a time when other head coaches are not allowed out because of NCAA rules. Fisher also is excellent at building relationships with families.

Coast-to-coast notes

On second thought
Last week, I reported here that Southern California had not backed off Under Armour All-American wide receiver Markeith Ambles (McDonough, Ga./Henry County). Now it appears the Trojans have indeed backed off. There are other schools still strongly in the mix, though, and he camped at Tennessee earlier this week. Ambles could end up at a number of places.

Fulton closing in on decision
Alabama has been the claimed leader for Under Armour All-American cornerback John Fulton (Manning, S.C./Manning) for about a month now, and sources close to his situation feel the Crimson Tide could be closing in on a commitment from him sooner rather than later. Though Fulton has consistently maintained that the Tide leads, Fulton says he is "not even close" to committing when asked about a potential pledge. It should be interesting to see if the Crimson Tide can shut this one down before the summer ends.

Another one for Bama?
Under Armour All-American athlete Demarcus Milliner (Millbrook, Ala./Stanhope Elmore) is expected to announce his decision during a 1 p.m. press conference Thursday, and it looks like Alabama will be the choice.

Milliner played running back and safety in high school, but there is talk that he could be a corner in college. He rushed for 438 yards and seven touchdowns, added a receiving TD, intercepted seven passes, returning two for scores, and returned two punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns.

The Crimson Tide has been the leader for Milliner since mid-May, and though he said he's also considering Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee and South Carolina, it would be surprising if he doesn't announce he's committing to Alabama.

Audibles
The Gators are way out in front for defensive lineman Richard Ash (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee). … Under Armour All-American linebacker Shaun Lewis (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower) said at Sunday's Nike Football Training Camp in Houston that he was truly wide open. Texas A&M could be strong at the moment, but there are multiple programs in hot pursuit. … Defensive tackle Kirifi Taula (Anaheim, Calif./Servite) has a current top four of Arizona, Nebraska, Oregon State and Washington.

JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at jcsespn@aol.com.

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