- Jamie Newberg, RecruitingNation
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With national signing day (Feb. 2) around the corner, here is a breakdown of how things are looking in the Big East. Schools are listed in alphabetical order, not in order of their rank in the conference.
Overview: Of their 25 commitments most are on the offensive side of the ball. Cincinnati has big numbers to fill need areas like wide receiver and across the offensive line. In addition, listed athletes like Shaquille Washington (Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights) should help out as well. The Bears are also bringing in a pair of signal callers and running backs. Headlining these positions are quarterback Michael Colosimo (Fort Mitchell, Ky./Beechwood) and running back Jameel Poteat (Harrisburg, Pa./Biship McDevitt). Defensively, three-star safety Nicolas Temple (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central) leads the way.
Top prospect: Poteat is the top-rated Cincinnati recruit thus far in their 2011 recruiting class. He was originally committed to Pittsburgh but flipped to Cincinnati after the Panthers' coaching change. He's productive and knows how to find the endzone. Poteat finished with a school-record 84 scores.
Don't be surprised if: Cincinnati can turn defensive linemen Giovani Francios (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast). They trail FIU but he enjoyed his visit earlier this month. Cincinnati is also in hot pursuit of quarterback Stephen Weatherford (Land O'Lakes, Fla./Land O'Lakes).
Overview: With smaller numbers new head coach Paul Pasqualoni the Huskies pulled a few good ones at outside linebacker, on the offensive line and in the backfield. Defensive end Kenton Adeyemi (Fork Union Military, Va.), cornerback David Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson), and athlete Sean McQuillan (Glastonbury, Conn./Avon Old Farm School) are three to watch.
Top prospect: Outside linebacker Jefferson Ashiru (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) is UConn's top commitment thus far. He's athletic and capable of making plays all over the field. Ashiru plays well in space and can sift through traffic to find the ball. He recently committed to the Huskies over Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Southern Miss and others.
Don't be surprised if: UConn makes big recruiting strides with next year's class and beyond. It's been tough going for this new staff because of such a short recruiting window but one would suspect that Pasqualoni's connections up north should help their recruiting step up.
Overview: Wow. What a strong class for Louisville head coach Charlie Strong. The Cardinals hit the lottery in south Florida. There top three recruits are all ESPNU 150 members from Miami: safety Gerod Holliman (Miami, Fla./Southridge), quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Miami, Fla./Northwestern) and wide receiver Eli Rogers (Miami, Fla./Northwestern). Overall, 11 of their commitments are from the Sunshine State. Louisville also did pretty well at home. In all, this class is blessed with a lot of speed and athleticism.
Top prospect: Holliman gets the nod. He's a do-it-all safety who can make plays all over the field. Holliman has great range and plays with super instincts. He was at one time a commitment to Ole Miss.
Don't be surprised if: Louisville can pull another good one from south Florida in defensive end Bryant DuBose (Oakland Park, Fla./Northeast). He loves the Cardinals and that's his likely destination unless the Hurricanes offer late.
Overview: It had been looking like a disaster for the Panthers after the departure of Dave Wannstedt and then the hiring/firing of Mike Haywood. During the first transition Pitt lost a good many commitments from the good class Wannstedt was putting together. Now it's Todd Graham's turn and he and his new staff are working it hard and doing some nice things considering their situation, especially getting back in with many recruits.
Top prospect: Three-star tight end Sam Collura (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) is their top recruit to date. He's a very well-rounded tight end with good size (6-foot-3, 263 pounds). Collura is solid in the run game as a blocker and has good, consistent hands to be effective in the passing game.
Don't be surprised if: Piittsburgh pulls some surprises at the end. Quarterback Michael Eubank (Corona, Calif./Centennial) will visit despite his commitment to Arizona State. Pitt is making a late push on teammates Delvon Simmons (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport) and Branden Jackson. A big recruit for them is running back Lafayette Pitts (Pittsburgh, Pa./Woodland Hills), who they are trying to flip from Rutgers.
Overview: Rutgers has quietly put together a solid recruiting class that will be about two dozen deep. The Knights have nine linemen headed their way including top recruit defensive tackle Alan Page (Bronx, N.Y./Christopher Columbus). Athlete Miles Shuler (Long Branch, N.J./Long Branch) is a guy that you want to have the ball in his hands while Gary Bova (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco) is a fairly polished quarterback that has a chance to really shine for Rutgers. Defensive end Djwany Mera (Chatham, Va./Hargrave Military Academy) and linebacker Quentin Gause (Rochester, N.Y./Bishop Kearney) are two more to watch for.
Top prospect: ESPNU 150 running back Savon Huggins (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peters) gave the Rutgers family huge news when he committed to them. They won a huge recruiting battle over North Carolina and Notre Dame for his services. He's a big time recruit that should have a major impact on the team, maybe as early as next season. This past year Huggins rushed for close to 1,900 yards and 35 touchdowns and averaged over 10 yards per carry.
Don't be surprised if: Rutgers closes with another defensive lineman in Marquise Wright (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic). This D-tackle is down to Michigan State and Rutgers and will announce his decision on National Signing Day.
Overview: Skip Holtz has done a nice job in his first full recruiting season to recruit for USF, netting 16 in-state commitments. Holtz wanted to get some bigger and more physical receivers and he did just that with thetrio they are bringing in: Andre Davis (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson), Rueben Gonzalez (Tampa, Fla./Robinson) and Alex Mut (Punta Gorda, Fla./ Charlotte). The Bulls also loaded up with five offensive line prospects. Edsel Caprice (Cape Coral, Fla./Cape Coral) is an underrated linebacker prospect while Angelo Hadley (El Dorado, Kan./ Butler C.C.) could be a steal at defensive back.
Top prospect: The bottom line is that Andre Davis always seems to make the big play. He has some of the best hands you will ever see on a wide receiver. Davis makes the extraordinary catch look ordinary. And he does this regularly each and every game. He's deadly in the red zone or in the air. If Davis can work on his speed he could turn into something special for Holtz's offense.
Don't be surprised if: The Bulls close out with athlete Josh Grady (Seffner, Fla./Armwood). He's a Tampa-area high school star that would likely play in the secondary for the Bulls. Grady is blessed with a lot of athleticism. He just needs to decide in his heart what position he wants to play at the next level. If it's quarterback he could end up elsewhere.
Overview: Each season Doug Marrone and his staff recruit better and better. They have many kids that are flying a little under the recruiting radar who can really play like quarterback Terrell Hunt (Brooklyn, N.Y./Christ The King), linebacker Cameron Lynch (Snellville, Ga./Brookwood), safety Shutang Mungwa (Oradell, N.J./Bergen Catholic), wide receiver Durrell Eskridge (Miami, Fla./Central), and offensive lineman Rob Trudo (Farrell, Pa./Farrell). This is a really solid group and Marrone's best to date for the Orangemen.
Top prospect: Just how good is Lynch? He was the 5A Defensive Player of the Year in Georgia after recording 188 tackles and 18.5 sacks. That says a ton, especially considering just how deep and talented the Peach State was this past season. Lynch is smaller (5-11) but was very productive for one of the state's top programs. He's terrific against the run and very explosive.
Don't be surprised if: Syracuse closes with a couple of monsters on the both sides of the lines of scrimmage in defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds (Washington D.C./St. John's College) and offensive lineman Ivan Foy (Brooklyn, N.Y./Fort Hamilton). They are also in the running for defensive back Ritchy Desir (North Miami Beach, Fla./North Miami Beach).
Overview: This is aclass loaded with some very athletic players. Leading the way are out-of-state prospects like athlete Terrell Chestnut (Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove), running back Andrew Buie (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School), cornerback Vance Roberts (Washington, D.C./Dunbar) and wide receiver Dante Campbell (Clermont, Fla./East Ridge). West Virginia did a nice job in D.C., the state of Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Top prospect: Chestnut is a really talented player that could end up at a variety of different positions in Morgantown. He could play quarterback, receiver or even in the secondary. He's ultra quick and has good speed. Chestnut was originally committed to Pitt but decommitted after the coaching change.
Don't be surprised if: The Moutaineers land some more Florida recruits. They have a great shot at pulling safeties Roderick Ryles (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) and LaQuentin Smith (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) and wide receiver Davonte Allen (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central).
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.