On second thought

Under Armour All-American WR Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Blanche Ely) said from the beginning that he's a soft commitment to LSU, where his older brother -- Patrick Peterson -- went to school.

So it's not surprising when the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder decides to check out another school. Originally the plan was for Johnson to head to Auburn for the Tigers' spring game, but apparently those plans have changed.

"There's been some miscommunications, I'm going to Florida State this weekend for their spring game," Johnson said.

When asked why he made the change Johnson said that Auburn "has too much going on right now" and wouldn't elaborate further. With Auburn seemingly out of the picture, that leaves a group of Miami, FSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, North Carolina and Georgia that are catching Johnson's interest.

This will be Johnson's second trip to Tallahassee and this time he wants to take a closer look at the program and the community in general.

"I just want to enjoy the game and check out the fan base and how the people treat each other," Johnson said. "I want to check out the receivers and see where their passing game is."

Johnson says he likes new FSU starting quarterback E.J. Manuel.

"He has started a few games in the past and he's a real good quarterback," Johnson said. "I think he's going to have a real good season for them."

In recent weeks Johnson has particularly expressed an interest in Miami. He admits to having grown up a Canes fan and is impressed with the new coaching staff led by Al Golden.

"Miami could be ready to come up this year and make some noise," Johnson said. "I like the fact that this coaching staff is ready to put the best players on the field. Whether they be freshmen or sophomores or whatever. In the spring they have had true freshmen on the first team and that surprised me a little."

One of the keys for Johnson will be early playing time or at least the opportunity to get on the field early. That is one thing that has allowed Georgia to move up on his board.

"I'm a big A.J. Green fan and I saw the way the program let him challenge for a starting spot as a freshman and he won it," Johnson said. "And he started pretty much every game for the next three years."

As spring football approaches, the visits are winding down for Johnson and it's likely FSU will be the last school he sees before the summer. Although he couldn't make the trip for LSU's spring game last weekend, he will probably be on the campus soon after spring football ends. He is also planning other trips.

"I'm going to be taking a lot of unofficials this summer," Johnson said. "I'm going to do some camping but not too much. Mostly some unannounced visits."

But between now and the start of spring football on May 2 there are more pressing matters -- like seeing his brother selected early in the NFL draft.

Peterson is currently No. 3 in Todd McShay's Top 32 and is projected to go in the top 10.

"I'm real excited for him and I'm just happy that it's coming to an end and he'll be on a team finally," Johnson said. "It's a lot to take in but I can't wait until [April 28]."

Miami's interest in Snell slowing down

There's a good chance WR Brandon Snell (Miami, Fla./Norland) will be at the Hurricanes' spring game with his teammates Randy "Duke" Johnson and Keith Brown -- both Miami commits.

But this could also be the end of the courtship between the talented wide receiver and his hometown school.

"To be honest Miami has gotten a little quiet on the recruiting front lately," Snell said. "So I'm focused on the schools that have offered and are interested."

Rutgers, Louisville and Western Michigan have offered while Snell says that South Florida, Wake Forest and North Carolina are three schools that have been especially active in calling him.

He had a chance to check out the USF campus last month during the Badger 7-on-7 tournament in Tampa and was happy with what he saw.

"I think USF could be the type of place that would be perfect for me," Snell said. "I'm a low-key person and there's a nice, calm atmosphere around that campus and that city. I don't think I want to deal with a real busy city for college."

Snell says he plans on going to Louisville for the summer and doing a camp there. ESPN.com's 2010-11 Recruiter of the Year Clint Hurtt is handling Snell's recruitment. Snell's other summer plans include tournaments with the South Florida Express 7-on-7 team.

“"Coach Hurtt is a big name down here in Miami,"” Snell said. "“He and Coach [Charlie] Strong are two guys you want to play for.”"

Massive turnout expected for Nike camp

This weekend's Nike NFTC in Tallahassee has more than 400 names on the list and is loaded with Watch List prospects like Under Armour All-American defensive back and FSU commit P.J. Williams (Ocala, Fla./Vanguard), offensive lineman Ty Darlington (Apopka, Fla./Apopka), LaTroy Pittman (Citra, Fla./North Marion) and athlete Tajarvis Fuller (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar).

A couple of underclassmen to keep an eye on: 6-5, 290-pound OL Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia), who was one of the best-looking sophomores in the state last year and will be a three-year varsity starter at Columbia High when it's all said and done; and expect big things from twin brothers Damonte and Jamonte Jones (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic).


" WR Austin Aikens (Tampa, Fla./Plant) has received offers from Cincinnati and Boston College in the past week, his fourth and fifth offers.

" DB Chris Bivins (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville) received an offer from Memphis this week -- his fourth offer of the season.

" Watch List TE Kent Taylor (Odessa, Fla./Land O' Lakes), who is headed to Penn State this weekend, recently received an offer from Mississippi State.

" Watch List LB/DE Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson) received an offer from Georgia. The Bulldogs signed McCord's former teammate, linebacker Ramik Wilson, in the Class of 2011.


Hey Corey,
You give no love to Florida Atlantic man, but the Owls are going to be back in the bowl picture this year. How do you think having the new stadium will help their recruitment?
Alonzo Garces
Lake Worth, Fla.

Hey Alonzo, you have already seen what the on-campus stadiums have done for UCF and, to a slightly lesser extent, FIU. Now, add in one of the most charming pitchmen around, Howard Schnellenberger, and I think FAU is going to benefit in the long run. You might not see it as much in the Class of 2012, but definitely in the Class of 2013 and beyond. Schnellenberger and his staff will continue to land under-the-radar prospects from Orlando down to Key West (with a few exceptions). He also usually does well in Palm Beach and Broward County during the last month of recruiting season.

Hey Corey,
I've looked at a couple of recruits that have the Florida Gators high on their lists and some that are planning to visit in the upcoming weeks. Which prospects do you think they have the best chance of receiving a commitment from in the near future?
Omario Garrett
Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Hey Omario, I thought there might have been a commit out there for the Gators at the spring game but it didn't happen. I hear different things on Marcus Maye (Melbourne, Fla./Holy Trinity Episcopal). He may wait until after his senior year or may commit before the season. Either way, Florida is his top school, but he did want to check out Alabama and Florida State (which is where he is this weekend). I thought Evan Goodman (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland) might be part of the class already, but that hasn't happened. So the best answer is to wait and see, but the next commitment might not come until after spring football.

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.