Some big names in the Atlantic East region appear ready to make early commitments.
Some of the top prospects on the East Coast - like athlete Will Hill of New Jersey and linebacker Brendan Beal of Pennsylvania - appear close to making their college decisions.
Hill, the nation's No. 17 player, is scheduled to take an official visit to Florida this weekend. He is expected to commit to Urban Meyer and his staff if all goes well. Hill has offers from nearly every program in the country, but the 6-foot-3, 203-pounder fell in love with Gainesville on an unofficial visit in July.
Hill nearly committed on that trip, but decided to wait so his mother could see the campus as well. If he doesn't feel comfortable enough to commit on his visit, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, USC and others could get a look. However, it's likely he'll end the process soon.
Hill could be joined as a Gator commitment by Bethlehem (Pa.) Liberty linebacker Brendan Beal. The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder played his junior season at Roxbury High School in New Jersey, but transferred in the offseason. Beal has been to Gainesville twice on unofficial visits and will be back for an official visit this weekend.
Beal has also been to USC on an unofficial visit and took his first official visit this past weekend to Boston College. Despite a good visit to Chestnut Hill, the Gators are still the team to beat. Beal said he expects to make a decision in late October and hopes to get back to Los Angeles on an official visit. Beal mentioned he would also like to see LSU.
Matthews (N.C.) Butler safety Spencer Adams will also visit Florida this weekend, and the Gators are one of his favorites - along with Clemson.
Fort Washington (Md.) Friendly athlete Lamaar Thomas is taking an official visit to Ohio State on Sept. 21, and the Buckeyes are the team to beat. If he doesn't commit on his trip, he'll visit Illinois the following weekend. Maryland is a dark horse, but a commitment on his first official trip to Columbus would not be a shocker.
New Brunswick, N.J. athlete Brandon Smith, a top-100 recruit, could also commit on the weekend of Sept. 21. Smith and recent Michigan commitment J.B. Fitzgerald have become friends and have talked about playing in Ann Arbor together. They are scheduled to take their official visits the same weekend, so Fitzgerald may help recruit his friend while they are on campus. Fitzgerald is a linebacker from Princeton Junction (N.J.) West Windsor Plainsboro South.
Goochland, Va., wide receiver D.J. Coles recently committed to Virginia Tech, his longtime favorite. He may have company soon. A top prospect from Virginia could join Coles as an early commitment. Manassas (Va.) Stonewall Jackson running back Ryan Williams is expected to take an early unofficial visit to Virginia Tech this month. Williams' coach played at Virginia Tech, and the Hokies are rumored to be his leader.
Change of heart?: Rumors continue to swirl that Charlottesville (Va.) St. Anne's-Belfield offensive lineman Kyle Long could be re-thinking his decision to play only baseball in college. Long committed to Florida State for baseball early this summer, but has apparently been thinking about continuing his football career either at FSU or possibly at Ohio State. Long denies the rumors and simply says he's committed to FSU, but keep an eye on this one. Long is a five-star prospect as a football player, but Howie Long's son is also an outstanding baseball pitcher.
Big commitment for BC: The new staff at Boston College is making some noise on the recruiting trail. A few months after beating Florida, Ohio State and others for running back Josh Haden, the Eagles beat Pitt, West Virginia, Georgia Tech and others for defensive end Kaleb Ramsey. One of the top players in Western Pennsylvania, Ramsey could also play defensive tackle in college.
Jeannette, Pa., quarterback Terrelle Pryor knows he'll take official visits to Ohio State and West Virginia, but isn't sure where he'll visit beyond that. However, the nation's No. 1 player took an unofficial visit last weekend to Happy Valley to watch Penn State defeat Notre Dame 31-10.
"Everything was good about the trip," said the 6-foot-6, 230-pounder. "The atmosphere is like it always is when I go to a game, the crowd is crazy. This time they chanted my name throughout the game, which was cool. It was a good trip, just like the other times I've been up there."
Pryor didn't get to interact much with the coaches because he arrived at the game about an hour before kickoff.
"I got up there late, so I got to talk to them very quickly but nothing at length," he said. "I did get to speak to a couple of recruits who were there on visits. I met Deion Walker and spoke to him and his dad, but not really about football. I saw Je'Ron Stokes and talked to his dad as well. His dad said he might send Je'Ron wherever I go, which was funny. We all just hung out a bit and talked, but just about regular things."
Pryor said his Ohio State trip is set for the weekend of Nov. 2 and he hasn't set his West Virginia trip yet. Will he take an official to Penn State down the line?
"I'm not sure, I've been there enough times and it's close enough where I don't need to take an official visit. It was a good trip and I had a good time there. I think the offense is OK, they could have put it on Notre Dame a lot more. But the crowd was amazing as always, and it's a great atmosphere.
"I haven't figured out my other officials yet, but I might take one to Texas now. I want to see more of the offense they run. The offense a team runs is important to me, and I think Texas' offense could be a fit. But right now that's still up in the air."
Penn State's visit weekend has put the Nittany Lions out in front for Springfield (Pa.) Cardinal O'Hara tight end Mark Wedderburn.
"The visit was amazing," he said. "I've never experienced anything like that before. They had 110,000 fans there, it was the second most ever and it was ridiculous. I just felt a great vibe about them. It's one big, happy family.
People were tailgating eight hours before the game started. I can't even explain it."
Wedderburn actually considered committing while in State College.
"I was thinking about a decision at one point on the visit. I thought though that I want to see other schools first before I make a decision. It was hard not to commit."
Wedderburn is looking at taking visits to West Virginia, Louisville and Tennessee later this fall.
Orange lands an OL: Offensive tackle Nick Lepak committed to Syracuse last week. The 6-foot-5, 317-pounder has the size to play in college immediately.
"I just thought it was the school I wanted to go to," Lepak said. "The education, football and facilities were all for me. When I went up there for the spring game, I got to sit down with a professor in the criminal justice program. She answered our questions about what they had to offer. That stood out in my decision.
"I really like the coaching staff, too. They are all great guys and I get along with the players as well. The facilities they have really appeal to me also. Finally, the location definitely was big. It's always really good to know you'll have family nearby to support and see you."
Only five of the top 25 players in the Rivals.com Texas top 100 remain uncommitted. While the numbers continue to dwindle, there is no question the process is heating up for those that are still on the board. This includes four-star receiver Omarius Hines of Corsicana. Hines took an official visit this weekend to Oklahoma and came away impressed with what he saw in Norman.
"Everything went great," Hines said. "It was a great visit. I had a good time up there with everybody. I thought it was going to be a good game and everything, but the crowd was just crazy. There was a lot of intensity going into the game and it was cool to be a part of. The crowd was wild, man."
This was Hines' first opportunity to see the Sooners campus. Being able to experience the atmosphere - along with the opportunity to spend some time with the players - left him feeling good after his first official visit.
"I got a chance to check out the university and see what everything was like," he said. "I spent a lot of time with Malcolm Kelly and Cory Brandon. I knew Cory since he played at my high school, and I've talked to him a lot. We had a lot of fun with them and I got along with all of them real good. We just were hanging out, talking. I really like the team and the campus and everything."
While he felt good about the visit, he wasn't ready to commit.
"OU is a team I'm still looking at," he said, "But nothing is changing right now. I'm going to take the rest of my visits and then figure out what I'm going to do. I think I'd fit in all right up there, but things haven't changed for me at all. Everything is still open."
At this point his visits are expected to be Florida, LSU, Michigan, and West Virginia. The only school who has failed to offer at this point is Florida, but the Gators still appear to be the clear-cut leader for Hines.
Brown inching closer: Five-star linebacker Arthur Brown's list officially was reduced to 16 teams, and another cut to his final 10 is expected in the next two weeks.
Brown announced after Wichita (Kan.) East's game against Dodge City on Friday that he was down to Kansas State, USC, Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Nebraska, California, Louisville, Rutgers, Auburn, North Carolina, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, UCLA and LSU.
The reduction eliminated teams like Florida State, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Texas A&M from his list. The only real surprise from that list was Florida State. Brown took an unofficial visit to FSU this summer with his younger brother, future five-star running back Bryce Brown.
Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Texas A&M were always considered to be on the outside looking in for the nation's No. 2 outside linebacker and the No. 16 player overall. Brown, who is 6 feet 1 and 210 pounds, is expected to reduce his list to his final 10 schools by Sept. 17. His mentor, Brian Butler, said Brown will then schedule five official visits and five unofficial visits.
"He'll use his visits to see some schools officially that he's not seen," Butler said. "There will be some schools that he really likes that he won't take visits to because he's already seen them."
Last week, four-star offensive tackle R.J. Mattes recently took unofficial visits to North Carolina State and Clemson.
"N.C. State was first on Saturday and it was great," he said. "They have a good fan base out there and I got to tailgate with some friends. I also met some of the good class they've got coming in, including Andrew Wallace and Brandon Barnes. I just said "Hi" to them, and they asked me who my favorite schools are and tried to get me to go there."
Mattes was also in attendance for the Clemson/Florida State game.
"That was great, too," he said. "It's probably the best stadium I've been to. They were loud. I've never heard it get so loud. It was a great atmosphere with the tailgaters, and they came out with a win - which was even better."
Did either visit improve N.C. State or Clemson's chances?
"These were just visits for me to check out the game. They didn't swing me any other way. I'm still down to the same five schools, North Carolina, N.C. State, Clemson, South Carolina and Virginia."
Jenkins getting close?: Wide receiver Rotell Jenkins updated his recruitment last week. What the latest with the 6-foot-2, 176-pounder?
"I don't really know who I have official offers from," he said. "My coach doesn't really tell me because he wants me to wait. I have heard of offers from Florida, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Penn State."
Do any schools lead for Jenkins at this time?
"All of the ones that have been in touch stick out to me," he said. "I'm mainly looking for somewhere I'm going to play, and they'll have good coaches. I want to get along with everybody fine. Location doesn't really matter to me either. I'm mainly looking for somewhere I can learn."
Jenkins confirmed that he plans to take all five official visits.
On Aug. 22, three-star cornerback Johnny Adams said he was in no rush to make a college decision. The nation's No. 45 cornerback said he couldn't even name a favorite. In fact, it was difficult to get him to even name the schools that had offered him scholarships.
What a change a few weeks can make.
Adams - who is measured in at the Rivals.com Junior Day in Akron, Ohio, at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds - said he decided to commit to Michigan State. He chose the Spartans over offers from Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Syracuse, West Virginia and others.
"I like the Michigan State atmosphere, the coaching staff, I like the players there because I know some of them and I just felt like it would be a great fit for me." Adams said. "I called coach Mark Dantonio. He was very excited."
So why the sudden change of heart for the Akron (Ohio) Buchtel standout?
"You know I have my ways, my secrets," Adams said. "I knew I was going to commit to Michigan State for a while. They were always at the top of my list. I'm pretty sure of my decision. I don't have any other plans of taking visits. I'm not sure when I'll take my visit to Michigan State, but I will for sure."
Adams is a star on both sides of the football and an excellent get for MSU.
He's playing quarterback this season, and as a junior he had 14 touchdowns receiving and six interceptions on defense. On defense, he's a lockdown cover corner that should be able to make the adjustment to the next level rather quickly once he adds weight and strength. Michigan State assistant Pat Narduzzi recruited Adams, the No. 30 player in Ohio and a 5.6 on the Rivals Rating Scale.
Rivals100 offensive tackle Antoine McClain of Anniston, Ala., took an unofficial visit to Georgia on Saturday and came away impressed.
"Georgia is a nice place, they have nice facilities, they have nice people and they have nice coaches," he said. "Everything about Georgia was great. I really like the program and what I saw on Saturday. Georgia is what college football is all about.
"They have a great campus, their fans are crazy, they have a great atmosphere. Everyone around there loves the Georgia Bulldogs."
Following the visit, Georgia is sticking out for McClain.
"Georgia is at the top right now," he said. "I don't know if I would say they are the leader, but
I like them a lot. They are definitely one of my top teams and they will get an official visit."
Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes defensive end Everett Dawkins has announced that Florida State is the leader for his services. He is in the process of setting up official visits. "I'm planning on visiting Florida State, Tennessee, Wake Forest and two more," he said. "Virginia Tech I'm pretty sure is one. I'm undecided on the last one. I'm going to start taking those after the season."
Sierra Vista (Ariz.) Buena running back Jamal Womble set up a last minute visit to Boston College last week, and he's glad he did. After taking several unofficial visits, Womble said his first official visit was his best so far.
"I'm sure part of it had to do with this being my first official visit and the school being able to spend more time and money on me, but I just really liked Boston College a lot," Womble said. "There wasn't a single negative about it, everything was great. I didn't have a game this weekend, so I got there around 6 p.m. Friday and my host Ryan Lindsay and also Brian Toal took me around Boston.
"I didn't know what to expect, but I liked Boston a lot. It's a cool city. I'm from back East, so I'm very comfortable with the people there and the weather. Boston is a big city and I'm kind of a big city guy, so I really enjoyed it there."
Womble is now set up to take visits to North Carolina on Oct. 5, Wisconsin on Nov. 9 and South Carolina on Nov. 23. He had previously listed North Carolina and South Carolina as his top two teams.
Deehan likes Oregon: Four-star tight end Ryan Deehan of Poway, Calif., took his first visit two weeks ago to Oregon, and the trip left a lasting impression on him.
"I had a lot of fun there and I'm very interested in Oregon right now," Deehan said. "We played Friday night and then I had to be at the airport at 3:30 in the morning, so I was pretty tired. I landed around 10:30 Saturday morning and we headed over to the campus. The whole game-day experience was really nice. We got to go up into Phil Knight's suite, but we left before he got there. I had a chance to see the locker room - which was insane - and be on the field for pre-game."
Oregon definitely moved up on his list, but Deehan still has more visits scheduled.
"Right now, I'm still planning to take visits to Colorado and Arizona State," he said. "Colorado is this coming weekend (Sept. 14) and ASU is (Oct. 12). Right now, I'm just trying to stay as open as I can. After I'm done with my visits, then I'll narrow things down a bit and look in to making a decision."
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