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November 19, 2010

Ask Mike: Georgia still battling

Mike Farrell is a national football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly Ask Mike feature.
Previous mailbags
Nov 12: Tennessee needs to rally
Nov 5: What's next for Ohio State?
Oct 22: Auburn will be fine

Got a question? Click here to send it to Mike Farrell

Are Georgia's chances with elite prospects fading?

Should Texas quit offering so early?

What is the future for the Serra High trio?

These questions and more are addressed by National Recruiting Analyst Mike Farrell in this week's mailbag.


Dawg gone?

With the Dawgs struggling this year, what are the chances of Georgia picking up at least two of the following four 2011 recruits: Isaiah Crowell, Jay Rome, Xzavier Dickson and Ray Drew?

- John from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

I think the Bulldogs can land two of them but it won't be easy. However, it appears that Mark Richt is safe for another year barring a big surprise and the team has played so much better in its last six games than it did in its first five. With Richt off the hot seat (or now a warm seat) and the on-field improvement, Georgia can still finish strong.

I think Crowell is leaning toward Alabama, at least based on everything I hear. Who knows what Drew is thinking? I still think Georgia has a very good shot at him. The two most likely would be Rome, who favors Georgia and Alabama right now, and Dickson, who has a top four of Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Auburn. As things stand right now, I think Georgia leads for Rome and Dickson, have a good shot at Drew and hopes to lure Crowell back into the fold. See more on Crowell below.


More on Crowell

I recently heard you on Rivals Radio state that Alabama had Isaiah Crowell locked up. I think you said, "He's 100-percent Bama." What makes you say this? Do you know something us UGA fans don't know?

- Justin from Tallahassee, Fla.

Justin, this is what I love about radio. I never said Crowell is 100-percent Alabama, no one is 100-percent anyone in recruiting until they sign their letter, but I am hearing from sources that confidence is extremely high on the Tide side and they feel that he will be a part of their 2011 class.

Some have gone as far as saying it is a done deal and a lock, but I never go that far. Crowell has been to Alabama more this season. The Tide took a strong lead in October when the Dawgs were struggling and he was fresh off another good visit to Tuscaloosa.

However, he will be at UGA this weekend and I wouldn't be surprised if he took officials to both programs before deciding. A win and a bowl appearance would help Georgia's chances and the solid play by the Dawgs in the second half of the season has also assisted their efforts with Crowell. But Bama had some amazing recent success with big, powerful running backs and the program is more stable.

So, yes, the Tide have the edge.


Horns still have talent

Mack Brown recently talked about being immune to down years such as Texas is having now. How much of this poor year can be attributed to the way - early recruiting - he has pioneered over the last 5-6 years, in which he takes commitments before their true quality is known?

- Jim from Parks, Neb.

Jim, I don't care what program it is anyone is talking about, there will always be down years and rebuilding years. This is one of them for Texas. Of course Brown has had such a long run of success that Texas fans aren't used to it, but it happens. Look at what Florida is doing this year? At some point during a great run you are bound to lose talent at key positions and the recruits you count on simply don't step up quickly enough or even at all.

Should Texas wait and see on some of its commitments rather than just reel them in during a couple of junior days in the late winter/early spring? Maybe. But I don't think that's the issue here. There is plenty of talent on the roster but a few key recruits at big positions of need haven't panned out as expected. I expect Texas to continue its early recruiting process and to have much success with it moving forward. A down year just makes you appreciate the good ones all the more.


Serra trio

What do you think the odds of the trio from Serra High (George Farmer, Marqise Lee and Jason Gibson) all play together at the next level? Would it be safe to assume that they all end up at different universities or could you see any of the three teaming up?

- Brandon from Eugene, Ore.

I think two of them could end up playing together while the third will head elsewhere, but it's hard to read. Everyone thinks Farmer is a lock to USC and I feel the same way until I hear something different from a good source. There have also been indications that Lee will join Farmer at USC, but that's certainly not a lock and it appears that Gibson is a heavy lean to California.

I can see all three going their separate ways or Farmer and Lee teaming up at USC. For Oregon fans, stealing away Lee would be huge and the Ducks have a shot.


Virginia's targets

How do you think Virginia will finish with the rest of its recruiting? Of the so-called big names left on the wish list, who do you think UVA has the best chance of getting?

- Brian from Charlotte, N.C.

I think Virginia has the edge for cornerback Demetrious Nicholson right now, which is a big deal since North Carolina has had the edge for a long time. Immediate playing time is really attractive to Nicholson and he can get it in Charlottesville.

After Nicholson, the next closest thing to a lean would be Darius Jennings from Maryland but he's very high on the Terps as well. If I were guessing I'd say he ends up at Maryland in the end. They are hanging around for Curtis Grant but he's likely headed out of state and are trying to stay in it for Avery Walls and Donovan Smith, but those are pretty much all the big names for whom Virginia remains a candidate.


Iowa running out of big names

Will Iowa be able to recruit any more four- or five-star offensive linemen and defensive backs in 2011?

- Steve from Onawa, Iowa

The Hawkeyes have to pull a big surprise at either position to do so. There's a chance they steal Cyrus Kouandjio, as I hear his top three is Alabama, USC and Iowa and he is friends with freshman Marcus Coker at Iowa. However, we all know his brother is at Alabama so it seems to have the clear edge.

At defensive back, Dondi Kirby would be their only shot and the Hawkeyes are battling Florida and USC, as well as Illinois, Maryland and North Carolina. They don't have the edge right now. Still, Iowa is having a very good recruiting year and could pull some four-stars (obviously in the mix for Christian French and others) and a lot of three-stars that will overachieve as always for coach Kirk Ferentz.


Maryland gains momentum

What do you think of Maryland's class? Also with the surprising season this year, do you see a bump in its recruiting with the juniors more than this class?

- Pete from Burke, Va.

I expect Maryland to close on a few top guys between now and National Signing Day, mainly Darius Jennings and possibly pull a surprise for Blake Countess, Darian Cooper, Travis Hughes or Brandon Clemons.

But the real effect of this year will be felt next recruiting year now that coaching stability has returned. Maryland is winning again and the staff has been very aggressive in offering 2012 prospects. The Terps still need to finish strong this year, but whatever happens, you'll see next year get off to a better start than 2011.

Mike Farrell is a national football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. Click here to send him a question or comment for his mailbag.



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