Newberg's Mailbag - No. 5

Newberg's Mailbag - No. 5

Flipping Calvin Ridley, forecasting Christian Pellage, the latest on Lamar Jackson and much more in this mailbag.

How solid is Calvin Ridley (Coconut Creek, Fla./ Monarch) commitment to Alabama?
Fsunolefan8

If there is one thing I have learned over the last few years is that no team is immune to the decommitment. Florida State loses players. Ohio State loses players. Oregon loses players.

And yes, even prospects committed to Nick Saban and Alabama sign elsewhere.

There is certainly the possibility that Calvin Ridley could be swayed away from the Crimson Tide. His teammate and very good friend, Shawn Burgess-Becker, is committed to Alabama as well. They have both visited Ohio State, FSU and Miami this summer and anything is possible, especially with recruits from south Florida. They are just so unpredictable.

And there is one thing I want to say. If you have followed me over the years then you know what I preach - I don't put too much stock in early commitments. Too many kids make too many quick decisions. I see an early commitment as one thing - who's the early team to beat.

And there is such a long way to go folks. There's a season to be played and certainly FSU could win back to back titles. Maybe it's Alabama's year. Perhaps Miami breaks through with a huge season. And who knows, there could be another team or two that make a push for Ridley and Burgess-Becker.

I will say this, the Crimson Tide have had great success recruiting the Sunshine State. Florida was the high school home to players like Trent Richardson, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and Amari Cooper. It should surprise no one that they go wire to wire and sign this five-star wide receiver from south Florida.

One thing I have learned is that the Ridley recruitment will be a riddle until the very end.

Would you want it any other way? This is why we love the recruiting game so much.

What's your forecast on offensive tackle Christian Pellage?
Mike

Christian Pellage is a four-star offensive tackle from Brooksville (Fla.) Nature Coast. The nation's No. 32 ranked offensive tackle will make his commitment tomorrow at 2 p.m. eastern.

Pellage, now 6-foot-7, 271-pounds, had a busy off-season and summer. He visited schools like Alabama, FSU, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, South Florida, South Carolina and Miami.

Pellage has always been enamored with the state schools – Florida, FSU and Miami. He grew up a Gator fan and camped there for the last three summers. But Florida was late to the offer party and some say that bothers Pellage. Then you have Florida State. He camped with the Seminoles last month but they seem to prefer others. Don’t be surprised if he selects the Hurricanes, even with their recent offensive tackle pledges from Tyree St. Louis (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) and Brendan Loftus (Tallahassee Godby).

The one out of state team that everyone seems to be pointing to is South Carolina. The Gamecocks were one of his tour stops. They two have a couple of tackle pledges so it will be interesting to see how those decisions affect his.

With most announcements you kind of have an idea with where the recruit is headed. With this one you just don’t know. Again, this was supposed to be the time frame where he was going to narrow his list to five schools and then make his official visits this fall. Now, Pellage will make his commitment tomorrow afternoon.

What's the deal with quarterback Lamar Jackson (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and who is the team to beat?
Lenny

Now that is a very good question. I love this kid and his upside. If he finds the right fit and the right scheme for his skill set he will have a chance to become a star in college football. Mark my words.

Jackson, 6-2, 202-pounds, is ideal running the zone read. In fact, he's arguably the best in the state. What's exciting as an evaluator is seeing him develop as a passer. If this part of his game ever comes close to matching his athletic ability then watch out.

Having said all that, each time I speak with his coach, Rick Swain, West Virginia is always the first school out of his mouth. I know Jackson loved his visit to Nebraska this summer. He also visited Auburn, FSU and UCF. Meanwhile, Clemson is another team that's hanging around, as is Louisville. Jackson is so well equipped to play in any of these offensive schemes.

At the end of the day it could very well come down to his official visits. He wants to take them all.

But there is an issue here; Jackson wants to graduate in December and enroll early. To do that he has to really work it hard in the classroom this fall. The season begins in two weeks and his team only has one bye week. And lets not fail to mention that he will be quarterbacking a highly explosive offensive team that won 10 games last season. There's a great chance that Boynton Beach makes the playoffs and there's no telling how far they can go.

So where does he squeeze in his official visits? That will be tough. So pay real close attention to see who he visits this fall. That could tip us all in the direction(s) he is leaning, especially if we see a trip to Lincoln or Morgantown.

Jackson is a four-star recruit and the No. 29 ranked quarterback in the 2015 class.

Do you think Ray-Ray McCloud and Deon Cain flip to Florida if we have a good season?
Gatornation6868

Ha… that's the million dollar question in Gainesville. A good year and you will see this team recruit very well. Another sub-par season and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley will likely be recruiting another coach to Gainesville.

I think it’s that simple.

Of the names you mentioned above I certainly believe that McCloud is the more likely of the two. I got the feeling before his commitment to Clemson that whoever he gave his summer time pledge to that he would still make some official visits this fall. I certainly believe he could head out to UCLA at some point and it’s very possible he attends a Gator game or two.

It’s also no secret that McCloud and Cain are extremely close friends and want to play together. But at the end of the day, they will each do what is in their best interest.

With that being said, it’s too early to tell. There are 12 big games for the Gators. It will determine the fate of many things. And I truly believe a big year means a very good class for Florida. It’s more than just remaining in the hunt for guys like McCloud and Cain. Many big name prospects will be watching them very closely.

Even with a good year there’s no guarantee the Gators or anyone else can even flip them. This is Clemson and they recruit well, especially the state of Florida. And to be honest, those two are an ideal fit for the Tigers and their offense.

Eight, nine or even ten wins in Gainesville will certainly help but that doesn’t mean recruiting will be a slam dunk. But it would sure make things a little easier for Will Muschamp and his staff.

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