Some West Virginia fans are still getting used to head coach Bill Stewart, not only as the head coach, but as a recruiter as well. Stewart and his staff are trying to help the Mountaineer fan base rest easy by gathering quite the collection of talent in Morgantown. Already ranked at the top of the Big East team rankings, West Virginia landed three more very good prospects last week.
(Pompano Beach/Fla./Blanche Ely) cornerback Michael Carter got the ball rolling at the U.S Army All-American Bowl when he selected the Mountaineers over Florida and Minnesota on national television. Five-star Tavon Austin (Baltimore/Md./Dunbar) may have been the biggest coup of this class, as he chose to quietly commit to Stewart. Capping the week of was (Fort Myers/Fla./South Fort Myers) wide receiver Brodrick Jenkins.
At the Brute Sun Bowl the Pittsburgh Panthers showed that they desperately need a quarterback and three-star Kolby Gray (Houston/Texas/Cypress Falls) answered the call. The Panthers also added a pledge from (Jersey City/N.J./Hudson Catholic) defensive back Jason Hendricks. Our sources informed us that the Panthers may have also landed (Hoboken/N.J.) three-star defensive end Bernardo Nunez, but Nunez did not want to make it public as of press time.
Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville five-star offensive tackle Marcus Hall is the highest rated prospect in the Midwest yet to make his commitment. Hall took his official visit to Michigan this past weekend and now has the Wolverines at the top of his list.
“Michigan is my leader right now,” Hall told GoBlueWolverine.com’s Andre Barthwell, “I had a good time this weekend. The visit was real nice. I really didn’t expect it to be that nice. It was so organized and I was very comfortable with everyone. Michigan having a (3-9) season does not bother me. That just means they need players and I could play early.”
Ohio State, Miami and Tennessee are the other schools on Hall's list. He takes his official visit to Miami on the 23rd of this month and Tennessee on the 30th.
Another one of the top uncommitted prospects in the Midwest is East St. Louis (Ill.) four-star wide receiver Kraig Appleton. He has been quiet lately as he prepares to make his decision and since he missed the U.S. Army All-American game, the mystery surrounding his recruitment has continued. However, sources have informed Scout.com that while Appleton has been considered committed to Illinois, Wisconsin has been moving up his list and the Badgers are back in the picture for his services.
Illinois has many more talented receivers coming up the pipe in the future as well. Proviso West's Kyle Prater put on a show down in San Antonio at the U.S. Army All-American Combine and he was rewarded for it with a few more offers. Wisconsin was the latest to offer him, joining Illinois, Iowa, Purdue, Northwestern, and Cincinnati on his offers list. Michigan State, Notre Dame, Missouri and others are also showing serious interest.
Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's senior tight end Dion Sims is getting closer and closer to a decision. The 6'5, 230-lber has narrowed his list down to Michigan State and Miami (Fla). Sims, who is also a talented basketball prospect, is looking at both of those schools for football first. He will take official visits to both of those schools.
Concord (Del.) High School four-star wide receiver Justin Brown dispelled any rumors that Penn State had taken their scholarship off the board this week when we talked to him and found out that the Nittany Lions are indeed his leader. The 6-foot-3.5, 215-pound wide receiver will still take an official visit to Iowa and Rutgers is still in the mix, however it looks like he will be Happy Valley bound on signing day right now.
Malcolm Bush, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end from Hackensack High School in New Jersey knows that he’s going to either Pittsburgh or North Carolina and an official visit to Chapel Hill is the only thing standing in the way of his decision. Right now he is favoring the Panthers, especially after the staff made an in-home visit with his father and the early prediction would be for him to end up at Pitt when all is said and done.
Eric Loper, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound cornerback from Timber Creek Regional High School in Erial, N.J., gave a verbal commitment to Villanova on his official visit this weekend and has been told that he should be ready to start from day one at the cornerback position next year.
Boston College commitments Dillon Quinn, Jonathan Coleman and Nick Klemm all spoke to Scout.com this week about the firing of Head Coach Jeff Jagodzinski and all three are still firm to the Eagles. One player that BC fans should be worried about however is Jim Noel, who is rumored to be looking around.
Finally, Mike Locksley has already started to use his Washington, D.C., roots in recruiting at New Mexico, reeling in wide receiver Jerrard Hunter this week after grabbing quarterback Emmanuel Yeager the week before.
One player that started to pick up interest late in the process is Tyler Arend of Paulding High School (Ohio). The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Arend has the physical size college coaches want and the desire to become better. Kent State saw enough of Arend to make an offer and extended a scholarship offer that he quickly accepted.
Indiana picked up a new verbal commitment in hometown product Aaron Price. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive lineman from Bloomington South HS was headed to Miami Ohio until a coaching change there allowed for the Hoosiers to take a new look and offer. Price accepted and will be staying home to play his college ball.
Roy Philon of Bryan Station High School (Lexington, KY) has seen interest rise the past month as Minnesota, Central Michigan, Louisville, Western Kentucky, Miami Ohio, Tennessee, Wake Forest and Oklahoma have been talking with the 6-foot-4, 270 pound lineman. Only Minnesota and Central Michigan have offered at this time but a visit to Louisville could change that.
Huber Heights Wayne High School (Ohio) has seen a flood of interest in several of their players in the past couple of weeks. Heading the way is cornerback Javon Marshall who has picked up a new offer from Vanderbilt and will visit on January 16th.
Running back Erique Geiger looks to be headed to Bowling Green and defensive lineman Anthony Pyle looks headed to Air Force.
Not being left behind are a couple of juniors and super sophomore Braxton Miller. According to Wayne head coach Jay Minton junior cornerback Terrence Talbott is leading the way as several programs are high on him as a pure cover corner. Brother Terry Talbott is also getting attention from several programs while Miller has drawn the interest of almost every program in the country.
***Matt Alkire,Allen Trieu and Dave Berk contributed to this report***