Tracking The Five-Stars
Matt Barkley
Matt Barkley
Asst. Regional Manager
Posted Sep 2, 2009

Kick-off for the 2009 season has arrived with college teams across the country possibly benefitting from the five-star rated high school players from the class of 2009. How did they show up at their respective college campus? Did they show up at all or taking another route for a year or two? Who came in ready to compete for a starting role? has tracked all the information... went straight to our college site publishers and writers who blanket their school's coverage. Read on for the latest news of these five-star athletes.

1) QB Matt Barkley
2) S T.J. McDonald
5) DE Devon Kennard

Kevin Carden,
"USC freshman Matt Barkley has lived up to all the hype since arriving on campus, and will be the first true freshman quarterback in school history to start the season opener for the Trojans."

Matt Barkley
"Barkley has a strong arm, great leadership skills and Pete Carroll said he is the most advanced first-year quarterback that he has coached at USC."

"The freshman signal caller overtook Aaron Corp for the starting spot after Corp was sidelined for much of the fall with a cracked fibula."

"Barkley will have some growing pains along the way, as all first-year quarterbacks do, but after watching him this spring and fall, I feel confident in saying that he is a future star."

"Barkley could be the next great quarterback at USC if he continues to develop like he has to this point."

"The Trojans brought in the best secondary class in the country with T.J. McDonald, Byron Moore, Patrick Hall, Torin Harris and Jawanza Starling."

"McDonald had a quick start to fall camp, but has been sidelined with an ankle injury. From what we have seen from McDonald, he will have a good opportunity to make an impact for the Trojans in 2010 with the departures of Taylor Mays, Josh Pinkard and Will Harris."

Devon Kennard
"The 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety is a natural leader and should contribute early in his career at USC."

"Devon Kennard suffered a serious ACL injury in his senior season in high school, but after a lot of hard work he showed up at USC ready to go. Kennard has shown good burst off the ball and has been productive this fall."

"It is easy to see why the young defensive player was so highly touted coming out of high school. He has all the tools needed to be a difference maker off the edge, but he has some talented players ahead of him and probably won’t see much action in ’09."

"Pete Carroll said that Kennard will get playing time in the season opener against San Jose State."


Bryce Brown
1) RB Bryce Brown

James Bryant,
"Bryce Brown returned to the practice field last Wednesday after not participating in Tuesday's practice due to a hip problem and the NCAA investigation hanging over his head."

"Tennessee received word Wednesday that Brown had been cleared and no time will be missed. This is great news for the Volunteers. Brown, a five star, is currently pushing for the No. 2 spot at tailback behind senior Montario Hardesty. Brown will definitely play this fall somewhere in the lineup, and could become the starter before the season's end.


Russell Shepard
1) WR Rueben Randle
1) S Craig Loston
2) QB Russell Shepard
3) RB Michael Ford
7) DT Chris Davenport

Sonny Shipp,
"The big news coming out of LSU was Craig Loston finally took the practice for the Tigers Monday, August 24. The nation’s top ranked safety had been working on meeting the NCAA Clearinghouse requirements and now the chore for the standout defender will be making up for lost time since he missed all of fall camp."

"Loston’s cousin – Russell Shepard – didn’t miss any of camp and while Loston has to play catch up before he can get on the field, Shepard will definitely make an impact for the Tigers, barring injury. Don’t be surprised to see the former five-star signal caller line up at quarterback, running back and receiver during the 2009 campaign."

"When Shepard is at quarterback one of his targets will likely be Rueben Randle as the true freshman from Bastrop, La. has lived up to the hype that comes with being the country’s No. 2 ranked receiver coming out of high school. Randle is way ahead of the curve and will battle for playing time in LSU’s three-wide sets."

Rueben Randle
"It’s common for five-star recruits to see the field early during their true freshman campaign and when you factor in LSU’s lack of experienced depth on the defensive front, odds are that Chris Davenport will see the field in ’09."

"Depth may be a concern at defensive tackle, but the same cannot be said at running back where Michael Ford finds himself behind several veterans – Charles Scott, Keiland Williams, Richard Murphy, Trindon Holliday and Stevan Ridley."

"Ford is talented enough to play early, but with only one ball to go around chances are he will redshirt unless the staff feels they won’t be able to keep him for five years anyway.


Morrell Presley
1) TE Morrell Presley

Tracy Pierson,
"Morrell Presley, the No. 1-ranked tight end in the country by for 2009, is slated to play as a true freshman for UCLA."

"He's sat out practice for a couple of days with a quad injury, but it's not expected to be serious."

"Presley came into UCLA in the spring, and in both spring and fall practice has shown flashes of brilliance. He also has shown some transition pains, particularly in holding onto the ball."

"At 6-4 and 220, and fairly lean, he looks more like a wide receiver than a tight end, but UCLA Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow will probably use him as a hybrid, trying to utilize his height and speed to create mis-matches."


Xavier Nixon
1) OT Xavier Nixon
1) WLB Jelani Jenkins
2) DT Gary Brown
3) WR Andre Debose

Bob Redman,
"Xavier Nixon has been the star of a really talented offensive line class of five guys. Nixon played high school ball at 265 pounds and started fall drills at 305. Normally you would think that wasn't a good thing, but he came in chiseled and worked his body to that weight through muscle."

"Early indications are he will be one of the two linemen who will not redshirt in 2009, and Urban Meyer continually talks about his maturity and physical ability as things setting him apart from the others. Nixon may be the most prepared lineman to come to Florida in a long, long time."

"Jelani Jenkins is up to around 220 pounds now and was doing great as he learns the system at Florida. Jenkins was destined for a lot of playing time on special teams, but on Wednesday was seen on campus on crutches."

"We will await the word on any injury [minor injury and wearing a boot last week], but if healthy he will play early on special teams and work himself into a rotation at linebacker. Jenkins has all the tools the Gators are looking for with elite linebacker speed and a hitters mentality."

Andre Debose
"Gary Brown showed up at 305, and it wasn't good weight. He is busy retooling his body and getting it into playing mode, but the staff really likes what they see out of him. He's big and nasty, but the added weight has kept his stamina and his motor down. I think he can work into some playing time this year, but not counting on it at this point."

"Andre Debose showed up at Florida in June and was hindered by a hamstring that still has him limping around at times. He was healed enough in the first two days of camp for everyone to see a little bit of what he can do, and he showed that he is a difference maker running around against one of the best defenses in America. He should play this year, but it will all be tapered back because of the hamstring."

Notre Dame

Manti Te'o
1) OG Chris Watt
1) SLB Manti Te'o

Tim O'Malley,
"Manti Te'o, the former Punahou School star joined his Irish teammates during the University's summer session for informal workouts in late June, and, according to Irish head coach Charlie Weis in an August 24 press conference, will begin his Irish career as the team's weak side linebacker in a base 4-3 defense."

"What won't be known until Tuesday, September 1 is if Te'o has played well enough to earn a starting role at WILL, a development that would shift junior LB Brian Smith to the middle, a position he played extensively in 2008."

"The battle isn't between Te'o and Brian Smith as much as Te'o and senior middle linebacker Toryan Smith, as the Irish coach staff plans to put its best three linebackers on the field in the season-opener against Nevada. If Te'o does not start it is speculated he will serve as the team's second nickel LB (also playing alongside Brian Smith)."

"Te'o has received nothing but rave reviews from the Irish coach staff, not only from Weis, but defensive coordinator and linebackers coach John Tenuta: "He's a football player first and foremost. And he's a lot more mature than a lot of guys that come out at 17, 18 years old."

"Whether he starts in the base set; starts in the nickel; or begins his career as a situational player in the season-opener, expect Te'o to rank third among the team's linebackers in total playing time at season's end."

Chris Watt
"Chris Watt and his fellow 2009 offensive line recruits, Zach Martin and Alex Bullard, were singled out by head coach Charlie Weis during the team's freshmen media day.

“Actually, surprisingly, we’re happy with all three ofthem," said Weis of his freshman contributors through two weeks of camp. "In some other (previous) years I think they might be playing in the two-deep right now. Fortunately we can wait a little while, but they’re the type of guys that we will wait a little bit to see if we need them or not (versus a possible redshirt), but we’ve been happy with all three of them," Weis concluded.

"Watt was listed as the third-string right guard behind sophomore Trevor Robinson and junior Andrew Nuss," O'Malley said. "Robinson's role is set in stone for three seasons while Nuss was recently singled out by Weis as the team's top reserve guard."

"Barring injury, it's unlikely that Watt (or any of the freshmen OL) will receive playing time in 2009 as a second reserve guard, sophomore Braxston Cave, graded as the team's strongest player and has been lauded for his mobility and improvement since his freshman season."

Florida State
1) DT Jacobbi McDaniel

Nathan Greer,
"Jacobbi McDaniel arrived at Florida State a little out of shape and heavier than the coaches wanted. He reported over 300 pounds, with some of it not being the healthy weight that McDaniel was hoping for. As soon as he got going, though, that changed rather quickly."

Jacobbi McDaniel
"McDaniel slimmed down to 285, and since then he has looked fantastic and has lived up to the 5-star status he had coming in. Jacobbi has been simply unstoppable against an offensive line that is widely considered to be one of the best in the ACC this year. He has shown amazing strength and speed for a freshman defensive tackle, and his ability to gain leverage and man-handle linemen have been the talk of camp."

"McDaniel was going to be apart of the rotation this fall, but the knee injury to Justin Mincey means Jacobbi will get more time. With his showing in camp and practices McDaniel is on the two-deep for FSU, and there is a chance we’ll see him as a starter some time this year."

North Carolina
1) DE Donte Moss

Ben Sherman & Greg Barnes,
"Donte Moss - now going by Donte Moss-Paige - has progressed as expected thus far in his first three weeks in Chapel Hill. He's got a lot to learn, but the elite level of talent has been evident.

Donte Moss-Paige
“He’s very impressive," sophomore Quinton Coples said of his fellow defensive end. "He’s extremely talented. He’s going to break out this year. He’s going to be a big part of our defensive line this year. He’s got a lot of things that he’s good at, but he’s still trying to learn the system and learn techniques, but other than that, he’s a heck of a player.”

"Defensive line coach John Blake uses a deep in-game rotation for his unit, so the plan is for Moss-Paige to see snaps this year from his end position."

"He is currently practicing with the third team, so he's not technically on the two-deep, but that speaks to UNC's depth at the position. He'll get snaps - that's been Blake's M.O. regarding the defensive ends he's brought into Chapel Hill."

"Moss-Paige has been under the radar during training camp, and that's likely by design, considering the headline he did make at the outset of camp once the media got hold of a court date. He faced a misdemeanor charge of simple assault for a summer incident with a teammate, but the charge was dismissed and Butch Davis said the matter was handled internally.

Arizona State
1) MLB Vontaze Burfict
8) DT Corey Adams

Hod Rabino, :

Vontaze Burfict
"When you look at high school game film of Vontaze Burfict, he looks like a man amongst boys. So far in fall practice the linebacker is proving to be a force to be reckoned with at the college level too. At 6-3, 245 Burfict posses not only sure tackling and punishing hits, but also exceptional speed of a player at this position and a great football sense which allows him to read offenses and anticipate plays."

"He's a no brainer in terms of not redshirting this year, and what else would you expect from a player who Coach Dennis Erickson, who won two national championships at the University of Miami, compares to future NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis."

"Once Burfict is academically cleared by the NCAA there's no question he will elevate the level of play of the Arizona State defense a few notches, and this was a solid group to begin with."

"While Corey Adams isn't having the same impact as other true freshmen at Arizona State he won't redshirt just because of his potential. He started on the 3rd team, and now is running 2nd team. He's skillful and one of the most physical linemen on the team, but needs to work on his consistency and intensity on every down."


Ronnell Lewis
1) CB Gabe Lynn
2) SLB Ronnell Lewis
3) DT Jamarkus McFarland

Greg Powers,
"Ronnell Lewis enrolled at OU in January to get a jump-starton his development and his career. After a solid spring there was some talk that he would make the move down to defensive end, but an injury to back-up MLB Tom Wort and the decertification of Mike Balogun has forced him to make a move to provide some depth in the middle. It is not yet clear how many snaps he will see in ’09, but with special teams play and game snaps he should get a good amount of game experience."

Jamarkus McFarland
"Jamarkus McFarland looks like he is in great shape, and it has not been set in stone whether or not he will work his way on to the depth chart at DT, but judging his skill level he has a serious shot of maybe surpassing a player or two that came in to the fall ahead of him on the depth chart and get in to the rotation. Judging from little we have seen in practice we think he could be special."

"Gabe Lynn is certainly a good player, but he entered in to a situation at OU where Dominique Franks and Brian Jackson are already established as two of the best cornerbacks in the college game. When healthy he has been getting in some work at corner and on special teams. Coach Stoops confirmed on Tuesday that Lynn will likely see action this year."

2) RB Trent Richardson
2) MLB Nico Johnson

Trent Richardson
5) CB Dre Kirkpatrick

Kirk McNair,
"Trent Richardson seems certain to be in the playing rotation at tailback for Alabama, and perhaps high up on the depth chart. Most have expected Mark Ingram as the starter with Roy Upchurch and Richardson battling for the back-up job."

"Circumstances could favor Richardson with Ingram’s status at least muddied by the report of him and Julio Jones having gone on a summer fishing trip that is being construed as possibly an extra benefit."

"Upchurch, who had injuries that affected his 2008 season, missed some work in fall camp with a pulled groin muscle. On the other hand, Richardson may be battling Terry Grant for playing time."

"Grant, Bama’s leading rusher as a freshman in 2007, had little playing time with the offense last year, but has had a good fall camp."

Dre Kirkpatrick
"It is obvious by the attention that Alabama Coach Nick Saban gives to Dre Kirkpatrick in practice that the Crimson Tide coach has high hopes for Kirkpatrick at cornerback."

"Saban is the position coach for cornerbacks in Bama practices. Unfortunately, Kirkpatrick has missed several fall practices due to injury or personal reasons (death in the family)."

"Tide quarterback Greg McElroy was asked to assess his teammates and said that he wouldn’t say anything about the offensive players, but wanted to mention Dre Kirkpatrick for the good job he was doing in the secondary."

"Alabama wide receivers and Bama defensive backs have also been complimentary of Kirkpatrick’s work. There are returning starters in Kareem Jackson and Javier Arenas at both cornerback spots. As the season begins, it does not appear that Kirkpatrick will be high on the depth chart."

Nico Johnson
"Alabama had all of its linebackers from 2008 returning, but when 'Jack' linebacker Brandon Fanney was dismissed from the team there was a scramble in the early part of fall work to get all the linebacker candidates involved at various positions."

"Freshman Nico Johnson would not likely have been considered at 'Jack' (which primarily is a hybrid linebacker-defensive end pass rusher) and in drills seems to have settled at an inside spot."

"That’s a tough place to break into the lineup with All-America Rolando McClain a two-year starter at middle linebacker, and Dont'a Hightower a starter last year as a freshman at weakside linebacker."

"Johnson is definitely expected to play, however. Coach Nick Saban mentioned the need for linebackers to be a part of special teams play."


Orson Charles
2) WR Marlon Brown
2) CB Branden Smith
3) QB Aaron Murray
3) TE Orson Charles

Dean Legge,
"Most all of Georgia's five-star players will be used in the 2009 season - the question is just how much each of them will be used."

"Orson Charles will likely have the biggest impact on Georgia's season. Expect to see the Tampa native move between tight end, which is his position, and split out wide. Charles is too good to keep of the field, and provides a real matchup problem for opposing defenses."

"Branden Smith will play plenty at cornerback, and seems to be in line to be the Dawgs' nickleback. It seems Smith will have an impact as a return man, too. It shouldn't surprise people to see him on offense - every now and then."

Branden Smith
"Memphis' Marlon Brown will be used by the Dawgs' as well. Brown is being thrown into a six-receiver rotation in Athens that includes two true freshmen."

"The one question mark for the fall of 2009 is if Aaron Murray will play at quarterback this fall. Fifth-year senior Joe Cox is the starter at quarterback, and will get nearly all of the snaps at that spot. Cox's backup, Logan Gray, will also play in the fall. So that leaves little time for Murray to get into the game. That doesn't mean he won't play, but it seems likely he will redshirt this season."

Virginia Tech
2) TE Logan Thomas

Logan Thomas is expected to make the travel roster to Atlanta this weekend when the Hokies take on the Crimson Tide in the season opener in the Georgia Dome. He is slotted as the back-up quarterback behind Tyrod Taylor and Ju-Ju Clayton. Thomas is expected to take a redshirt for the 2009 season.

Penn State
2) OT Eric Shrive

Mark Brennan,
"Eric Shrive has been pretty much as advertised; that is to say big (6-foot-6, 298), strong and aggressive. But like most true freshmen offensive linemen, his technique needs work, particularly his footwork."

Eric Shrive
"As things shape up now, Shrive will redshirt, allowing him to get even stronger while working on that technique. He has spent most of the preseason on the third team, alternating (with fellow freshmen Adam Gress and Nate Cadogan) between left and right tackle."

"The only way I could see Shrive coming out of a redshirt is if one of the starting tackles -- preseason All-Big Ten pick Dennis Landolt or promising sophomore DeOn'tae Pannell -- is injured."

"There are two other senior tackles on Penn State's depth chart -- former jucos Nerraw McCormack and Ako Poti -- so as things stand, there is no sense burning Shrive's redshirt. But with Landolt, McCormack and Poti all in their final seasons of eligibility, Shrive should be in the mix for a starting job next spring."


Alex Okafor
2) DE Alex Okafor
3) OT Mason Walters
4) WR Greg Timmons
5) QB Garrett Gilbert

Bobby Bragg,
"Alex Okafor and Mason Walters both joined the club for the spring semester, and both are slated to play this season."

"Okafor drew rave reviews from the coaching staff and fellow players from the first day he got on campus in the weightroom, and the accolades have not stopped. He is the second team buck defensive end behind All-American candidate Sergio Kindle. Given the multiple fronts and looks defensive coordinator Will Muschamp plans on running, Okafor will get plenty of opportunities this season."

"Walters has spent the last eight months learning the right guard position after playing center and tackle in high school. Walters is the second interior lineman off the bench this season. The Longhorns are letting him get acclimated to the speed of the college game this year at guard, but intend to move him out to tackle this spring. He has a very good shot to be a starter in 2010."

Garrett Gilbert
"After joining his freshmen teammates on campus in June, Garrett Gilbert has overtaken junior Sherrod Harris as the #2 quarterback on the roster. Harris was limited in the summer after a knee surgery, pulled an oblique in August camp, and Gilbert took over the back-up spot. Obviously, he will get snaps this year and looks to be in position to take over the starting role in 2010 after McCoy graduates."

"Greg Timmons has played very well in August camp, but is behind three returning wide receiver starters and former five-star quarterback John Chiles, who moved out to wide receiver in the spring. Timmons will very likely redshirt this season."

Ohio State

Dorian Bell
2) WLB Dorian Bell
3) DE Melvin Fellows
5) DT Johnny Simon

Adam Jardy,
"Of the three five-star freshman at Ohio State, two appear poised for playing time when the season kicks off Sept. 5 against Navy. Both John Simon and Dorian Bell have shown that they have the ability to play at the collegiate level and already look the part of impact players."

"The path to playing time will be easier for Bell, who figures to start out on special teams while rotating in at linebacker. The Buckeyes have a number of players vying to replace James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, and Bell's work ethic have him knocking on the door for playing time here. Although his goal is to be starting when USC comes to town in week two, it might take an injury for him to have any extended playing time early."

"Closer to the line of scrimmage, Simon has all the physical tools to be a dominant defensive tackle for OSU. He has teamed with redshirt freshman Garrett Goebel to spend time as the second-team tackles, but Simon might run into the same problem that kept Goebel on the sidelines last season: numbers."

Johnny Simon
"The Buckeyes have a number of talented, experienced players who will receive plenty of reps this season, potentially leaving even a player as talented and with as much upside as Simon on the outside looking in."

"Unfortunately for Fellows, he looks like a good case for a redshirt this season as he continues to recover from offseason surgery. He has not taken a single rep in scrimmage situations in any practices that have been open to the media, and OSU's depth on the line means that finding Fellows playing time this season is far from a priority."

"If the coaches decide that he could be a three-and-done player regardless of whether or not he redshirts this season, he could see action as he recovers from injury -- as long as he learns his assignments well enough after essentially missing fall camp."

3) MLB Shayne Skov

Jim Rutter,
"Stanford freshman Shayne Skov, rated by the Scout Network with five-stars and labeled the #3 middle linebacker in the country in the Class of 2009, arrived in Palo Alto this summer in terrific shape, looking every bit the college- if not NFL-ready linebacker at 6-3, 237."

Shayne Skov
"He began taking classes in June and trained hard during pre-camp workouts, hitting the ground running when practice began in August. Skov raised some eyebrows in camp by blowing past the Cardinal's veteran linebackers in the 225-pound bench press rep competition."

"Barring injury, there is no plan for #11 to redshirt as he is, clearly, physically ready, willing and able to play. He is rocketing up the learning curve, has been getting starter-style reps in scrimmages and is being coached up at all three linebacker positions, a clear intention by the Cardinal defensive staff to have him active in the rotation in '09."

"Stanford has the luxury of having senior honors candidate Clinton Synder as the starter at the "Mike" position, but young Skov has already turned heads with his aggressive and passionate play and will likely be an impact player in his first season."

South Carolina

Stephon Gilmore
3) S Stephon Gilmore

Jonathan Jolley,
"Stephon Gilmore enrolled at South Carolina in January and benefited greatly from going through spring practice, The 6-1, 190 pound freshman, who is one of the best pure athletes on the Gamecocks team, has locked down a starting cornerback position, and he has impressed his coaches and teammates with how quickly he has adjusted to the major college level."

"Gilmore also has a specialized package on offense where he will play quarterback in USC's version of the "Wild Hog." Displaying his versatility, the talented newcomer is Carolina's backup punt returner as well."

3) CB J.T. Turner
6) DT William Campbell

Tom Beaver,
"Justin Turner's arrival into Ann Arbor was delayed by some temporary Clearinghouse issues. Those were cleared up, but in the meantime he missed over a week of fall camp two-a-days. This has set him back some, but he is still in the two-deep at cornerback and will see the field this fall."

J.T. Turner
"Will the tall, 6-2 corner start for the Wolverines in 2009? Barring injury to Donovan Warren and Boubacar Cissoko ... no. He will see action though. As far as the future goes, U-M would like to keep him at cornerbck where there'll be an lineup-opening next year, but he could move to safety if needed as well. Whichever position he ends up at, he'll be a three-year starter."

"Big Will enrolled in January and went through spring ball. However, his first year is liable to be a learning one - like Turner, Big Will will be a three-year starter for the Wolverines, but is not likely to be a major factor in 2009."

"In Will's case, like most-all Detroit PSL players he simply has a lot to learn and a lot of physical development to go through. In Will's case, the biggest thing is: staying low. As folks who watched his high school career know, he likes to stand up during the play, Godzilla style - but that won't work in college. Some observers aren't convinced that the D-line is the best spot for Will and that he could see the field sooner at OT, but Will can play DT - and so he will."

4) QB Tajh Boyd

Tajh Boyd

Roy Philpott,
"Boyd has positioned himself for a run at the starting quarterback position at Clemson in 2010, but because he's coming off of ACL surgery in February the coaching staff elected to red-shirt him this year. Still, he is currently planning to travel with the team for all road games and will not be on the scout team this fall, meaning he could see action if Clemson's offense needs help in the passing game."

"He's the most talented quarterback on campus right now, but the injury he suffered during his senior year will likely keep him out of action as a true freshman in the ACC."

Texas A&M
4) RB Christine Michael

Christine Michael

David Sandhop,
"Christine Michael had a solid August camp and has lived up to expectations so far in College Station. The five star prospect from Beaumont West Brook has battled sophomore Cyrus Gray for the starting position throughout camp, and it appears the two will split duties in week one of the season against New Mexico."
"Coming out of high school, there were concerns about ball security, but Michael has had very little problem holding on to the football in August. Mike Sherman and ther coaching staff are very pleased with his progress. He'll contribute immediately and could eventually win the starting nod at some point in 2009."

4) DT Sheldon Richardson

Our last report from Sheldon Richardson has him taking a redshirt season in 2009 at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif. where he plans to focus on his grades. Time will tell if he returns to Missouri in the spring of 2011 where he will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

4) DE Nick Kasa

Nick Kasa

Kyle Ringo,
"Nick Kasa was looking like a sure bet for significant playing time on the defensive line at Colorado this fall until he suffered a torn MCL in his left knee during two-on-two pass rushing drills."

"A teammate rolled into his leg and now Kasa could be ticketed for a redshirt season. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks and surgery hasn't been ruled out. If he does return and play this season, it likely won't happen until early October."


Darius Winston
4) CB Darius Winston

Dudley Dawson,
"Darius Winston is currently working at the second- team field corner where a season-ending injury to junior starter Isaac Madison occurred."

"He and fellow freshman David Gordon are battling behind first-teamer Greg Gatson. Both have good ball skills, but lack physical strength. Both are expected to play.

West Virginia

Tavon Austin
5) RB Tavon Austin

Kevin Kinder,
"Tavon Austin made an impact in West Virginia's voluntary summer workouts, snaring passes and impressing veterans with his cat-quick moves. During fall camp, he has continued to impress, proving very difficult to cover on pass routes run out of the slot position, where he will begin his college career."

"West Virginia uses players such as Austin at both slot and occasionally in the backfield, and as he grows more comfortable in the offense his role will surely increase, although he has Noel Devine and Jock Sanders in front of him at the two positions. He will also run back kicks for the Mountaineers, and that could be where his earliest impact will be felt in 2009."

Ole Miss
5) WR Pat Patterson
Chuck Rounsaville,

Pat Patterson
"The Ole Miss Rebels are extremely deep at the wide receiver positions, but the impressive freshman Patrick Patterson, a 6-3, 215-pounder, has already worked his way into the rotation, which will consist of the top six or seven wideouts."

"Patterson is still learning the finite skills of playing wide receiver on the collegiate level - reading defenses, adjusting his routes accordingly and getting off press coverage - but he has one component in his arsenal that cannot be coached."

"Patterson has outstanding body control and is able to go up in a crowd and come down with the ball. QB Jevan Snead is already comfortable throwing to the rangy freshman in tight situations and as Patterson's knowledge grows, so will his role in the Rebel offense."

Discuss on's national recruiting board [click here].

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