TheInsiders.com's top rated overall prospect is running back/ linebacker Ernie Sims. Sims, from Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian High School, has played it close to the vest since day one. Sims nor his father have ever mentioned a favorite. The odds on favorite to land this talent has to be Florida State. His father and brother both played for Coach Bobby Bowden at FSU and his mom was a track All-American there. Sims has taken official visits to Georgia, Florida, Auburn and Miami. The Seminoles get the last crack. Georgia and Mark Richt get the last in-home visit tonight before he heads to Florida State. Then comes the Dead Period (no contact between coaches and prospects) on Sunday and his decision will come sometime on Wednesday. You could make a strong case as to why he could end up at Auburn, Florida, Miami or Georgia. But the strongest case can be made for the Seminoles. Is it a stone cold lock for the Seminoles? No. But they have got to be the favorite.
Speaking of the Seminoles, they will likely land Whitney Lewis, the nation's top wide receiver prospect. Lewis, from Ventura (Calif.) St, Bonaventure High School, visited Florida State this past weekend. There was much speculation that his mother preferred him to stay close to home and sign with Southern Cal. But she enjoyed the visit as well. Lewis, like Sims, will announce on Signing Day and it's a two-team race between the Seminoles and Trojans. Even with Southern Cal having the great season, both on and off the field, Bobby Bowden will be awfully tough to beat for Lewis.
Perhaps the best kept secret next to Ernie Sims's decision is what will Lamarr Woodley do? Woodley is a big-time defensive prospect from Saginaw, Mi. Woodley could play linebacker or defensive end but he is already at 250 or so pounds so the likely hood of him putting his hand down at the next level is pretty great. Woodley has it narrowed down to Michigan, Michigan State and Southern Cal and he has already visited all three schools. He will wait until Signing Day and Woodley is not saying much right now. I did get the feeling that before the coaching change in East Lansing that the Spartans would have been the team to beat because he felt so comfortable there. In comes John L. Smith from Louisville. He likes the new staff but he also likes Coach (Lloyd) Carr and Michigan and Woodley says the distance to Los Angeles and Southern Cal does not both him. This is too close to call.
Demetris Summers is not much of a secret. Summers, from Lexington, S.C., is the nation's top running back prospect and it is expected that he will sign with South Carolina and Lou Holtz. Summers has only taken two official visits (Clemson and South Carolina) and he will make his decision on Wednesday. Now anything can happen when it comes to recruiting because recruiting is so unpredictable. Summers said last night it is 60-40 in favor of the Gamecocks. Some insiders say the percentages favor the Gamecocks even more.
One thing is certain, quarterback JaMarcus Russell will pick between LSU and Florida State. Russell, from Mobile (Ala.) Williamson High School, will make his decision on Wednesday night. Russell took his official visit to FSU last weekend and he will be in Baton Rouge this weekend. LSU already has two quarterback commitments in Robert Lane and Matt Flynn. Lane is expected to be a high draft pick this June in the Major League Baseball Draft. Florida State does not have any quarterback commitments to date. You would think that would make FSU the favorite. Nobody knows what Russell is thinking or what he will do come decision time. Some recruits that were with Russell at Florida State this past weekend said he will be a Seminole. We'll see what he does in the end. This is another close call.
Michael Bush is one of the big time athletes in the nation. Bush, from Louisville (Ky.) Male High School, received votes for All-State at five different positions as a junior and seven as a senior. Quite simply, he is arguably the greatest prep player in Kentucky high school football history. Both Tim Couch and Paul Horning thought so. He is an All-American receiver that wants to play quarterback at the next level. That is the position he mainly played his senior year. Bush will announce on Signing Day between Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio State and Tennessee. Don't be surprised if he selects the hometown Cardinals. Their new Head Coach Bobby Petrino is bringing in a solid group of prospects and Bush would be icing on the cake. But you can't discount the other three schools. Last week, he and his family had a great visit to Kentucky. You can discount Ohio State, especially coming off the National Championship and you can never rule out Philip Fulmer and the Tennessee Volunteers.
Andre Caldwell is the most explosive receiver in the nation and he has it narrowed down to the "Big Three" in the Sunshine State. Caldwell, from Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson High School, has already taken official visits to Southern Cal, Florida, LSU and Miami. This weekend, his fifth visit goes to Florida State. Caldwell, like all the others mentioned above, will announce on Signing Day. The favorite to sign him right now are the Gators. He does have strong ties to the Florida program and Coach Ron Zook has the Gators cooking in recruiting right now. His older brother Reche, played for Steve Spurrier and is now with the San Diego Chargers. But Miami and Florida State are right there too and he could end up at anyone of the "Big Three."
Another Florida standout undecided is Antonio Cromartie from Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln High School. Cromartie is the USA Today Defensive Player of the Year. He is a sensational defensive back, wide receiver and kick returner. Cromartie has already taken official visits to Auburn, Michigan, Florida and Alabama. This weekend, he heads to Florida State for his fifth and final official visit. It will likely boil down to three schools for Cromartie – Florida State, Florida and Auburn with the Noles and Gators holding a big advantage for now. Cromartie, for weeks, has been going back and forth between the two Florida powers. Auburn, in the end, could be the compromise but you still have to favor FSU and Florida.
Ofa Mohetau is a powerful offensive line prospect from Euless (Texas) Trinity High School. He is the nation's top offensive guard prospect and he has it narrowed down to four schools – Texas, Arizona State, Miami and BYU. Mohetau says he is done taking visits and will sit down with his family and make a decision based on what's the best fit for him. Stay tuned as Mohetau could announce at anytime.
Another offensive line prospect that could announce his decision at any minute is Mike Jones from Oak Lawn (Ill.) Richards High School. Jones has taken official visits to Notre Dame, Iowa, Penn State, Tennessee and Miami. The word is Jones will decide between Notre Dame, Iowa and Tennessee very, very soon.