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January 3, 2004

A glimpse into the recruiting crystal ball

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - In the recruiting business many people want analysts to make predictions on which schools players will end up at.

However, that's something that staff at Rivals100.com tries to shy away from unless there is personal one-on-one contact with recruits events like this week's U.S. Army All-American Game for example.

After spending a lot of time with many of the top prospects, here's Rivals100.com editor Jeremy Crabtree's glimpse into the crystal ball and his best guess on who's going where.


There will be several recruits that will actually go ahead and announce their decisions today during the game at the Alamodome, which is scheduled for a noon kickoff and will be televised by NBC.

Big name recruits like Adrian Peterson, Ted Ginn and Jeff Schweiger top the list, and after spending a lot of time with each of them, it's became very clear which school each one of them is expected to pick today.

Let's start with Peterson, the nation's top player and top running back. When he steps in front of the television camera today, expect him to officially announce that he's going to Oklahoma.

Peterson has known for a week or so that Oklahoma is going to be his final destination, but he's kept it under wraps and will officially let the world know that he's taking his game to Norman today. Other teams, like Miami and USC, gave him something to serious think about, but a relationship with coach Bob Stoops was the key thing that let him to pick Oklahoma.

Ginn, a star cornerback and the nation's No. 2 player, will be heading to Ohio State, in fact there are reports of that already circulating, But if you hung out with him this week at practice like we did, then it was easily seen that he was going to be a Buckeye.

The other five-star recruit that is set to announce his decision is Schweiger, the stud defensive end from California. While this was a tough battle between USC and Oklahoma, after talking quite a bit with Schweiger and his glowing comments about the defensive coaches at USC, expect him to announce for the Trojans when he commits today.

What about some of the other names that are going to announce on Saturday? Ok, ok, let's not forget about them.

Talk throughout the camp is that Otis McDaniel, the standout receiver from San Antonio, Texas, is going to announce for TCU and standout two-way lineman Alan Branch from Albuquerque, N.M., is set to commit to Michigan today. There is also little doubt that Birmingham, Ala., defensive back Simeon Castille will commit to Alabama during the game today.

Now what about the guys that aren't going to announce today?

Let's start at the top with linebacker Keith Rivers, the standout from Lake Mary, Fla., Ranked as the nation's No. 3 player, Rivers wore No. 55 at camp this week and will wear the jersey number in today's game. That alone is a big hint as to where he's going to end up, but Rivers promised Florida he would at least visit there before he commits to USC. Expect a decision some time officially after January 12. But count on him being a Trojan.

The nation's No. 4 player, Early Doucet, had narrowed his list to LSU and Miami about a month ago, and it's clear that it's still LSU's race to lose. Even though Miami is a strong pull for Doucet, he talked openly in practice and in the team hotel this week about staying home and playing for the Tigers. If he ends up committing to LSU as expected, expect others like Marlon Favorite, who Early has befriended during the week, to also end up in Baton Rouge.

DeMario Pressley gets the vote as the coolest kid to hang around with this week. How many defensive tackles do you know that can do the splits and even offer to do them again in dress clothes in the team hotel?

Not many, and it's going to be interesting to see where Pressley is going to end up at. He admits openly that he loves the two in-state schools recruiting him and there is a lot of pressure on him to go there. He even talks about the opportunity to play defensive end at Oklahoma State and how that's something that interest him quite a bit.

But with guys like Aaron Jones - which we'd be shocked if he ends up anywhere but FSU - talking to him all the time about how great things are in Tallahassee, this could end up being another player like Nick Maddox that leaves Carolina and heads to the Sunshine State.

Willie Williams, the stud linebacker that was the star of camp here this week is literally torn. After doing a Rivals100 chat with him this week, it's clear that his heart and his head are going two different directions. His heart has been telling him that he should stay at home and play with Miami. But his head is telling him that with a sister at Florida State and her saying all sorts of good things about Tallahassee that it would be a great fit for him. If it's anybody other than those two, it would be a huge shocker.

This one is going back and forth between Miami and FSU every day and it might not be until signing day when he really knows.

Xavier Lee was amazing through practices this week and he was also seen throughout the week wearing a Florida State hat. That has to be a great sign for the Noles, who have been in the driver's seat in this battle for quite some time. That hasn't changed and Lee ends up anywhere but FSU, it would be a major surprise.

That's the same story with Tony Carter. He really looks to be FSU bound from hanging out with everybody this week.

Believe it or not, Franklin Okam, the standout defensive tackle from Texas, is more open than many people think. It's just automatically assumed that he's going to end up at Texas because he visited there first and liked it quite a bit. He did get great recruiting pitches from Longhorn commitment Cedric Dockery here throughout the week, but Franklin is a guy that is going to think things over long and hard.

The more he thinks about it and the further he gets away from that Texas visit, the more it might mean good news for Florida and Oklahoma. In the end, this will be - again - another Red River war for his commitment. And at this point, it's gone from probably a slam dunk for Texas to a real struggle for both sides to land his commitment.

Hanging out with receiver Cameron Colvin it's clear that if Michigan was right down the street, then that's where he would have committed to months ago. But Michigan is a long way from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle and that might be something he thinks long and hard about when it comes down to a decision. Still, though, Michigan is a good bet to as where he ends up, yet that can all change after some January official visits.

If Fred Davis is anything other than a Buckeye it would be a super surprise. After talking with his high school coach this week, there is little doubt as to where he wants him to go, and with Ginn committing and Raymond Williams also talking about OSU quite a bit this week with Davis listening, it just makes sense to also call him a Buckeye.

From talking to the players at the camp, the general train of thought on tight end Zach Miller is that he's heading to Miami. Miller was very quiet throughout the week and just went about doing things 100 percent on the practice field. He's one of my favorites for that reason, and if the kids think he's going to Miami, then there must be something there to make them think that.

Marcus Walker of Waco, Texas, has made up his mind and has made his decision. It was down to Florida State and to Oklahoma. Look for him to be wearing Crimson and Cream in college.

The general feeling from people around Brian Brohm this week is that he's still Louisville's to lose. At least that's what the story is if you ask the other East quarterbacks. The other two both said they had little doubt that's where he's going, but Tennessee fans will like the fact that defensive tackle Demonte Bolden did keep openly mention the Vols any time that Brohm was within listening range.

Offensive lineman Aaron Klovas has said he's down to Washington State and to Oregon. That's going to be a tough pick for him, but with him Washington State as his top team for a while now, it might be tough for the Cougars to not end up with his commitment.

On the offensive line, one has to get a really good feeling that Drew Miller is heading to Florida after everything gathered in this week. Miami is pushing hard and so is FSU, but there was just a feeling from talking to Miller and his family that the Gators are going to be very tough to beat.

Many assumed that it was going to impossible to knock of USC to land the commitment from Dwayne Jarrett. However, there is one team that is going to do just that. From talking to a few of the players this week that have hung out with Jarrett, they all seem to think that he's now leaning toward Virginia.

He did admit that he wants to take maybe one more visit and then allow coaches to come back into his home one more time in a few weeks, but if he were to pick today the people around him believe it would be UVA.


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