Recruit intrigue surrounds undecided players

Top players still undecided

Staff WriterJanuary 31, 2011 

With two days to go before national signing day, Anson County High in Wadesboro will be a center of attention in North Carolina for recruiting junkies.

Anson County is the home of Stephone Anthony, an outside linebacker who is the No. 2 player in the state in the Class of 2011 in North Carolina in The Charlotte Observer's rankings.

He visited North Carolina over the weekend and is considering Clemson, Virginia Tech and Florida in addition to the University of North Carolina.

"He runs well from sideline to sideline and does well in pass coverage," Anson County coach Luke Hyatt said. "He can do a lot on the football field and will have an opportunity to play early."

Hyatt said Friday that he expected Anthony to make a final decision on his choice either Sunday night or today and announce his commitment at the school on signing day Wednesday.

Here are some of the other storylines to watch this week as signing day approaches.

He's No. 1

In Rock Hill, S.C., South Pointe High defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will be the subject of regional and national attention this week and beyond.

Clowney, who is 6 feet 6 and 240 pounds, is ranked the No. 1 prospect in the nation by Scout.com, Rivals.com and ESPN.com. He might keep fans in suspense for another couple weeks. The subject of an ESPN The Magazine cover story this week, Clowney is expected to wait until Feb. 14, his birthday, to announce his decision.

Alabama and South Carolina are among his favorites.

Who's No. 1?

Jimbo Fisher is off to an impressive start at Florida State.

In his first season as head coach after the ouster of Bobby Bowden, he led Florida State to an ACC Atlantic Division title and a win over South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Now he has put together an outstanding recruiting class, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation by Scout.com as of Sunday morning. The coaching staffs at N.C. State, Wake Forest and Clemson will have to do an excellent job developing talent to compete for first place in the Atlantic Division if Florida State keeps recruiting this way.

Florida State's class includes Karlos Williams, a safety from Davenport, Fla., who is rated the No. 5 player overall in the nation by ESPN.com.

Other schools that have a shot at finishing with a No. 1 class include Alabama (No. 1 according to Rivals.com), Texas, Auburn and Alabama.

L.A. Confidential

Southern California's highly rated class under Lane Kiffin has recruiting fans buzzing.

The school is appealing severe NCAA sanctions that limit USC to 15 scholarships in each of the next three years. Yet USC as of Sunday morning had a class ranked No. 5 in the nation by Scout.com and Rivals.com.

How has Kiffin done it? The recruiting success in the Class of 2011 at USC and North Carolina (which has one of the ACC's top classes) shows that recruits in many cases aren't afraid to choose a school that's either been sanctioned or is awaiting possible penalties from the NCAA.

Eleventh-hour decisions

An already strong North Carolina class has the potential to add more muscle, as the Tar Heels have a shot at Anthony, five-star Richmond, Va., linebacker Curtis Grant and remain a darkhorse in the recruiting of South Pointe's Clowney.

Other local schools also are awaiting late decisions. Linebacker Cedrick Cooper of Lithonia, Ga., and wide receiver Jeremiah Handy of Bowie, Md., are among the players who have been considering N.C. State and have yet to announce commitments.

South Carolina is a major player for Clowney and also could land Cooper. Clemson is wrapping up a strong class (No. 18 according to Scout.com) and hoping to add Florida five-star linebacker Tony Steward, who's also considering Florida State and could add to Fisher's elite class.

The players Duke is waiting to hear from include two tight ends - Cameron Clear of Memphis, Tenn., and David Reeves of Greensboro, Ala.

ktysiac@charlotteobserver.com or 919-829-8942

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