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November 22, 2012

Mid-Atlantic mailbag: Realignment ramifications


MAILBAGS: Southwest | Southeast

Red state

Will any recruits flip to Rutgers with the B1G move?
-- Patrick via Twitter

It's hard to say. Sometimes you can predict when a recruit will switch their commitment and other times they come out of nowhere.

Tashawn Bower has always seemed like he will probably switch to Rutgers from Auburn, especially with the coaching situation down there.

He has visited the campus multiple times, been there for a game or two and seems to really like it. Damon Mitchell, from Egg Harbor City (N.J.) Cedar Creek, is committed to Georgia Tech and has taken an official visit to Wisconsin and might take a visit to Rutgers as well.

The Scarlet Knights could also get uncommitted wide receiver Andre Patton. It's also rumored that outside linebacker Skai Moore, from Fort Lauderdale (Fl.) University School, and defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, from Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep, might make the trip to see Rutgers.

The move to the Big Ten will affect the upcoming classes more than the current one. The increased level of competition and the need for more linemen that are bigger and stronger will pay dividends on the recruiting front in the future.

Big Ten Terps

What are the effects of Maryland's move to the Big Ten on recruiting?
-- Charley from Upper Marlboro, Md.

The immediate reaction from recruits has been positive and it is very important for Randy Edsall to keep this class together and build off of the momentum from last year's recruiting class.

Maryland has been in second place for Na'Ty Rodgers but now, because of the move to the Big Ten, the Terps are tied with South Carolina at the top of his list. As Rodgers noted, the Big Ten has better competition than the ACC and that is more attractive to recruits because players want to play against the best players possible. In future recruiting classes, Maryland will see more interest from bigger, stronger linemen and, as the offensive line gets better, interest from running backs and quarterbacks will rise. With improved quarterback play, they will see more interest from top wide receivers.

Also, with the huge increase in funds they will get each year being in the Big Ten, the Terps will be able to recruit on national level. One of the reasons many people don't like the move is because Maryland might not be able to recruit the Southern states as well because the Terps will be playing all of their games in the North. Coach Edsall's response to that should be two words: Denard Robinson. The Michigan quarterback committed to the Wolverines over schools such as Florida and Georgia and has become a college football icon. Southern players that don't choose to go to an SEC school should jump at the chance to become a nationally known Heisman contender in one of the most popular conferences.

Quick stop?

How realistic is it to think Bill O'Brien will jump back to the NFL?
-- John from Pittsburgh

The great job Bill O'Brien is doing at Penn State cannot be overstated. To get to Happy Valley and get hit with one of the harshest penalties the NCAA has ever handed down, have players leave the team in droves and get seven wins with one game left in the season is simply remarkable.

Coach O'Brien's success has extended to world of recruiting as well. Before the sanctions were levied, the Nittany Lions had put together one of the top recruiting classes in the country. After the sanctions were announced, they were still able to keep many of their recruits on board.

Quarterback Christian Hackenberg and tight end Adam Breneman took it upon themselves to reach out to other Penn State commits and do their best to persuade the others to honor their commitment. In addition to Hackenberg and Breneman, both four-star members of the Rivals100, Penn State still holds commitments from four-star Rivals100 defensive end Garrett Sickels and four-star offensive lineman Brendan Mahon.

Coach O'Brien faced, arguably, more adversity than any coach ever has, including the pressure of following Joe Paterno. Can you blame him for wanting to look around after everything that has unfolded? Before this year, his resume had almost everything on it to be a desirable coach in the NFL. The only things missing were experience as a head coach and the ability to lead a team through tough times. He has proven more than capable in both categories.

If the NFL comes knocking, Penn State fans and players should be worried because he will more than likely be offered a job. The only unknown factors are how committed O'Brien is to Penn State and whether that will keep him from leaving.

Realingnment madness

How will all of this realignment affect Notre Dame?
-- Sam from Philadelphia

Notre Dame is a juggernaut when it comes to recruiting, regardless of the realignment. As long as the Irish are playing this well, it is doubtful any of their recruits will de-commit because of the moves Maryland and Rutgers have made.

It probably won't affect the Fighting Irish too much in the future as long as they're playing well. If they continue their current success, there aren't many recruits that won't at least consider playing in South Bend.

For Notre Dame, it doesn't matter much that Maryland and Rutgers will be recruiting more in Big Ten areas for two reasons. Notre Dame has always been able to recruit nationally and, with Notre Dame's new association with the ACC, the Fighting Irish will be recruiting more in Virginia and the Northeast, the bread and butter areas for Maryland and Rutgers.



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