- RECRUITING - Lemming: Staking a claim to the top 10

Wednesday, February 7
Lemming: Staking a claim to the top 10

As we near Feb. 2 -- the first day football recruits in the class of 2000 can sign a letter-of-intent for their chosen college -- the last of the uncommitted top-ranked prospects are starting to announce their intentions, and the list of top-10 classes is finally starting to emerge.'s recruiting analyst, Tom Lemming, chatted with users on Thursday, Jan. 27, to update them on the latest from the recruiting scene. He closed the chat by revealing his current rankings of the top 10 recruiting classes. Here's an edited transcript:

Tom Lemming: Signing Day is only six days away, and it looks like the top five classes will be dominated by Southern teams.

Now, on to your questions...

Swanny: What's the latest on Lynn McGruder?

Tom Lemming:
Tennessee, Wisconsin, Texas A&M and possibly Texas are still in the hunt.

Tom Lemming is editor of Prep Football Report. For information on how to subscribe to Prep Football Report's magazine, newsletters and website, log on to For year-round recruiting updates, call Tom Lemming's Prep Football Hotline at 900-860-9888. Calls are $1.79 per minute, and callers must be 18 years old or have parents' permission.

Rishi: Greg Jones is now down to FSU and OSU -- will he still go to FSU?

Tom Lemming:
At this stage, FSU leads for his signature.

Rishi: Any thoughts on Carlos Perez? Lately the talk has been PSU.

Tom Lemming:
No, I think he'll choose Florida over Ohio State.

Trojanmikey: How about your best guess on some West Coast standouts, namely Marcus Houston, Amon Gordon, Teyo Johnson, Travis Johnson, Matt Grootegoed, Keary Colbert?

Tom Lemming:

  • Houston -- My guess is UCLA over Colorado.
  • Gordon and Teyo Johnson -- They'd like to go to school together, and it's too close to call between Miami, Stanford, FSU and USC.
  • Travis Johnson -- I think Michigan has a slight lead over UCLA and FSU, but that changes day to day.
  • Grootegoed -- USC in an upset over UCLA.
  • Colbert -- ASU or USC.

    Jim: Where is DJ Williams headed; is Cal still in the race?

    Tom Lemming:
    Right now it looks like either Miami or FSU, but Cal is still in the race.

    Rishi: Is Bryant McFadden still a FSU lean (big time)?

    Tom Lemming:
    Yes, he's still leaning to FSU over Tennessee, but not big-time. More like slightly.

    JDawson: Alex Barron says he has made up his mind but he won't announce until signing day. Can you give us a hint here?

    Tom Lemming:
    Probably either Notre Dame or FSU, but he has not made up his mind yet. He'll visit Georgia this weekend.

    volrob: Who will land Jason Respert?

    Tom Lemming:
    Tennessee has already landed Sean Young and Michael Muñoz, and both of those players have already talked to Jason about coming to Tennessee. So as of today, Tennessee and Georgia are dead-even, but Jason is leaving tomorrow with a couple of friends -- Kenny Parker being one of them, who's being heavily recruited -- to visit Florida. So the Gators may be involved before it's all said and done.

    domer94: Is QB Carlyle Holiday headed for South Bend?

    Tom Lemming:
    As of right now, it's 50-50 between the Irish and Cornhuskers for Carlyle's signature, and he could decide any day now.

    Dave: With the addition of Dominique Sims (Thursday), how do you rate the Minnesota Gopher recruiting class?

    Tom Lemming:
    It was already an excellent class loaded with athletes. Sims is the centerpiece of what in my estimation is the Gophers' best class in the past five years. They may finish in the second half of the Big Ten, but for the first time ever, all 11 Big Ten teams may finish in the top 40, with Minnesota finishing somewhere between 20 and 30.

    Rishi: Tony Brown, is he going to go to FSU, Tennessee or Purdue?

    Tom Lemming:
    This summer, when I interviewed him, he said his dream was to play for FSU, so I'm going to pick the Seminoles over Tennessee and Purdue as his college choice.

    pg242: Has Matt Starks made up his mind?

    Tom Lemming:
    No, I believe he'll choose between Michigan, Florida and FSU, with Notre Dame still a possibility.

    Mike: Who will win the services of Marco Cooper?

    Tom Lemming:
    I think he'll commit to Ohio State next Monday over Tennessee.

    Ed: Where is Jonathan Colon going?

    Tom Lemming:
    He's committing to Florida over Miami, but every Gator fan will have to have their fingers crossed until Signing Day, because in the past he has been committed to Miami.

    Andy: Where do you think Eric Moore, LB from Florida, will end up?

    Tom Lemming:
    Probably FSU over Tennessee, UNC and Miami.

    SECDude: Will Mo Mitchell go to Auburn?

    Tom Lemming:
    He's not qualified right now, but Auburn does appear to be one of the leaders along with Georgia over Georgia Tech and Alabama.

    Meeshigan: In the last several days Michigan has lost the race for several blue-chippers (Kwame Harris, etc.). Any insight?

    Tom Lemming:
    Just bad luck. This year Michigan finished second for more top players than any school in the nation. Next year I expect that to change and Michigan should be back in their familiar spot as a top-five recruiting school.

    Noles#1: Would you compare Shyrone Carey to Warrick Dunn and do you think he will sign with FSU?

    Tom Lemming:
    When I was in New Orleans in June, Shyrone told me his dream was always to play for the Seminoles, so I would imagine that FSU should land him over Tennessee and LSU. And yes, I would compare him in athletic ability as a high school player to a smaller version of Warrick Dunn.

    Gatorade: What wide receivers are left on Florida's board and who do you think they will get?

    Tom Lemming:
    They got a commitment from Reggie Vickers a couple of days ago, and I think they are leading with Carlos Perez over Ohio State and are one of the favorites for Kelvin Kight, along with FSU and Georgia.

    REDHOT: What is your opinion on Jerone Pettus, Traison Lewis and Lynn McGruder and the Badgers' chances of landing them?

    Tom Lemming:
    They have a good shot at Pettus, a 50-50 shot at Lewis and a slim chance at McGruder.

    Vandy fan: What have you heard about Chris Young? He announced Ole Miss yesterday but word has it he may have already changed his mind.

    Tom Lemming:
    He selected Ole Miss over Vandy and Alabama just recently, but he may have changed his mind because this is the year of de-commitments. I wouldn't be surprised at anything.

    Accland: What conference is having the best year recruiting?

    Tom Lemming:
    The SEC without a doubt, but followed closely by the Big Ten, which may be having its best year in the last 20. No other conference is even close to these two.

    Vaccaro: What are ND's chances with Ronbrose Jones and Brandon Russell?

    Tom Lemming:
    I think Jones is leaning to Oklahoma State over Oklahoma and Notre Dame, and Russell has gone on record that everything's even between Notre Dame, Stanford and North Carolina; he says he'll decide by Saturday.

    Eddie Deezen: Lawrence Richardson to U. of Texas -- yes, no, maybe?

    Tom Lemming:

    Michael21: What are the FSU's chances with Tre Orr?

    Tom Lemming:
    I think the two leaders are FSU and Florida slightly over Tennessee and Georgia, so I think FSU's chances are good.

    PJ: Where will Abram Elam go?

    Tom Lemming:
    I think either Notre Dame or Miami.

    CW: There are rumors that Bradshaw Littlejohn has committed to Michigan State. True?

    Tom Lemming:
    Not yet. MSU is still the leader over South Carolina, but he hasn't committed yet and may be a non-qualifier.

    MackBrown: Brock Edwards -- where will he end up?

    Tom Lemming:
    Texas or Texas A&M.

    Vol101: Where does Brooks Daniels look like he is going?

    Tom Lemming:
    Georgia and Clemson lead Alabama.

    Vaccaro: Have you heard anything about Renaldo Works? Is he headed to South Bend, OU, or OSU?

    Tom Lemming:
    It's pretty even. Renaldo is not revealing his intentions, but we should know in the next day or so.

    KSU cats: What top players will Kansas State land, if any?

    Tom Lemming:
    They have commitments from OL Chris Boggas from Irving, Tex.; OL Ryan Schmuecker from Lincoln, Neb.; OL Nick Leckey of Grapevine, Tex.; DT Mike Johnson of Boulder, Colo.; and several J.C. All-Americans.

    Volmania: Who is leading with O.J. Owens?

    Tom Lemming:
    It's too close to call between FSU and Tennessee, and North Carolina isn't out of the race yet.

    LUKE: Why didn't you pick Pac-10 as one of the top conferences?

    Tom Lemming:
    Because they're not one of the top two, but also to qualify that statement, the Pac-10 is doing better than last year but not up there with the SEC and Big Ten to date. However, UCLA, USC and Washington along with Stanford, Arizona and Arizona State are all having good years.

    Taco: Any signing day surprises, a la C.J. Leak last year, that we might see?

    Tom Lemming:
    There might be, but we won't know until next Wednesday.

    PJ: How good is Tyrell Dortch?

    Tom Lemming:
    One of the top five RBs in the nation. He's got the size, strength and speed to make an immediate impact for Michigan State in 2000.

    Larry Dallas: If Carlyle Holiday chooses Nebraska, will Notre Dame make a late run at Brandon Sumner?

    Tom Lemming:

    moosehead: Info on Chris Perry?

    Tom Lemming:
    He's a big back -- about 6-2, 215 -- with 4.4 speed, great moves and terrific vision. He could get a lot of carries for the Wolverines next fall, even though they have Thomas and Fargas returning.

    Boomer1: With the verbal from Jammal Brown at Oklahoma, does that put the Sooners in your top 10? Any chance they might get Renaldo Works or Ronbrose Jones?

    Tom Lemming:
    Brown is an excellent player, but Oklahoma probably will finish somewhere between 10 and 20, and they're in the top three for both Renaldo Works and Ronbrose Jones.

    Buckeye #1: Besides Marco Cooper, what other prominent player does Ohio State have a good chance of getting at or before Signing Day?

    Tom Lemming:
    They still have a shot at Carlos Perez among my top 100.

    Caneman: How huge of a pickup is Willis McGahee by the 'Canes?

    Tom Lemming:
    He's one of the top four RBs in the nation, so he's obviously a major commitment, their biggest one of the year.

    Now, to close today's chat, here's my top 10 if Signing Day were today, followed by 12 schools that have a chance of breaking into the top 10 next week.

    The current top 10:
    1. Florida
    2. Tennessee
    3. Alabama
    4. Florida State
    5. Texas
    6. Michigan State
    7. Ohio State
    8. Notre Dame
    9. USC
    10. Penn State

    Now the other teams vying for the top 10, in no particular order:

    Georgia Tech
    Texas A&M

    I'll be back to chat again next Monday at 5 p.m. ET. See you then!


    Recruiting: Lemming's Top 100

    Hodge: Pledge drive rolls on

    Post your recruiting news on our message board