Motivation not a problem for RB Gray
ESPN Recruiting Nation
Notes From Around The ESPNU 150
The number of undecided prospects from the East is a bit startling, especially in today's fast-forwarded pace of recruiting. Moreover, it's top-flight prospects that have given no notion of where they'll sign, such as defensive tackle Eddie Goldman from Washington (D.C.) Friendship, tailback Keith Marshall from Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook, athlete Stefon Diggs from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel and athlete Cyrus Jones from Baltimore (Md.) Gilman. All are rated among the top 35 prospects in the nation.
All of the aforementioned prospects have barely whittled down their list and are still considering several schools. The indecision is understandable given the fact that so many programs recruit in their areas.
The one thing that's become readily apparent in the East is that the region has quality players. Perhaps it doesn't have as many overall prospects as the Southeast or West, but it has plenty of elite prospects. One look at the updated ESPNU 150 shows that.
-- Dave Hooker
For more on East recruiting from Dave Hooker, check out the East blog.
Midlands: Lone Star State well-represented
Texas football followers believe their state has the best athletes. The latest ESPNU 150 helps to support that argument.
Of the 150 players, 24 represent the Lone Star State (16 percent). Two of those -- defensive end Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas/Billy Ryan) and Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas) -- are top-five, five-star players. Edwards is again in the top spot and Gray moved up from No. 8 to No. 5 and becomes the nation's top running back.
Only Florida has more players on the ESPNU 150 with 30. California has 14 players, and Georgia has 12.
-- Damon Sayles
For more on Midlands recruiting from Damon Sayles, check out the Midlands blog.
Midwest: States catching up to Ohio
When it comes to the Midwest, the state of Ohio is king of high school football. Every year, the Buckeye State will have more top teams and elite recruits than the other Midwest states.
However, the rest of the Midwest is starting to close that gap a little bit. Eleven recruits from the Midwest are among the ESPNU 150. To no one's surprise, Ohio has the most among Midwest states with four. But Michigan, Illinois and Indiana all have two. Indiana even has the region's top player in Hoosiers commit Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind./East), and Decatur Central (Indianapolis) coach Justin Dixson told me a few weeks ago that Indiana football is clearly on the rise.
Even Minnesota, hardly a hotbed for Division I talent, has a player in the ESPNU 150, something it didn't have last year.
-- Jared Shanker
For more on Midwest recruiting from Jared Shanker, check out the Midwest blog.
Southeast: Kimbrow proves he belongs
Coming into his senior season this fall, Memphis (Tenn.) East's Brian Kimbrow was a motivated running back. Only 5-7 and 165 pounds, Kimbrow felt he was slighted by all the recruiting services because of his size, despite having Percy Harvin-like skills and game-breaking speed.
"I used everything as motivation because I felt I was being overlooked because of my size," said Kimbrow. "I know it's my size and I just want to prove everybody wrong."
Kimbrow now finds himself inside the ESPNU 150, sitting at No. 141, after rushing for over 1,800 yards and 21 touchdowns so far this season. His East team is 7-1.
"I feel like I am improved," said Kimbrow, who is the No. 20 athlete in the nation. "I feel like I am stronger, faster and running tougher. I play to my speed level now."
Kimbrow also says he's dedicating his season to one of his former coaches, Jim Ropper. Ropper had to leave the team because of his health.
"He has cancer and moved back to Louisiana to deal with it," Kimbrow said. "I promised him that I was playing for him and for my teammates."
Kimbrow surprised many by committing to coach James Franklin and Vanderbilt back on July 1. He can't wait to get to Nashville because he believes he can spark the Commodores' offense.
"They are playing better and just need some playmakers," Kimbrow said. "They lost a tough one the other day. I wish I could have suited up for them because I feel like I can make some plays right now for Vandy. I am ready to go."
-- Jamie Newberg
For more on Southeast recruiting from Jamie Newberg, check out the Southeast blog.
Florida: Big-time linemen
While the state as a whole might be a little down, there's no doubt that the offensive line class will go down as one of the best in state history. With players like John Theus, Jessamen Dunker, Avery Young, Ty Darlington and Omari Phillips on the board, Florida is beginning to prove that it's not just a state for the speedy, skill players.
-- Corey Long
For more on Florida recruiting from Corey Long, check out the Southeast blog.
West: Year of the offensive lineman
There haven't been this many talented offensive linemen in the West in the last decade, and that's definitely reflected in the ESPNU 150. Eleven players from the West are ranked among the top 100 players in the nation and six are offensive linemen, including the top two players in the region.
Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif./Pleasant Grove) is the top-rated player in the West and comes in at No. 15. He actually wants to play defensive end in college, but his upside at the tackle position is off the charts.
Depending on the depth chart ahead of them, Andrus Peat (Tempe, Ariz./Corona Del Sol), Kyle Murphy (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente), Max Tuerk (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./ Santa Margarita), Isaac Seumalo (Corvallis, Ore./Corvallis) and Josh Garnett (Puyallup, Wash./Puyallup) are all talented enough to play as true freshmen next fall.
-- Greg Biggins
Here's more on West recruiting from Greg Biggins, check out the West blog.