Here's what we're looking forward to watching this weekend:
Florida vs. Georgia
No, the Gators and Bulldogs don't meet on the field, but Georgia and Florida are battling for the same player: 5-foot-10, 180-pound tailback Keith Marshall from Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook. The five-star Marshall, who is rated the top tailback prospect in the nation, has said he's particularly fond of Georgia and coach Mark Richt. He'd also be a perfect complement to Bulldogs freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell's physical running style. But let's put the Georgia talk aside for one moment since Marshall is headed to Florida for his official visit this weekend.
Imagine for a moment a perfect official visit to Florida. Imagine Marshall falling in love with the Gators and Gainesville. Most importantly, imagine Georgia losing to Mississippi State and Richt's coaching seat becoming red hot. If all that happened, Marshall very well could be headed south. After all, Marshall has repeatedly hinted that if Richt's gone, he'll go somewhere else besides Athens. Now, imagine the impact a Marshall commitment to Florida would have.
Not only would Georgia lose a top prospect to a hated rival, but it would also further establish Florida in North Carolina. The Gators already have the nation's top offensive tackle in D.J. Humphries from Charlotte (N.C.) Mallard Creek and four-star safety Rhaheim Ledbetter from Shelby (N.C.) Crest. If the Gators land Marshall, look out.
Florida doesn't need more fertile recruiting territory. It has plenty of players in its backyard. But with UNC in the throes of chaos, someone will capitalize in that state. Why not the Gators?
Marshall also has official visits scheduled to Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in November.
• For the rest of what we want to watch around the Atlantic Coast, check out Dave Hooker's blog
Poole gets final shot
ESPNU 150 defensive back Brian Poole (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast) has one final shot at rival Bradenton Manatee this Friday.
The Under Armour All-American said that he really wants to end his career with a victory over his arch nemesis.
"We were real close last year and just ran out of gas," Poole said. "But we've got the players to get it done. It's going to be hard because they are a great team."
Last year Poole rushed for a season-high 145 yards on 13 carries as Southeast stormed to a 24-7 halftime lead.
The second half was a different story as Poole and his teammates started to wear down from playing both ways. Manatee's trio of quarterback Cord Sandberg, running back Mike Blakely and wide receiver Quenton Bundrage led a furious comeback as Manatee won 31-24.
Blakely and Bundrage have moved on and now Poole will be focused on stopping Sandberg's favorite target, Anthony Lauro. The 5-9, 170-pound junior wide receiver has over 200 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving this season.
• For the rest of what we want to watch around Florida, check out Corey Long's blog
Prominent DE battle in Oklahoma
As Lawton (Okla.) and Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.) prepare for their game Friday night, fans are anticipating a good showing between two of the best high school defensive ends in Oklahoma.
Lawton's defense is led by standout junior D.J. Ward, who already has offers from Texas A&M, Arizona, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oregon State and in-state schools Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Tulsa. A 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end, Ward is considered by many to be the state's top 2013 recruit.
Santa Fe features high-rising, uncommitted senior Michael Onuoha, a 6-5, 230-pounder who has put his name on the map with solid play this season. Onuoha is getting looks from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Kansas State, in addition to in-state schools Oklahoma and Tulsa.
• For the rest of what we want to watch around the Midlands, check out Damon Sayles' blog
Wisconsin welcomes Nebraska to Big Ten and a truckload of recruits
Much like the Ohio State game last year, this is the game the Wisconsin staff is trying to get all of its remaining targets to come to. It is the biggest game in Madison this season, and ESPN "College GameDay" will be on campus. Some of the Badgers' highest-rated commits will be attending and trying to sell ESPNU 150 tackle Jordan Diamond on Wisconsin. This will also be a big weekend for the Badgers in terms of their 2013 class as top junior prospects Matt Alviti, Ethan Pocic and Rob Wheelwright will be in the building.
• For the rest of what we want to watch around the Midlands, check out Jared Shanker's blog
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
The Razorbacks get the first shot to impress Lone Star prospects against Texas A&M when they face the Aggies in Texas Stadium on Saturday. For Arkansas, it's a chance to get a head start on exposure in Texas before A&M joins the SEC next year. The game will be held in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
"When they came with the idea about playing A&M in Dallas, we were really excited about it because we felt like the more exposure we get in the state of Texas and the more our players can come home and play in Dallas' stadium every year, the better opportunity we have to get young men to come to our school," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said. "This just increases our exposure in the entire state."
Petrino said many of his assistant coaches will be in Texas and the Dallas area recruiting on Friday evening before the game. Enjoy the head start, Razorbacks; the rest of the SEC isn't far behind.
• For the rest of what we want to watch around the Southeast, check out Dave Hooker's blog
Servite (Calif.) vs. Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
This is easily the marquee game of the week both out West and nationally. Both teams have already played a very tough schedule but you can make an argument that Gorman has played the toughest schedule in the nation, having faced No. 4 Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) and preseason top 10 Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.).
The Gaels have a balanced attack and can hurt you on the ground and through the air. Junior QB Anu Solomon will likely break just about every state record before he graduates, RB Shaquille Powell has been an all-state selection since his sophomore year and tackle Ronnie Stanley leads an offensive line that will have three players sign with BCS schools next February.
Meanwhile, the Friars have won back-to-back Pac 5 championships and are annually regarded as the most physical team in the state. LB Butch Pauu, a BYU commitment, leads a fast, aggressive defense and the Friars' offensive line is one of the state's best, led by Boise State commitment Travis Averill. Junior TE/LB Ainslie Johnson will also be a major recruit next fall.
• For the rest of what we want to watch around the West, check out Greg Biggins' blog