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October 24, 2012

Around the Midwest: Snodgrass to make pick


MORE: Southwest mailbag | Around the Southwest

Each Wednesday throughout the fall, Rivals.com is breaking down the Midwest Region recruiting scene with news, notes and analysis. Here is the latest from Rivals.com Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt.

News and Notes

Class of 2014 Springfield, Ohio wide receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass has announced plans to make a commitment the week of Nov. 5 in a ceremony at his school. The 6-foot-1, 186-pound Snodgrass holds 11 offers and is one of the more highly recruited wide receiver prospects in a deep year for the position throughout the Midwest. Although Snodgrass plans to visit Notre Dame immediately preceding his announcement, the school that makes the most sense with an early decision like this is Ohio State. They are the in-state school, the school he has visited most and he announced his plans to commit days after attending the Buckeyes' home contest against Purdue.

October looked like it was going to be a busy month for Crete-Monee (Ill.) four-star wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, but that never materialized. Treadwell planned unofficial visits to Missouri and Michigan, along with official visits to Ole Miss and Oklahoma, but each one of those trips was cancelled or postponed for different reasons.

The official visit to Oklahoma was supposed to take place this coming weekend, but Crete-Monee drew a Saturday game for the first round of the Illinois state playoffs, nixing the trip to Norman.

Rivals250 defensive end Elijah Daniel of Avon, Ind., had a little Twitter snafu on Saturday. His account put out a statement that he would be decommitting from Clemson later that day.

Daniel, however, texted me to say it was not him that put that message out and he was "still fully a Tiger." Still, Daniel's Clemson commitment is in jeopardy. He has been clear that his commitment to the Tigers is soft since early in the fall, and he has spent the last two weekends on the campus of Indiana University alongside fellow Indianapolis-area four-stars David Kenney and Darius Latham, who each decommitted from their respective programs in recent weeks.

Kenney has since committed to Indiana, Latham is expected to do the same soon and Daniel may be swayed in that direction as well if things continue to progress on their current course.

Now that Detroit Cass Tech four-star offensive guard David Dawson has returned from his Florida official visit without making a commitment to the Gators, the race is officially on for the nation's No. 165 overall player.

He has expressed a desire to officially visit LSU the weekend of Nov. 3 to see the Tigers host Alabama. The Crimson Tide also hold a spot in his top five, as do Midwest programs Ohio State and Michigan State.

The Spartans are the latest addition to Dawson's top five, and he has two teammates -- 2013 offensive tackle Dennis Finley and 2014 linebacker Deon Drake - who are already committed to Michigan State.

A handful of the elite junior prospects across the country have already been selected to play in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and one of the latest to receive that honor is Urbandale, Iowa, wide receiver Allen Lazard.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Lazard has dominated play in the Des Moines area this fall, and proven himself as one of the nation's top receivers in the 2014 class. Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska have already extended offers to Lazard, and teams from across the country are recruiting him.

Underclassmen watch

Here are some top underclassmen to keep an eye on from around the region:

LB Clifton Garrett, Joliet (Ill.) Plainfield South (2014): The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Garrett is a familiar name to most college football recruiting fans already.

He has already been selected to play in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and has an impressive offer list.

We have seen Garrett on a couple occasions this offseason, and the kid is an imposing physical specimen. This weekend, though, Garrett released his highlight film from his junior season and we were able to see how his physical tools translated over to the football field.

At this stage, Garrett is not a finished product, but we are seeing him make the plays we expect out an elite linebacker prospect. He comes downhill hard, plays with great pad level and really knows how to finish tackles. Garrett continues to earn his accolades.

OL Jarrett LaRubbio, Cincinnati (Ohio) Lakota East (2014): We first came across LaRubbio when he came out to the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge in Dallas this summer. The size, the length were all evident then, and LaRubbio held his own against some of the top underclassmen in country at the event. LaRubbio was also very active on the college camp circuit and several schools' interests were piqued during those performances.

One was Pittsburgh, and shortly after LaRubbio released his first few game highlights, the Panthers became the first school to offer. LaRubbio obviously paid attention during his off-season camp stops. He has been very effective on film, staying low, extending and driving opposing defensive linemen.

LaRubbio also is able to find his blocks in space and get second level to seal linebackers. LaRubbio has visits scheduled to Pitt, Wisconsin, Duke and N.C. State in coming weeks.

TE Darryl Long, Westerville (Ohio) South (2014): Long is the type of player who catches your attention the minute he steps off the bus. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he has an outstanding football build.

When we first saw him in the spring combine circuit he was raw, but his game improved as the off-season progressed.

He was able to utilize his natural talents more, stopped fighting the football and became more accustomed to the tight end position. We are seeing a continued progression in those areas on junior film.

Long still does not look completely comfortable out on the field, but he is making plays in the passing game and is an asset as a run blocker. With his upside and solid junior film now out, the offers should follow soon for Long.

What I'm thinking …

The Midwest four-stars looking around are primarily stuck between two scenarios -- playing in the Big Ten or playing in the South.

Four-star Illinois wide receiver Laquon Treadwell's top five includes two Big Ten programs - Michigan and Michigan State -- along with three schools much further south - Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Four-star Detroit Cass Tech offensive guard David Dawson's top five has shaken out with two Big Ten programs - Ohio State and Michigan State -- and three SEC schools - Alabama, Florida and LSU.

As a rule of thumb, prospects who take their recruitments out the longest tend to pick schools closer to home. However, the current landscape of college football has definitely changed and may need to be considered here.

The SEC has six teams in the top 20 of the BCS standings. The Big Ten has zero. The SEC is the cool conference right now and there is a pull to play in the SEC, even among Midwest prospects.

How that plays out heading into the final stretch before National Signing Day remains to be seen.

If I were just playing the odds based on how their recruitments are trending right now, both Dawson and Treadwell appear more likely to head south than stay in the Big Ten. Avon, Ind., four-star defensive end Elijah Daniel is committed to Clemson and really wants to take an official visit to Florida and possibly Mississippi State as well, but Indiana is making a strong play there.

Rivals100 wide receiver Shelton Gibson out of Cleveland has both Big Ten and SEC schools on his list, but looks likely to stay in-state and choose Ohio State.

The current season has more of an effect on the class of junior prospects than senior prospects, but for those taking their recruitments into the winter there is a chance for play on the field this fall to affect their decisions. We will see come National Signing Day just how much.

This weekend I am heading out to the Cleveland/Akron/Canton area to catch five games. There will be a number of top 2013 prospects in the games I'll cover this weekend, but what I really want to get answered is who deserves to be at the top of the list in the state of Ohio for the 2014 class… and the lineup of games on my itinerary will give me a chance to see a half dozen or more who could be in consideration for the top 10 in the state among juniors.

Concerning here is that the state of Ohio looks to have a dip in talent for the 2014 class. Always the pacesetter in the Midwest when it comes to producing college football talent, we are not seeing the number of elite guys as there has been in recent classes and we're not seeing the depth across the state.

Among the names I will see this weekend are Cleveland Glenville athlete Marshon Lattimore, Cleveland St. Ignatius offensive lineman Jimmy Byrne, Akron St. Vincent St. Mary's linebacker Donte Booker, Youngstown Ursuline quarterback Chris Durkin and Massillon Washington offensive line teammates Nathaniel Devers and Chase Lash. I am hoping to have my faith restored in Ohio's 2014 class by weekend's end.



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