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February 1, 2013

Weekend visits: Malzahn the closer?


MORE: Countdown to Signing Day

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The final weekend of official visits before National Signing Day doesn't figure to produce major hauls.

Most programs have used one of the past two weekends to bring the majority of the commitments onto campus and the other to recruit the remaining standouts.

Auburn is among the exceptions.

This weekend, the Gus Malzahn regime will play host to a trio of five-star players: defensive tackle Montravius Adams, linebacker Reuben Foster and defensive end Carl Lawson. Also on campus will be Rivals250 member and Ole Miss pledge Elijah Daniel as well as Florida State commit Ro'Derrick Hoskins.

Justin Hokanson covers recruiting for AuburnSports.com and said the Tigers aren't wasting time.

"This is a very important weekend for the staff," he said. "It is not just because of the two uncommitted five-star guys but also to solidify everything with Lawson and (four-star defensive end) Tashawn Bower, who will be on campus taking an unofficial visit.

"Jeremy Johnson and Cameron Toney will also be here on unofficals and if those two, plus Lawson and Bower, can recruit Foster and Adams to come with them, it would be a very strong final push."

Coming off a 3-9 season and a coaching change, the current class is ranked No. 13 in the Rivals.com rankings.

Hokanson said that if the staff closes strong, a Top 10 finish is not out of the question.

"If Auburn is able to get Foster back in the fold that is a great first step," he said. "Adams would be a bonus and I think that there will be a major push for Daniels even though he just recently committed to Ole Miss.

"There are really still six spots left to fill this class, so if Malzahn can come in and keep this together and finish in the Top 10 it would send a major message."

Check out the rest of the limited weekend plan. We will continue to update throughout the day Friday.

Official Visit Weekend Preview: Feb. 1, 2013
Most of the Bama targets are either done with visits or are headed elsewhere this weekend leaving the staff to focus on landing five-star defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes who will come across the country from Placer (Calif.) High to take in the campus. Vanderdoes was once a USC commit but has been linked to several teams since his de-commitment last month. He is a top priority for most every coaching staff that shows him interest and the sales pitch will be coming hard for his services.
The Arkansas visit weekend is still in flux as there are still schedules to be worked out. Currently Melvinson Hartfield, Damon Mitchell, Denzell Evans and Marcus Davis are expected. Davis recently committed to Auburn but Arkansas still believes he will come. Skai Moore, A.J. Tucker and Korliss Marshall might also make the trip, but none of the three are locked in.
Visitors for Feb. 1
Another small group of players will be headed to Gainesville this weekend. Receiver Ryan Timmons, defensive end Jaynard Bostwick and JUCO QB Tanner McEvoy are expected to visit. McEvoy is one of the more interesting players as he was coveted coming out of high school but has had some personal issues. If he is able to get on a major campus and get focused, he could really help a team.
Visitors for Feb. 1
With a limited list of players taking visits to Baton Rouge the coaching staff will have time to focus on Robert Nkemdiche. The top player in the country has long been considered a silent commit to Ole Miss but the Loganville (Ga.) Grayson defensive end has been hitting the official visits pretty hard recently. He announced late Thursday night that he was going to make his way to the rivals SEC school. Certainly Les Miles and the rest of the staff do not mind the late notice.
The top fullback in the country has de-committed from Syracuse and Augustus Edwards is believed to be down to Florida State and Miami for his commitment. The 6-foot-1 222-pounds player is going to be making his way to Miami for an official this weekend and will make his choice before signing day. This is a welcomed positive distraction for Canes fans who had to learn that the program is out on local offensive lineman Denver Kirkland who was reportedly given an ultimatum to commit or lose his offer.
After visiting Fresno State and Colorado, three-star safety Tedric Thompson will head to Minnesota from Valencia (Calif.) High. The 6-foot-1, 203-pound prospect has a smattering of offers and is down to two schools, but wants to see Minnesota before deciding.

The Huskers are in a distant third place in the Big Ten for recruiting and this weekend the program is only hosting two players. One is a three-star Missouri commitment in Dimarya Mixon, who could be a flip target, and the other is uncommitted athlete Jacquille Veii. Veii is down to Maryland, Nebraska and Iowa. He took a trip to Iowa last week and said that it was a great time, but wanted to see Nebraska before deciding. He just received a Huskers offer this week.
Wrapping up his visits, three-star safety Justin Strong will be the only player on campus this weekend. Committed since September, the 5-foot-11 prospect from Fontana (Calif.) Summitt visited Nevada two weeks ago but maintained his pledge to Oregon State. He does not seem like a flip candidate and this will likely just wrap up things before he signs this week.
One of the larger groups on the weekend will be headed to Dallas to check out SMU. There are quite a few names on the list who are not solidified for travel plans but expected to make the trip. William Barns, Myles Crosby, Everett Dickerson, Jeremiah Gaines and Spencer Hollie, among others, are all locked into coming. Jarvis Baxter, Freddie Johnson, Roderick Moore and Brian Taylor are expected to be on campus but unconfirmed. The Mustangs could make a move on many of those players.
Late to the party, the Longhorns will host DeSoto (Texas) High running back Dontre Wilson. Wilson had been an Oregon pledge but opened to visits when Chip Kelly announced he was leaving for the NFL. The four-star is still officially listed as a Ducks commit but was at Ohio State last week and was planning to go to Oklahoma State this week before changing course.
After committing to New Mexico earlier in the year, Tulsa was able to flip Broken Arrow (Okla.) High defensive end Frankie Davis to join the class. The three-star player is local to the campus but will make an official this weekend.


Virginia Tech will welcome two prospects this weekend and both are pledges to the Hokies. Three-star Deon Newsome and three-star Charles Clark will be making the trip. They were scheduled to visit last week, but snow postponed the visit. Neither is a flip candidate, so this is a formality.
The Huskies could close strong if they are able to make an impression on a pair of soft Oregon commits, Tyrell and Tyree Robinson. The twins from San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln said they were planning on looking around if Chip Kelly left and have stayed true to their word. There are rumblings the Huskies could flip the pair. Also on campus this weekend will be uncommited Ralph Kinne and three-star Keishawn Bierria.
The lone visitor to Madison this weekend is two-star defensive back Jakarrie Washington from Everett (Mass.) High. The 5-foot-11 corner just committed to Wisconsin this week after drawing interest from UMass, Texas Tech and Washington State. The offer was reportedly spurred by a chance encounter between his defensive backs coach and the Wisconsin staff at the Walter Camp dinner.



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