Uncommitted four-star 2017 DT Aaron Sterling will be choosing between South Carolina and Tennessee on National Signing Day.
Sterling committed to Alabama all the way back in December of 2015, but he reopened his recruitment this past September. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound native of Stone Mountain, Georgia, will take an official visit to South Carolina this coming weekend (he is fresh off official trips to Georgia and Tennessee) and is expected to make his final decision in a ceremony at 10:00 AM EST on National Signing Day. ESPN's scouting department notes that Sterling is "a bit [of a] 'tweener in size and skill set at this stage."
Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo writes that "there are still some questions about [Iowa CB Desmond King's] ability to hold up in press coverage."
King is on hand for the Senior Bowl this week. Palazzolo sees this as a prime opportunity for the standout Iowa corner to ease concerns about his work in press coverage. Wrote the PFF analyst, "the Senior Bowl is a perfect week for King to prove his doubters wrong with a strong showing in one-on-ones and team drills." The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder finished with an 86.2 overall grade on PFF this past season, good for 14th in the country. Pro Football Focus slots him in as the No. 10 prospect in this draft class on their current board.
Texas Tech hired Cal OL coach/run-game coordinator Brandon Jones to serve as OL coach.
Jones steps in for Lee Hays, who was let go over the weekend. Prior to his new gig with the Red Raiders, Jones had roamed the Cal sideline each of the past two seasons. He initially got his coaching start with East Carolina during the late 2000's. "He’s regarded as one of the top offensive line coaches in the country, and our program will benefit from his leadership," said HC Kliff Kingsbury in a statement. "We’re looking forward to our offensive line continuing to develop under him." As FOX Sports' Bruce Feldman notes, Cal had been among the nation's leaders in fewest sacks surrendered during Jones' time as OL coach.
Clemson HC Dabo Swinney said that if the Browns pass on QB Deshaun Watson with the first pick of the draft, it would be like passing on Michael Jordan.
While plenty of coaches step to bat for their players during draft season, Swinney has been about as vocal about Watson as a coach can be about a player. Not only in pumping up the gunslinger, but also in defending him against scouting scuttlebutt. To whit, after Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline wrote in mid-January that many scouts view Watson as a second-round prospect, Swinney said that those scouts should "lose their jobs." As for his most recent bit of draft fire-and-brimstone (so much as Swinney could possibly do fire-and-brimstone), there is one major logical hole. Because the Browns hold both the first and 12th picks in this spring's draft, they could conceivably draft Myles Garrett (or whomever they fancy) at one, then wait for Watson to swing down to them at No. 12.
Iowa received a verbal commitment from three-star 2017 WR Henry Marchese.
Marchese, an Illinois native, ranks as Scout.com's No. 18 wideout in the Midwest for the 2017 cycle. The outlet notes that the 6-foot-2, 165-pounder "[d]oes a nice job with his release off the line, but can still work on his change of direction and explosion out of his breaks and on double-moves." Scout likes him as a red-zone target once he joins Iowa, though he will need to bulk up a bit once he hits Iowa City.
Rivals recruiting director Mike Farrell notes that Florida State five-star 2017 verbal RB commit Cam Akers is a "physical, strong and powerful runner."
"It’s easy to see him fitting in the same mold as Dalvin Cook with his speed and power and ability to catch the ball," Farrell writes. Akers ranks as Rivals' No. 3 overall prospect for the 2017 cycle, with only Alabama commit Najee Harris ranking above him as a running back in this class. While Akers is the top back heading to Tallahassee for 2017, he has company in the form of fellow five-star back Khalan Laborn (No. 23 overall on Rivals), who could make his own dent on the backfield depth chart as the Seminoles look to replace Cook's brilliance next season.
Washington four-star 2017 verbal DT commit Marlon Tuipulotu flipped his pledge to USC.
Tuipulotu announced his decision to trade in the Huskies hat for the Trojans one in a Twitter post following a weekend visit to USC. He had been committed to Washington since last April. The 6-foot-2, 280-pound native of Independence, Oregon, ranks as Rivals' No. 126 overall prospect in the 2017 cycle. Scout.com notes that while Tuipulotu has the ability to play multiple positions along the defensive line, "[h]e likely projects a 3-tech[ique] in college."
Oklahoma paid uncommitted five-star 2017 DT Marvin Wilson an in-home visit on Monday.
Quite the party for Wilson, as Sooners HC Bob Stoops was accompanied by five assistant coaches on his visit to the Houston native. Stoops brought an Outland Trophy along with him for good measure. The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Wilson is deciding between Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU and USF. Buckeyes HC Urban Meyer will, himself, take an in-home visit with Wilson on Wednesday. That will be followed up by FSU HC Jimbo Fisher's in-home on Thursday. LSU will come calling over the weekend, but HC Ed Oregeron will not be among that contingent of coaches. Rivals recruiting director Mike Farrell believes that Wilson will ultimately side with the Tigers come National Signing Day.