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August 27, 2011

Roundtable: Winners in Miami's debacle

MORE ROUNDTABLES: Aug. 13 | Aug. 6 | July 29 | July 8

Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on topics in a roundtable format.

Who do you see benefiting most from the Miami debacle?

Mike Farrell: Louisville will benefit the most to be honest because Florida and Florida State do OK on their own. It will help the Gators and 'Noles, don't get me wrong, but Charlie Strong hits South Florida hard and has beaten Miami head-to-head for recruits even before this. Now he should be able to get even more kids to head north and make his Big East program that much stronger.

Adam Gorney: Teams that have traditionally tried to crack into the Miami market of talent - Florida, Florida State, West Virginia and other ACC, Big East and SEC teams - should definitely have an advantage. It will be interesting to see how prospects handle the situation especially after the NCAA finishes up the investigation and comes down with a ruling. A lot of recruits are already saying that they'll have to take a second look at the Hurricanes because they don't want to have restrictions placed on them for something they didn't do. Florida, Florida State, USF and UCF will probably get more players out of Miami - guys that would usually never leave if the Hurricanes offered but will feel forced to now because the Miami program could get leveled by the NCAA.

Josh Helmholdt: Certainly the other members of the "Big Three" in the Sunshine State - Florida State and Florida - will be able to capitalize off Miami's mess because those programs go head-to-head for so many of the top kids in the Southeast, but an out-of-state school that stands to benefit from a weakened Miami program is Louisville. More than half of the Cardinals' 2011 class is from the state of Florida, including eight from Dade and Broward Counties. Four of its Miami-based signees held offers from the Hurricanes, and that number could grow in future years with The U facing serious allegations.

Chris Nee: Ultimately, I think it will be Florida and Florida State, but it will benefit a lot of schools that recruit heavily in South Florida. The impact for the Gators and Seminoles won't be great in 2012, as both have nearly filled their recruiting classes and were not involved with a number of targets or commitments for the Hurricanes. Where it will likely impact those two in-state schools is down the road, specifically with 2013 kids. During the season, both of those schools will begin to work hard on getting 2013 kids on campus for games and visits. With trouble in Coral Gables, a few of the talented 2013 prospects may turn their eyes northward.

Keith Niebuhr: If the Hurricanes get hit with any sort of sanctions, obviously Florida and Florida State will benefit. To me, there is no doubt of this. When things are going well in Coral Gables, Miami gets its pick of players in south Florida and both UF and FSU have to work like crazy to land someone. When the Hurricanes are struggling, the door seems to open a bit. Also, consider this: Often, when one of the state's big three has been in trouble, the others have gained. Examples of this: When Florida was hammered with sanctions in the 1980s, FSU became a national power and Miami continued to be one. When FSU and Miami had issues in the early and mid-90s, Florida won its first national title and became a recruiting machine.

Brian Perroni: It would seem that the two other in-state schools out of the "Big Three" in the state of Florida would reap the biggest benefits. Miami has done a very good job recruiting South Florida and this should open up some previously closed doors to rivals Florida and Florida State. Almost every school in the country recruits the state of Florida to some extent so it could bode well for a number of teams but just not to the extent that it will the Gators and Seminoles.

Which class of 2011 player are you most excited to watch this season in college as a true freshman?

Mike Farrell: The obvious answer is Jadeveon Clowney but for me it's Curtis Grant at Ohio State. I have followed Curtis since he was a freshman in high school and the first time I saw him play I knew he would be a star. I think he will be amazing at OSU but I know for any top prospect the adjustment to college is tough and it will be interesting to me to see if he gets on the field and makes an impact. Right now it appears to be a toss-up whether he'll redshirt or play, but I think if he does play it will be fun to watch how quickly he improves. And I'll be watching quarterback Braxton Miller as well because without Terrelle Pryor, Ohio State needs a dynamic player under center and he could be utilized in many ways.

Adam Gorney: This is a cop-out but I really want to see how well Jadeveon Clowney does at South Carolina. When I first saw him live at the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas last December I was really amazed at how freakishly fast he was off the edge. It will be interested to see how his game carries over to the SEC. I've also been anticipating De'Anthony Thomas at Oregon, too. If he stayed at USC I'm not sure all his athleticism would have been maximized but with the Ducks he could fit in extraordinarily well in that offense.

Josh Helmholdt: Few position battles across the nation this summer are being watched as closely as the one to replace Terrelle Pryor in Columbus. Freshman Braxton Miller is in a battle with senior Joe Bauserman for the starting quarterback job at Ohio State this fall, and could end up in a time share to start the season. The 6-2, 185-pound Miller has an amazing array of physical tools and can certainly handle the job from an athletic ability standpoint. His biggest challenge will be handling the pressures of potentially being a true freshman starting at quarterback in the Horseshoe.

Chris Nee: Out of the Sunshine State, I think wide receiver Sammy Watkins may have the biggest impact of any freshman in 2011. It appears that Watkins will be a starter from the get-go at Clemson. Some of the others I think can make some noise on the field this coming season from Florida include defensive end Aaron Lynch at Notre Dame, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan at Florida State, and defensive end Anthony Chickillo at Miami. I think a lot of eyes nationwide will be fixed on South Carolina to see the impact of Clowney with the Gamecocks.

Keith Niebuhr: Easy. Clowney. To me, the standout defensive end and former No. 1 national recruit has a chance to provide an immediate lift to a team that returns a heck of a lot of talent. More often than not, true freshmen don't make big impacts right away because they're not usually ready either physically or mentally. But Clowney is such a freak athlete that I expect him to be a factor from Day 1.

Brian Perroni: Texas has really struggled in the running game the past couple of years without a true difference maker on campus carrying the ball. That should change this year with five-star running back signee Malcolm Brown. It may take him a few games to get on track but a lot of big things are expected of Brown. I want to see if he can live up to the incredibly high expectations set on him.

What college program's 2012 recruiting class hinges the most on it having a strong 2011 season on the field?

Mike Farrell: To me it's Clemson. Dabo Swinney is on the hot seat and Clemson has been recruiting at the level of a constant BCS contender the last couple of years without the results on the field. If it falters this season, Dabo could be gone and Clemson's recruiting muscle could atrophy pretty quickly. But if the Tigers have a great year on the field, watch out.

Adam Gorney: There are probably two camps here. I think a lot of prospects are interested to see if Texas can rebound on the field after a disastrous season and whether the Will Muschamp experiment starts off well at Florida. Michigan is another school that will probably be closely watched. Then there are the schools where coaches could be on the hot seat - Georgia, UCLA, Purdue and others. If a new coaching staff comes in, the usual reaction is that a lot of prospects will definitely look around and many will end up at other schools.

Josh Helmholdt: Ohio State has rebounded from the initial recruiting hit it took when head coach Jim Tressel stepped down in May. The Buckeyes lost Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward offensive tackle Kyle Kalis to rival Michigan last month, but have been able to keep the rest of their class intact and picked up seven additional commitments over the summer. They can sustain that momentum by playing well this fall, but if the Buckeyes falter on the field, interim head coach Luke Fickell may not be around in 2012. Two head coaching changes in one class would make it difficult for them to meet their needs and sign a reasonably sized class.

Chris Nee: UCLA hasn't had a great deal of success in recruiting, and if the Bruins struggle this year, it likely means the end of the road for Rick Neuheisel, which would just set the Bruins further back with regards to recruiting. Some success for the Bruins, on top of the limitations placed upon USC, and things could begin to turn around there. It is make-or-break time for them though.

Keith Niebuhr: Well, lots of people say Vanderbilt, but I don't buy it. I don't believe the kids committed to the Commodores will be scared away if the team struggles under first-year coach James Franklin because this group sees the chance for early playing time. It also believes it will be the class to turn things around in Nashville. So instead, I'll go with Georgia. There are many who think coach Mark Richtis on the hot seat (if true, I find that ridiculous considering he has won two SEC titles). Whether that's true or not, UGA has struggled the past two years and a third straight down season could hurt on the recruiting trail. If the Dawgs come up big this fall - and with the schedule they have, it's possible - Georgia should be just fine.

Brian Perroni: I would think Ohio State needs to have a very strong year on the field. With recruits already a bit leery due to the NCAA issues surrounding the program, a subpar campaign this season could be disastrous and lead to many of the Buckeyes' current commits looking around.

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