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January 27, 2012

Rising, falling as National Signing Day nears

MORE: Team rankings | Rivals250

Rivals.com analyst Chris Nee reviews recent rising and falling in the 2012 team rankings as National Signing Day nears.

Five Up

1. Stanford Cardinal
Current class rank: No. 12
Reason for the move: Stanford made a move this week when it landed the best prospect of its class so far in Puyallup (Wash.) four-star offensive guard Joshua Garnett. Garnett selected the Cardinal on Thursday afternoon. He is considered the No. 2 overall guard in the nation and No. 33 overall in the Rivals100. Stanford also added the services of Kansas City (Mo.) Staley strongside defensive end Nathanael Lohn.
Between now and NSD: David Shaw and Co., could end with a real bang. Five-star offensive tackles Kyle Murphy of San Clemente (Calif.) and Andrus Peat of Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol remain in play. Also, Stanford remains a top candidate for Atwater (Calif.) Buhach five-star defensive end Aziz Shittu. The Cardinal also must do some work to retain the commitments of Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola four-star wide receiver Kodi Whitfield and Pleasant Grove (Utah) four-star offensive guard Brandon Fanaika, who continue to leave the door ajar for some other programs.
More Stanford: CardinalReport.com

2. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Current class rank: No. 32
Reason for the move: A pair of new commitments helped the Scarlet Knights make a move over the past week - but the good vibes may not last long because coach Greg Schiano has since departed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Schiano helped to lure Fairless Hills (Pa.) Pennsbury four-star offensive tackle J.J. Denman away from Wisconsin. Also, one of the better in-state players decided he wanted to be a Scarlet Knight when Long Branch (N.J.) three-star offensive tackle Ryan Brodie pledged his services.
Between now and NSD: With a coaching change this late in the cycle, it will be interesting to see how Rutgers does with regards to retaining the 17 commitments and closing out the class. A pair of in-state prospects remain atop the wish list - Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep five-star defensive end Darius Hamilton and Old Tappan (N.J.) four-star athlete Devin Fuller.
More Rutgers: ScarletNation.com

3. UCLA Bruins
Current class rank: No. 18
Reason for the move: Jim Mora and his new staff have had success down the stretch getting prospects to flip their commitments. The Bruins have added nine new commitments over the past month with two new additions this past week. Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta four-star defensive end Jeremy Castro decided to switch his commitment from Oregon to the Bruins. Also, Elk Grove (Calif.) Sheldon defensive end Nate Iese hopped on board.
Between now and NSD: UCLA remains a serious contender for Sacramento (Calif.) Grant five-star safety Shaq Thompson, who is currently committed to California, and Atwater (Calif.) Buhach five-star defensive end Aziz Shittu. Shittu is expected on campus this weekend. A number of other prospects remain in play as Mora tries to cram a year's worth of recruiting into a one-month time span.
More UCLA: BruinBlitz.com

4. North Carolina Tar Heels
Current class rank: No. 50
Reason for the move: North Carolina made its way into the top 50 with four additions over the past week. The top commitment that Larry Fedora and staff landed in the past week was Greensboro (N.C.) Page dual-threat quarterback James Summers. Summers was a four-star commitment to in-state rival North Carolina State. North Carolina also added a trio of three-star prospects in Auburn (Ala.) offensive lineman Caleb Peterson, Brandenton (Fla.) Manatee safety Clinton Heaven and McDonough (Ga.) Eagle's Landing Christian defensive end Justin Thomason.
Between now and NSD: North Carolina will host a number of prospects during this weekend, the final weekend prior to National Signing Day. Leading the list is Dallas (Texas) Wilmer-Hutchins four-star safety LaDarrell McNeil, who is committed to Tennessee. McNeil is part of the Rivals100. Rivals250 wide receiver Davonte Neal from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral is also expected in Chapel Hill. Other visitors include highly ranked three-star wide receiver Ian Thomas from Reistertown (Md.) Franklin and defensive end Junior Gnonkonde from Lakeland (Ga.) Lanier County.
More UNC: TarHeelIllustrated.com

5. Tennessee Volunteers
Current class rank: 11
Reason for the move: The Volunteers moved up four spots on the shoulders of the addition of Columbus (Ga.) Carver four-star cornerback Deion Bonner. Bonner, a Rivals250 prospect, chose Tennessee after a recent official visit to Rocky Top.
Between now and NSD: Tennessee isn't only battling to win over uncommitted recruits, but the Vols are also battling to retain the ones they already have. Crowley (La.) four-star athlete Davante Bourque and Van (Texas) three-star linebacker Dalton Santos, both Tennessee commitments, continue to draw a great deal of attention from other suitors. Tennessee hopes to add the services of some other prospects such as Lynchburg (Va.) Brookville four-star defensive tackle Korren Kirven, Hutchinson (Kansas) Hutchinson C.C. four-star wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, Gaffney (S.C.) four-star wide receiver Quinshad Davis and others.
More Tennessee: VolQuest.com

Five Down

1. N.C. State Wolfpack
Current class rank: NR
Reason for the move: N.C. State suffered a big blow when the Pack's top commitment, Greensboro (N.C.) Page four-star dual-threat quarterback James Summers switched his commitment to their in-state rivals, North Carolina, this week. Summers was the lone four-star in the Wolfpack's class prior to his switch.
Between now and NSD: N.C. State, for the most part, is done with the 2012 class, even with the departure of Summers. Palm Desert (Calif.) College of the Desert three-star linebacker Robert Caldwell is marked down for a visit this weekend. N.C. State also must work to retain all of its commitments as schools such as Georgia and Illinois look to steal some targets between now and Wednesday.
More N.C. State: TheWolfpacker.com

2. Georgia Bulldogs
Current class rank: No. 21
Reason for the move: Georgia slipped some this week after Hinesville (Ga.) Bradwell Institute three-star offensive guard Chester Brown parted ways with the university, due in large part to an immigration issue involving the school's bylaws. Brown's departure wasn't offset in any way, as Georgia added no new commitments over the past week.
Between now and NSD: Georgia will be one of the main teams to keep a close eye on down the stretch. The Dawgs could add a half-dozen or more prospects down the stretch. Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes five-star athlete Josh Harvey-Clemons is near the top of the list of those desired by Mark Richt and staff. Others include Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) four-star offensive lineman Avery Young and Hutchinson (Kansas) Hutchinson C.C. four-star wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
More Georgia: UGASports.com

3. Auburn Tigers
Current class rank: No. 20
Reason for the move: Miami Beach (Fla.) four-star wide receiver Ricardo Louis switched his commitment from Auburn to Florida State, before finally deciding to no one until he reaches his final decision - likely on National Signing Day. Louis is a Rivals250 prospect, so his departure hurt the ranking, but when the dust settles it is very likely he ends up back in the class for Gene Chizik.
Between now and NSD: In addition to Louis, Auburn is looking at a number of other Rivals250 prospects to close out the class. Auburn remains heavily involved with Rivals100 prospects such as five-star defensive tackle Eddie Goldman from Washington (D.C.) Friendship Collegiate Academy, five-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs from Olney (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel, four-star defensive end Leonard Williams from Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland, four-star cornerback Ronald Darby from Oxon Hill (Md.) Potomac, and four-star offensive tackle Avery Young from Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.). Auburn could be one of the biggest movers, in the right direction, over the final week.
More Auburn: AuburnSports.com

4. Wisconsin Badgers
Current class rank: No. 46
Reason for the move: The Badgers dropped with Fairless Hills (Pa.) Pennsbury four-star offensive tackle J.J. Denman's decision to switch his commitment to Rutgers. It dropped the Badgers' class to just 11 prospects and dropped them to just four four-star prospects total.
Between now and NSD: The bad news may not be over. Cleveland (Ohio) Cleveland Heights four-star offensive tackle Kyle Dodson is thought to be a likely candidate to switch his commitment, departing Wisconsin for most likely Ohio State. The Badgers will look to rally as they pursue the likes of Jeannette (Pa.) four-star safety Demetrious Cox, Chicago Simeon four-star offensive tackle Jordan Diamond and Whiteland (Ind.) three-star offensive tackle Jake Meador.
More Wisconsin: BadgerBlitz.com

5. Texas A&M Aggies
Current class rank: No. 10
Reason for the move: Texas A&M slipped a few spots, settling in at No. 10 overall. Their slight drop can be credited to Aledo (Texas) three-star offensive tackle Michael Wilson's decision to switch his commitment from the Aggies to Oklahoma State.
Between now and NSD: Texas A&M may very likely replace Wilson with Friendswood (Texas) three-star offensive tackle Seaver Myers. The biggest name that the Aggies remain involved with is Dallas (Texas) Skyline four-star wide receiver Thomas Johnson. Johnson is also looking heavily at Cal and Oregon. A linebacker is also another possible addition for Texas A&M before it reaches the finish line.
More Texas A&M:AggieYell.com



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