Predicting Destinations for Top 25 Uncommitted 2014 College Football Recruits

Tyler Donohue@@TDsTakeNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 31, 2014

Predicting Destinations for Top 25 Uncommitted 2014 College Football Recruits

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    The countdown toward national signing day, when America's top prospects put pen to paper and officially declare their collegiate intentions, is ticking closer to expiration. The majority of recruits have already announced their college plans, but several remain in private deliberation.

    Ahead, we focus on the top 25 uncommitted players and predict which program will ultimately receive their signed letter of intent on Wednesday.


    Player ratings and official visit information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.

25. 4-Star DT Poona Ford (Hilton Head Island, S.C.)

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    Schools in the mix: Texas, Purdue, Missouri

    Poona Ford is likely on the verge of reuniting with Charlie Strong, to whom he initially committed at Louisville. The 6'0", 285-pound prospect fills a position in dire need of attention at Texas, as three defensive linemen left the class after a coaching change.

    Prediction: Texas

    Actual choice: Texas

24. 4-Star ATH Raymon Minor (Richmond, Va.)

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    Schools in the mix: Virginia Tech, Marshall, Nebraska

    The Hokies seem to be in the driver's seat for the final days of Raymon Minor's recruitment. They received a visit from the 6'3", 210-pound Benedictine High School standout during the last weekend of official visits, according to Doug Doughty of The Roanoke Times. The running back and linebacker spent an official visit at Marshall in mid-January and traveled to Lincoln during the regular season.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech

    Actual choice: Virginia Tech

23. 4-Star DE Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga.)

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    Schools in the mix: Clemson, Auburn, Ole Miss

    Andrew Williams was set to host Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and Auburn coach Gus Malzahn for in-home visits during the final weekend before signing day, per Michael Burns of The Spectrum. The 6'4", 247-pound Eagle's Landing Christian High School defensive end spent official visits at both schools in January and traveled to each campus during the regular season. Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze visited Williams on Jan. 22, per 247Sports.

    Prediction: Auburn

22. 4-Star RB Donte Thomas-Williams (Durham, N.C.)

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    Schools in the mix: North Carolina State, West Virginia, UCLA

    Hillside High School running back Donte Thomas-Williams is a strong lean toward West Virginia despite the attention of several suitors. According to 247Sports, he hosted several members of the Mountaineers coaching staff earlier this week and has named WVU his leader. It was his third in-person visit from the team in January, and he is clearly a top priority. Thomas-Williams spent time at N.C. State during the regular season.

    Prediction: West Virginia

    Actual choice: West Virginia

21. 4-Star CB Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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    Schools in the mix: South Carolina, Wisconsin

    Chris Lammons decommitted from Florida in early January, ending a five-month pledge. The cornerback has received several in-home visits from Wisconsin in the past few weeks. However, the Badgers added multiple defensive backs in January, and Steve Spurrier recently journeyed to Fort Lauderdale for a personal visit, as reported by Phil Kornblut of The Post and Courier.

    Prediction: South Carolina

    Actual choice: South Carolina

20. 4-Star ILB Kenny Young (New Orleans)

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    Schools in the mix: LSU, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Arkansas, UCLA

    Les Miles would love to land one of the top playmakers from Louisiana state champion John Curtis Christian High School. But Kenny Young was busy exploring other options in January, including official visits to Texas A&M, Arkansas and Oklahoma State. He wrapped things up with a trip to UCLA, where the Bruins have made a recent run at top-tier linebackers.

    Prediction: UCLA

    Actual choice: UCLA

19. 4-Star CB Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga.)

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    Schools in the mix: South Carolina, Georgia

    Wesley Green, a 5'11", 170-pound cornerback prospect, will pick between a pair of SEC rivals. He has spent significant time on each campus, including a January official visit to South Carolina. Green was set to use his final official visit in Athens, and new Bulldogs defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt surely hoped to impress, but a family emergency reportedly kept Green from sticking to his plans, per Michael Carvell of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Prediction: Georgia

18. 4-Star OT Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo.)

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    Schools in the mix: Florida State, Ohio State

    Roderick Johnson has journeyed to Tallahassee twice since the end of his junior year, including an official visit in December. Florida State is the front-runner here, but that could change if fellow 4-star offensive tackle Jamarco Jones flips from Ohio State to Michigan State in the coming days.

    Prediction: Florida State

    Actual choice: Florida State

17. 4-Star S Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla.)

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    Schools in the mix: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Auburn

    Jenks High School safety Steven Parker earned First-Team All-USA honors as a senior and saw his stock rise. Nearby Oklahoma has always been in the picture, while Texas A&M received an official visit in November. Auburn made a late push for his services with a Feb. 1 official visit, opening the door for a possible SEC career.

    Prediction: Auburn

    Actual choice: Oklahoma

16. 4-Star DE Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif.)

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    Schools in the mix: Vanderbilt, California, Stanford

    Nifae Lealao is a prime target for former Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason, who is now the head coach at Vanderbilt. Previously committed to the Cardinal, Lealao visited the Commodores on Jan. 31.

    Prediction: Vanderbilt

    Actual choice: Vanderbilt

15. 4-Star DT Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va.)

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    Schools in the mix: Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Florida State, Virginia

    After visiting Florida State, Ohio State and Virginia Tech after the regular season, Derrick Nnadi took a somewhat surprising trip to Virginia for his final official visit. He dropped Penn State from his list in late January.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech

    Actual Choice: Florida State

14. 4-Star DT Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla.)

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    Schools in the mix: LSU, Miami

    Travonte Valentine decommitted from Miami in early January but still thought highly enough of the Hurricanes to spend an official visit on campus weeks later. He also visited LSU, where Les Miles aims to swipe a top talent from Al Golden's backyard.

    Prediction: Miami

    Actual choice: LSU

13. 4-Star OG Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan.)

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    Schools in the mix: Texas A&M, TCU, Auburn

    Braden Smith, a powerful 6'6", 290-pound guard, has family ties to TCU, where his sister is a scholarship athlete. He visited the Horned Frogs last after spending time on campus at Texas A&M, Auburn and Notre Dame in January.

    Prediction: TCU

    Actual choice: Auburn

12. 4-Star ATH Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif.)

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    Schools in the mix: Notre Dame, UCLA, USC, Oklahoma

    Michiah Quick is likely to contribute at wide receiver in college, and he has his options of several explosive offensive attacks. He spent an official visit at USC in mid-January before receiving a visit from members of the Oklahoma coaching staff. He reportedly canceled a late visit to UCLA, per Edward Lewis of Bruin Sports Report, which doesn't bode well for the Bruins.

    Prediction: Oklahoma

    Actual choice: Oklahoma

11. 4-Star ATH Budda Baker (Bellevue, Wash.)

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    Schools in the mix: Washington, UCLA

    Budda Baker, the top-ranked player in Washington, is a top priority for Chris Petersen. He spent an official visit at UCLA in January, but Petersen's staff is persistent on landing a premier prospect in the first recruiting class of a new Huskies regime.

    Prediction: Washington

    Actual choice: Washington

10. 4-Star OG Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif.)

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    Schools in the mix: BYU, Alabama, USC

    Damien Mama, the nation's top-rated offensive guard, eliminated UCLA a week before signing day. He has always had strong allegiances to USC, but BYU got the final visit and remains very much alive in this race against two powerhouse programs.

    Prediction: USC

    Actual choice: USC

9. 5-Star DE Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich.)

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    Schools in the mix: Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State

    Malik McDowell is at the center of a power struggle between teams from the Big Ten and beyond. Since spending an official visit at Michigan State on Jan. 24, he has received visits from Urban Meyer, Jimbo Fisher and Brady Hoke. The Spartans' defensive reputation is surging right now after a Rose Bowl win.

    McDowell's decision may be greatly impacted by his family, who prefer that he leaves his home state.

    "I want him out of Michigan," his father, Greg McDowell, told 247Sports writer Steve Wiltfong. "I don’t care if that’s Ohio State or Florida State.”

    Still, it's ultimately his decision to make.

    Prediction: Michigan State

    Actual choice: Michigan State

8. 5-Star OT Damian Prince (District Heights, Md.)

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    Schools in the mix: Maryland, Florida

    Maryland has applied plenty of pressure in trying to keep its top in-state target close to home. However, his official visit to Florida on Jan. 31 introduced a major hurdle for the Terrapins on the way to national signing day.

    Prediction: Florida

    Actual choice: Maryland

7. 5-Star DE Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas)

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    Schools in the mix: Stanford, Arkansas, UCLA

    Solomon Thomas has often lauded Stanford's educational reputation, but Bret Bielema continues to make a major effort toward swaying the defensive end to Fayetteville, Ark. He eliminated Texas and Ohio State from contention two weeks before signing day.

    Prediction: Stanford

    Actual choice: Stanford

6. 5-Star WR Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla.)

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    Schools in the mix: Florida State, Miami

    Ermon Lane backed off his pledge to Florida a month before national signing day. He quickly caught increased attention from Sunshine State rivals Miami and Florida State. He had his final official visit in Tallahassee, Fla., on Jan. 31. You can be sure he'll spend plenty of time with Jameis Winston.

    Prediction: Florida State

    Actual choice: Florida State

5. 5-Star ATH John Smith (Long Beach, Calif.)

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    Schools in the mix: USC, Oregon, Notre Dame, UCLA

    John Smith seems destined to compete in the Pac-12, barring a surprise commitment to Notre Dame. The nation's No. 3-ranked athlete could star at safety or receiver at the next level. Oregon would appear to provide his best opportunity to touch the ball on a routine basis in an uptempo attack.

    Prediction:  Oregon

4. 5-Star DE Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga.)

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    Schools in the mix: Florida, LSU, Georgia, Florida State

    Defensive end Lorenzo Carter continues to be wooed by some of the top defenses in the land. He spent time on campus at LSU and Florida State in January. Carter is close with the Bulldogs staff—especially after a Jan. 31 official visit—and would play in front of familiar faces in Athens.

    Prediction: Georgia

    Actual choice: Georgia

3. 5-Star WR Malachi Dupre (New Orleans)

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    Schools in the mix: Florida State, UCLA, Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU

    Malachi Dupre ranks No. 2 nationally among wide receiver recruits, so it's no surprise his recruitment still spans the country. He received in-home visits from Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin and Les Miles on Jan. 30, per Glenn Guilbeau of the Shreveport Times, before boarding a plane to head to UCLA.

    Dupre has long been considered a favorite to land at LSU.

    “I get pressure from everybody to stay in Louisiana, but I don’t let that affect me, because I have to go to the best place for myself,” Dupre told Advocate reporter Rod Walker.

    Prediction: LSU

    Actual choice: LSU

2. 5-Star OLB Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala.)

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    Schools in the mix: Alabama, Auburn, UCLA

    Rashaan Evans attends Auburn High School, so it would sting for the Tigers if he bolted for Alabama. He was slated to wrap up his recruitment with an official visit to UCLA but ultimately bailed on those plans, setting up a showdown between SEC rivals.

    Evans is finally nearing the conclusion of a dizzying recruitment.

    “It’s been pretty hectic,” Evans told writer Greg Ostendorf. “I really haven’t had just a good week to myself, with me and my family, where we don’t have people calling us or coming to see us or having to go on visits or anything.”

    Prediction: Auburn

    Actual choice: Alabama

1. 5-Star CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif.)

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    Schools in the mix: LSU, USC, Florida, UCLA

    Adoree' Jackson received in-home visits from Les Miles and Butch Jones recently, proving he's a prospect worth logging miles to meet. The nation's top-ranked cornerback is front and center in a territorial battle between UCLA and USC, where his high school quarterback, Jalen Greene, recently enrolled.

    Prediction: USC

    Actual choice: USC

National Recruiting Heat Map

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    The national recruiting spectrum continues to be impacted during the final stages of a busy recruiting process. Here's a look at how America's football hotbeds break down.