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January 31, 2013

Roundtable: Biggest battles down the stretch

MORE: Countdown to Signing Day

Each day leading up to National Signing Day, Rivals.com's analysts will convene at the Recruiting Roundtable and debate a current recruiting topic.

Today's question: Which two-team battle is brewing up as the biggest one down the stretch and for what prospect(s)?

Mike Farrell, National/Mid-Atlantic: I'll say Mississippi State and Ole Miss for five-star DE Chris Jones. There's nothing better than a heated in-state battle, and the Bulldogs really need to keep Jones in the fold with all the momentum the Rebels have. Jones could visit both during the weekend before he decides, a rarity right before Signing Day.

Adam Friedman, Mid-Atlantic: There has been a three-team battle between Maryland, South Carolina and Florida State for a while now in the Mid-Atlantic. All three teams were competing for two Rivals250 players from Washington (D.C.) and Maryland. Na'ty Rodgers recently chose the Gamecocks and Yannick Ngakoue is set to decide from among the three of them on Signing Day. Maryland and South Carolina are the two leaders for Ngakoue, so it is possible that the Head Ball Coach could come away with both prospects.

Kynon Codrington, Southeast: Florida State and Miami are neck and neck down the stretch for five-star OLB Matthew Thomas and four-stars Denver Kirkland and Stacy Coley. Miami appears to be in good shape for Thomas and Kirkland with FSU getting the slight edge with Coley. Both schools need to end up with at least one and hopefully all three from a perception standpoint as it will be hard to justify these prospects going out of state for college.

Woody Wommack, Southeast: The one I'm focused on is the battle for Montravius Adams between Georgia and Clemson. There's no doubt both teams could use a player of his talents on the defensive line, and his decision could sway other prospects as well. It seems like I hear conflicting information every other day, so I'll be chasing this one down to the wire.

Josh Helmholdt, Midwest: In the Midwest it would have to be the battle between West Virginia and Tennessee for Rivals250 wide receiver Shelton Gibson out of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. For the last year it appeared Gibson was headed to Ohio State, but those parties parted ways earlier this month and Gibson committed to West Virginia shortly after. He then took an official visit to Tennessee the weekend of Jan. 18, and I am told has not come to a final decision between the two programs. That choice could be made this weekend, but a final decision will not be announced until Signing Day.

Jason Howell, Southwest: In the Southwest, Texas A&M is in a few fights, but the biggest is probably with USC over Rivals250 defensive end Torrodney Prevot. The standout defender has been committed to USC since late July, and while he has held solid to his commitment he has also talked openly about taking other visits. Last weekend Prevot took a visit to Texas A&M and the Aggies also hold a commitment from Alief Taylor teammate Jonathan Wiggins. At this point he is still committed to the Trojans, but Texas A&M is taking this one to the wire.

Rob Cassidy, West: I'm interested in the battle between Washington and Oregon for the Robinson twins. I'm a sucker for a package deal. Then, who isn't? What's not to like about two for the price of one? Both Tyree Robinson and Tyrell Robinson remain committed to the Ducks, but there's real interest in Washington. The brothers discussed taking a visit to Seattle even before Chip Kelly left Eugene. Now that he's gone and the Robinsons will, indeed, make that trip, things will get interesting. I think Oregon holds a slight edge, but I wouldn't bet against the Huskies, either. The twins' high school coach is a former teammate of Washington assistant Marques Tuiasosopo.

Adam Gorney, West: I know the question is a two-team battle but I have one better: a three-team battle that could get really, really interesting. Some swear Jalen Ramsey is 100 percent committed to USC and he'll end up there, but others think Florida State and Florida have more than a legitimate shot. Ramsey has certainly made it interesting down the stretch in his recruitment, and whichever program signs him is getting one of the top cornerbacks in this class who could be an immediate contributor. USC parting ways with position coach Marvin Sanders recently probably didn't help, but it might be a little overdone on how important it is to Ramsey when all is said and done.



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