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January 29, 2013
Roundtable: Who has the biggest need?
Today's question: MVP, Most Valuable Prospect. Which program most needs a certain 2013 prospect -- and who is that prospect -- and why?
Mike Farrell, National/Mid-Atlantic: I think Miami really needs to keep linebacker Matthew Thomas at home. With the NCAA mess going on and on with no resolution in site for months, and with the 'Canes taking a smaller class on purpose, Thomas is a key here. Al Golden & Co. really need to keep the big-time locals home, and I think Thomas would send a message to the rest of the top prospects in South Florida for 2014 and beyond that he believes in the direction of the program.
Adam Friedman, Mid-Atlantic: Mackensie Alexander is proving to be one of the most coveted players left. So many programs would love to land his commitment that they are telling other players to wait to try to commit because the team would want Alexander instead. One reason for the delay in Alexander's decision is that he is trying to decide if he wants to go to the same school as his brother, Mackenro Alexander. It is likely that the school that offers both of the Alexander brothers has the best shot at landing the higher-rated Mackensie. One of those teams is Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have only one four-star player in Nadir Barnwell. If the Alexanders head to the New Jersey school, it would provide a huge boost to a recruiting class that is lacking a marquee player.
Kynon Codrington, Southeast: I feel Kevin Olsen is the most valuable prospect for the Miami Hurricanes' 2012 class. UM has been searching for a franchise QB since Ken Dorsey led the 'Canes to the BCS title game 10 years ago against Ohio State. After the up-and-down careers of Kyle Wright and Jacory Harris, Quarterback U is looking for a signal caller to return the once proud program to the status of national power. Olsen is an accurate pocket passer who makes good decisions. He is UM's highest-rated offensive prospect and figures to have the biggest impact of any player in this class for the 'Canes.
Woody Wommack, Southeast: For me, it's still Ole Miss and Robert Nkemdiche. There's no doubt the decision of several high-profile players to commit to the Rebels stems from the anticipated commitment of the nation's No. 1. Barring unforeseen happenings, Nkemdiche will still end up in Oxford, but if he were to change his mind, not only would it hurt Ole Miss' chances of landing some of its top remaining targets, but it would also hinder the school's ability to hang on to its already impressive class.
Jason Howell, Southwest: This took some thinking, but I am going with Rivals100 running back Altee Tenpenny and the Arkansas Razorbacks. This is more for what it means in recruiting than what it would mean to the depth chart. Grabbing Tenpenny would give the Razorbacks' new regime a big win over a conference power in Alabama, and it would also give them the state's No. 1 prospect. It would bring in a running back who fits well with what coach Bret Bielema does best.
Josh Helmholdt, Midwest: This may be a little out of left field, but I am going to say Purdue and four-star quarterback commit Danny Etling. New Boilermakers head coach Darrell Hazell is struggling to pull the pieces together on this 2013 class before National Signing Day, but in the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Etling he has shored up the most important position on the field with one of the country's top passers. Etling can be a great distributor and has the ability to elevate the play of those around him.
Rob Cassidy, West: I think the easy choice is Robert Nkemdiche and Ole Miss. I don't think it's for the obvious reasons, though. Of course the No. 1 player in the country would be able to make an instant impact in Oxford, but it's as much about the statement it would make as it is the results it would yield. The Rebels are already a hot team on the recruiting trail for 2013, but landing the top player in the country would give the Ole Miss staff another monster victory to point to in other players' living rooms. These things go in streaks. And when a certain school becomes "fashionable," the results tend to compound. Just ask Texas A&M or Vanderbilt.
Adam Gorney, West: If UCLA gets Eddie Vanderdoes, it would be big for multiple reasons. First, he's a college-ready defensive tackle who could make an immediate impact for the Bruins. Teaming him with Ellis McCarthy would be scary good for UCLA for years to come. It would also send a message to USC because Vanderdoes was committed there, UCLA beat the Trojans this past season and getting one of their former top recruits would be huge. I'm hearing good things in regard to UCLA and Kylie Fitts, too, so that would be a double whammy when it comes to top recruits still left on the board who had once been committed across town.