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January 28, 2013
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 coach do you expect to work the most magic in the final week leading into National Signing Day?
Mike Farrell, National/Mid-Atlantic: This is a tough one to answer because a lot of the top uncommitted kids could all end up at different schools.
Adam Friedman, Mid-Atlantic: The Florida State coaching staff has the biggest upside because Yannick Ngakoue and Tashawn Bower are considering the Seminoles. I think that Mike Locksely and the Maryland Terps will be able to work the most magic, bringing Ngakoue back into the fold as signing day nears.
Kynon Codrington, Southeast: I expect Hugh Freeze to continue to work his magic and land the nation's No. 1 rated prospect in Robert Nkemdiche on National Signing Day. In addition to that, Freeze will probably get the Magnolia State's second-highest-rated athlete as Antonio Conner is expected to stay home despite a strong push from Alabama. Ole Miss is likely to end up in the Top 5 of the Rivals.com Team Rankings.
Woody Wommack, Southeast: There are two coaches who are already known for their ability to close who I'm expecting to live up to their reputations. Both Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are still chasing some of the nation's top prospects and there's no doubt they'll land at least a few. There's a reason Alabama is always in the race for the No. 1 spot in the recruiting rankings as well as the on-field rankings and Saban continues to be a tenacious recruiter, helping his program reload every signing day.
Josh Helmholdt, Midwest: Ohio State's Urban Meyer made a lot of noise in the final week before National Signing Day last year, and I expect the Buckeyes are a top storyline in the final week before Signing Day this year as well. Already with 22 commits and the No. 4 class nationally, Ohio State could take three or four additional commits if they get the right guys. Among those the Buckeyes are strongly in the mix for are five-star safety Vonn Bell, four-star wide receiver James Clark, four-star athlete Cornelius Elder, four-star running back Dontre Wilson, four-star offensive lineman Cameron Hunt, three-star wide receiver Ryan Timmons and three-star offensive tackle Dan Skipper. Meyer will not land all those guys, but expect him to add a few to this class in the next nine days.
Jason Howell, Southwest: I do not know if there is another coach out there who has worked more magic than Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, but Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze is certainly giving it a try. I'm going with Freeze because he has already struck big in the Midwest, he has picked up some solid kids in Texas, and he is very much in the mix for some more five-star talent.
Adam Gorney, West: Some rabbits have already been pulled out by UCLA coach Jim Mora by landing Tyler Foreman, Johnny Johnson, Priest Willis and Tahaan Goodman all in the last few days -- and they're all four-star defensive backs -- but the Bruins might not be done yet. I keep hearing only good things about UCLA and Kylie Fitts, the former USC commit, and if Eddie Vanderdoes ends up there, then that's really the icing on the cake. Patrick Enewally is also leaning toward UCLA so the Bruins, who have been doing an excellent job in recruiting this cycle, could close strong, too.
Rob Cassidy, West: At this point, I'm not counting UCLA out of anything. It has a young, energetic staff that wouldn't shock me by swiping a player or two at the deadline. Devon Allen is still in play despite being committed to Oregon. Eddie Vanderdoes is still a possibility as well. I learned a while ago not to count out Jim Mora's staff. What it is doing as the "other" team in L.A is remarkable.