A Month to Remember

January is always crazy with recruiting but this year seemed a little extra special. Miami and Denver Kirkland parted ways last night, Reuben Foster visited San Diego State and Eddie Jackson came out of nowhere to land in Tuscaloosa. Here's a look at some of the big stories from each day this past January.

Tuesday, January 1
The month started off with Mackensie Alexander (Immokalee, Fla.) telling me that he was favoring Rutgers. This is after this four-star cornerback said he wanted to play in warm weather and play close to home. Since, he has visited Auburn and Mississippi State. Earlier this fall he visited Clemson and Texas A&M. It's expected that he trip to USF this final visit weekend.

Wednesday, January 2
Four-star wide receiver Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif.) committed to USC way back in June and backed off his pledge on this day. He was one of a few de-commitments for the Trojans following their disappointing season. He committed to Texas A&M last week after visiting the Aggies. He originally committed to USC over Texas A&M.

Thursday, January 3
One of the better stories of this past month was the commitment of three-star offensive tackle J.D. Hinnant (Fountain Valley, Calif.) to Cal. Driving to his final game this season his car was t-boned. He fractured his pelvis in multiple places, broke his tailbone and suffered a concussion. He missed a few scheduled official visits because he was either in the hospital recovering or not cleared to fly yet. Hinnant ended up committing to the Bears on this day, even with major concerns about his health because of the accident.

Friday, January 4
De'Asian Richardson (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) made his commitment to Louisville after watching the Cardinals dominant Florida in the Sugar Bowl. It was his second commitment. He originally committed to the Mountaineers.

Saturday, January 5
This was a big day for Louisville Trinity five-star receiver James Quick. He caught the game winning touchdown in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was the game's MVP. During the contest he also committed to Louisville over Ohio State. This was a gargantuan pickup for Cardinals coach Charlie Strong. There's not too many times the nation's top receiver selects Louisville over the Buckeyes. However we have seen some great prospects from the city of Louisville stay home like quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush.

Monday, January 7
Four-star receiver Demarcus Robinson (Ft. Valley, Ga./Peach County) went back and forth between Clemson and Florida. He first committed to the Tigers, then the Gators. Then during the dead period in December he flipped back to Clemson. Confused? So was Robinson. He then was supposed to make an official announcement during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl between the two. So where in there surfaced Notre Dame out of the blue. His uncle, former Bears receiever Marcus Robinson, lives in Chicago. DeMarcus Robinson was up against it, as he was an early enrollee. He just headed south to Gainesville and enrolled at the University of Florida. "#Gatornation here I come !", Demarcus Robinson posted vis his Twitter account.

Tuesday, January 8
Perhaps the most stunning commitment of the month was defensive lineman Demarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood). He committed to Alabama some time ago. There was thought that if Walker didn't stick with the Crimson Tide he would flip to Florida. After the Under Armour All-American Bowl Walker was scheduled to make a visit to Gainesville before he enrolled at Alabama. Instead, he went to Tallahassee and visited the Seminoles before starting school the following week. The irony here is twofold – first, Florida State barely recruited him at all during the process. Second, new FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt came from Alabama. There, he helped the Tide snag this five-star from the Sunshine State. And then he helped the Seminoles take him away from Nick Saban and Alabama. That goes to show you just how big relationships are in recruiting. It also shows you that no team is immune to a de-commitment. Not even the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide.

Also on this day Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) de-committed from Southern Cal after committing and planning on early enrollment with the Trojans. His plan to graduate high school in December and enroll with USC in January was a year in the making. Suddenly, the Trojans didn't have room. It's about the same time that USC picked up a commitment from four-star safety Leon McQuay (Seffner, Fla./Armwood). The strange irony here is that McQuay was an early enrolle for USC. That's a strange coincidence. Fitts has since visited UCLA and Notre Dame and is also considering Utah, Washington and USC.

Wednesday, January 9
This was a huge day for Nebraska, as they went out west to California and nabbed a great four-star running back in Terrell Newby (West Hills, Calif./ Chamindade Prep College). He was thought he would stay in the Pac 12 and perhaps land at UCLA. Thinking was Newby would be the heir apparent to Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin. That didn't happen as Bo Pelini stole this one.

Thursday, January 10
Cameron Echols-Luper (Auburn, Ala.) had been committed to Texas A&M for some time and looked like a perfect fit for Kevlin Sumlin's wide open spread attack at the slot receiver position. But that changed after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl when A&M received their ninth wide receiver commitment of this class from Tony Stevens. Soon after Echols-Luper de-committed and on this day announced for TCU. This is a very good pickup for the Horned Frogs.

Friday, January 11
Damon Mitchell (Egg Harbor City, N.J/ Cedar Creek) committed to Georgia Tech over summer. This fall he visited Wisconsin. Then he visited Arkansas because he liked the former Wisconsin coaches so much. Tech head coach Paul Johnson withdrew his scholarship offer to Mitchell. But suddenly, Johnson and the Yellow Jackets are softening their stance. So will he land in Fayetteville or end up back with Georgia Tech? Ultimately, Mitchell could end up staying home and playing at Rutgers.

Saturday, January 12
Three-star quarterback prospect Zach Allen was all set. He committed to the Orange in May and was supposed to enroll at Syracuse in January. That didn't happen. Doug Marrone left to take the Bills job. Allen decided at the last minute to sign with TCU, after a late offer from the Horned Frogs. They didn't do so until Marrone left for the NFL. He committed to TCU on this day and enrolled on the 14th.

Monday, January 14 Reon Dawson (Trottwood, Ohio/ Trottwood-Madison) switched his commitment to Michigan from Illinois on this day. Dawson visited the Wolverines the weekend prior and decided it was the best place for him. He's a three-star cornerback.

Tuesday, January 15
I could have slotted Florida State offensive guard commitment on a few different days in January. He kept setting official visit to schools only not to make them. He talked about or set visits to Florida, Miami, USF and others in December and January.

Wednesday, January 16
It was on and off again for Oregon and Chip Kelly. After telling the college football world he was staying with the Ducks it was announced on this day that he was leaving the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles. Kelly had taken Oregon to new heights while running the show both on and off the field. It will be interesting moving forward if Mark Helfrich can do the same as Kelly did when he took the reigns from Mike Bellotti.

Thursday, January 17
Ole Miss has made a ton of noise in this recruiting cycle. They were in on a ton of big name kids from the south and from other parts of the country. But who would they land? Nabbing five-star receiver from LaQuan Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) was huge and gave Rebel head coach a ton of momentum going down the stretch. A few days later Ole Miss all got a commitment from four-star defensive end Elijah Daniel (Avon, In.). I have never seen the Rebels recruit like this and they are far from done.

Saturday, January 19
The NCAA announced on this Saturday their new rules adoptions that will greatly affect the recruiting process moving forward. One rule will allow coaches to make unlimited phone calls and text messages to recruits. The other will allow programs to basically hire support staff where their sole focus will be on recruiting.

Sunday, January 20
On this day four-star wide receiver Tony Stevens (Orlando, Fla./Evans) made his third commitment. First, he committed to FSU very early in the process. After several months Stevens wanted to make visits. Stevens thought you had to be open and not committed to make official visits so he de-committed from FSU on twitter. Meanwhile, his relationship with FSU and the coaches went from good too poor over many weeks. He made an official visit to Texas A&M and soon committed to the Aggies on national TV during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Stevens wasn't done. He visited Auburn and committed to the Tigers on this day. Ironically, his high school teammate, wide receiver Dominic Walker, is now headed to Auburn as well. Walker was previously committed to Vandy and then Nebraska.

Monday, January 21
During the halftime of the Arizona vs. Southern Cal All-Star game, Phoenix (Az.) Thunderbird running back Kani Benoit announced he would play his college football at Colorado State. Later that day the CSU coaches had to tell Benoit that they no longer had a scholarship for him. Another running back beat him to the punch. He then committed to UNLV the next day. The last twist to the story is Oregon offered an official visit, with no offer, for this weekend. The Ducks did so out of fear of another running back de-committing from them. If this happens, Benoit could end up with an offer from Oregon, in which he will commit on the spot. Did you get all that?

Tuesday, January 22
Four-star offensive line prospect Brayden Kearsley (Beaverton, Ore./Aloha) tossed and turned with BYU and a few Pac 12 schools before picked the Cougars over Oregon State. This is the Northwest's top offensive line prospect and it was a very intense battle for BYU to win.

Wednesday, January 23
Rammi Hammad (Irving, Texas) got his dream offer from Texas late in the process and decided to go with the Longhorns after being committed to Baylor. This is a kid that had a super senior season where he really blew up and then had an outstanding Semper Fi All-Star Game. Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, Cincinnati, Michigan State and many other all offered him in January. His stock just took off.

Thursday, January 24
FSU assistant James Coley almost left for Lexington to join the new staff of Mark Stoops at the University of Kentucky. Most at FSU felt good Coley would be there in Tallahassee for the long haul. Then, out of nowhere, he accepted the offensive coordinator position at Miami, FSU's arch-rival. The irony here is the Coley is one of the South's best recruiters and his area of expertise is south Florida. The ‘Noles and ‘Canes are going head to head of many recruits in this class and next, so this move by Coley could be huge for Miami and hurt Florida State. Tim will tell.

Friday, January 25
There's no question that the fastest riser this season was five-star defensive end Chris Jones (Houston, Miss.). Credit Mississippi State as they landed him June and are now holding on for dear life. Jones had a monster senior season and even better post-season. Now the nation's No. 2 defensive end, Jones is being courted by anyone and everyone with offers from Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Florida and many others. He's resisted all but the Rebels. On this day he visited Ole Miss. This weekend he's going back to unofficially visit both Ole Miss and Mississippi State.

Saturday, January 26
Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett star linebacker Trey Johnson was committed to Auburn then backed off that pledge before committing to Ohio State at the Under Armour All-America Game earlier this month. This past weekend he made a unannounced official visit to Tennessee. While in Knoxville he was tweeting as if he was still back home in Georgia.

Sunday, January 27
After committing to both Notre Dame and Arkansas Jamel James is now committed to Texas State. That's a strange list of three schools.

Monday, January 28
Some believe that linebacker Reuben Foster is the nation's top prospect. We have him listed No. 2 overall. The nation's top linebacker from Auburn, Ala. shocked everyone when he announced this past Monday that he was visiting San Diego State the following day (1-29). Foster, previously committed to Auburn and Alabama, has also tripped to Washington and Georgia. The Aztecs are recruiting one of his two of his former teammates. Rumor has it that Foster wanted to see Tijuana. Foster will make his third commitment this Monday night at 10 p.m. on Fox Sports South's Next Class.

Tuesday, January 29
Four-star running back Jonathan Ford (New Hope, Ala.) finally decommitted from Vanderbilt. You saw finally because he's been a hot prospect of late, landing late offers from teams like Auburn, Georgia, Florida State and Tennessee. This is hard for the Commodores who evaluated and won this battle early. But to Ford's credit, he had a big time year and wanted to explore other options.

Wednesday, January 30 Not many knew who Eddie Jackson was prior to the 2012 campaign. But this Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) Boyd Anderson star had a monster season at both wide receiver and cornerback. He had early offers from teams like FIU and Hawaii but had late offers from Alabama, FSU, LSU, Arkansas and others. On this day he selected the Crimson Tide. For those that do not know is that he's Demar Dorsey's younger brother and like Dorsey, Jackson can absolutely fly on the football field.

Another big commitment was to the Vols and their new head coach Butch Jones, as they beat North Carolina on four-star wide receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek). This was huge for Tennessee and it's new staff. They had an a few short weeks to beat the favored Tar Heels. It's Jones first major recruiting coup in Knoxville.

Thursday, January 31
It was just a few hours before midnight when news broke that the University of Miami had pulled the scholarship for offensive guard Denver Kirkland. This one is weird, as the ‘Canes found themselves in a heated recruiting battling, particularly with FSU over Kirkland. He's from nearby Miami Booker. T. Washington. Now Kirkland will choose between Florida State, USF and Arkansas. There could be serious repercussions because of this. Kirkland's teammate is five-star outside linebacker Matthew Thomas. How will this affect his recruitment with the ‘Canes and will it only help FSU and the others? Next year you have more big time recruits from BTW, including the head coach's (Tim Harris) son, Treon Harris and quite a few others.

A special thanks to Brian Dohn, Allen Trieu, Greg Powers, John Garcia, Jason Jewell and Brandon Huffman for contributing to this story.

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