The Blitz

In today's blitz I talk about the top producing states, why Notre Dame is having so many offensive problems, Kyle Rudolph, Patrick Johnson, and more. Please submit your questions by clicking on this story.

The Blitz is back, answering your recruiting and footbal questions. If there is something you would like to submit please click on the link on the bottom of this story.

What places around the nation do you see as underrated or on the rise? Maybe New York, Arizona, Nebraska, Utah, Colorado, Wisconsin, or the New England area??

Honestly, I think that varies year to year. For instance, last season I thought Tennessee, North Carolina, and Michigan were three surprise states with not just numbers but also the quality of the higher end player. This season I would call Alabama and Arizona two surprises with all the talent there, especially in the three and four star range (in Alabama). I do believe that there are some underrated states like New Jersey, Virginia and Louisiana. Who would have thought that Virginia would rank sixth on the list below? Much of the under appreciation for this trio and others is regional perception. For instance, when you talk about recruiting in the South, it seems like Florida and Georgia steal all the thunder and up north it's always Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Lets break it down a little further. First you have the big three states – Texas, Florida and California. For the Class of 2005 an astonishing 962 prospects signed 1-A scholarships for those three states. That represents 39.3% of all the signed prospects that year. If you look at the top five states (adding Georgia and Ohio) then those five accounted for 50.8% of all 1-A signees. The rest of all the college football prospects for the Class of 2005 came from 41 other states, the District of Columbia, Samoa and Canada.

If you break it down by region the South led the way in '05 accounting for 31.8% of all signees. The Southwest (522 signees) checked in at No. 2, followed by the West (421 – 17.7%), Midwest (382 – 16.1%) and East (297 – 12.5).

1-A signees by state for the Class of 2005
1) Texas 389
2) Florida 341
3) California 232
4) Georgia 148
5) Ohio 131
6) Virginia 88
7) Pennsylvania 86
8) Alabama 83
9) Louisiana 72
10) North Carolina 59
11) Illinois 57
12) Mississippi 50
13) Michigan 48
13) New Jersey 48
15) Maryland 47
16) Tennessee 40
17) Oklahoma 39
18) New York 37
18) South Carolina 37
20) Arizona 36
21) Colorado 35
22) Washington 30
23) Missouri 29
24) Hawaii 26
24) Indiana 26
24) Kentucky 26
27) Arkansas 22
27) Utah 22
29) Connecticut 18
29) Minnesota 18
31) Wisconsin 16
32) Nevada 14
33) Massachusetts 12
34) Nebraska 11
35) Oregon 10
36) Iowa 9
37) Canada 8
37) Kansas 8
39) New Mexico 7
40) Idaho 6
41) DC 5
42) Samoa 3
42) North Dakota 3
42) West Virginia 3
45) Delaware 2
45) New Hampshire 2
45) Wyoming 2
48) Alaska 1

There has been a lot of speculation that Kyle Long may end up playing football in college and if he does it will be at Ohio State. It is widely considered that he is the best or arguably one of the best offensive lineman in the country. Have you heard anything on the Kyle Long front? Would he be a top 10 overall recruit in the nation if he was properly rated?
Miami, Florida
I have heard the same as you, that if Kyle Long does decide on playing college football it could be at Ohio State. Having said that we will have to wait and see if Long decides to make a visit or two in the coming weeks and months. Right now as you know he is committed to Florida State and will play baseball for the Seminoles. If he decides to play football at FSU he would have to count towards one of their football scholarships and he would be a baseball walk-on.

In terms of Long as an offensive tackle prospect he has very good upside. Long, 6-7 and 290 pounds, is from Charlottesville (Va.) St. Anne's-Belfield High School. Being such a good player in both baseball and football doesn't let Long devout all his time to one sport. If he did decide to concentrate solely on football rather than split time with baseball, he would be that much better (or vice versa).

We currently have him rated as a three-star prospect and No. 38 overall at the offensive tackle position. Personally, I see him as more of a mid-four star prospect that would sit some where in the 18-20 range if it was football only for Long.

How can Notre Dame be this bad? They do have talent on this team.
Chicago, Illinois

It has been a nightmare 0-4 start for Head Coach Charlie Weis and his Fighting Irish. You can point your finger at many things as to why but I think it starts up front across the offensive line and the attrition that Notre Dame had among the recruiting classes from '03, '04 and '05. The Irish totaled 53 signees among those three classes and only 24 remain with the team. Of those two dozen Michael Turkovich, Paul Duncan, John Carlson, David Grimes, Asaph Schwapp, Terrail Lambert, Tommy Zbikowski, David Bruton, Trevor Laws, Pat Kuntz, Justin Brown, Maurice Crum, Joe Brockington, and Anthony Vernaglia currently start while only five other players from those three classes stand as backups in their two deep depth chart.

The class of 2003 would be fifth year seniors in South Bend. Among that group only one is an offensive lineman. There are currently no fourth year senior o-linemen on the roster and only two junior offensive linemen on the team. So there was a period there when Notre Dame really missed on the offensive front and they are paying for it now. There are currently 10 offensive linemen on the team that are freshmen and sophomore. Factor in that you lost your starting wide receivers, running backs and quarterback and you are playing a true freshman quarterback with virtually a brand new offensive line and you have the makings of an absolute nightmare in South Bend.

Do you see Patrick Johnson sticking with his commitment to Miami or signing else where?
Dallas, Texas

I tell you what, if the University of Miami plays out the rest of the season like they played when they whipped Texas A&M last Thursday night then I don't expect Patrick Johnson or any other of the Hurricane commitments to end up else where. But there is a long season ahead and Miami, especially offensively, has to show consistency. In terms of recruiting, Johnson has already taken an official visit to Florida and he wants to check out Southern Cal. If the ‘Canes struggles I could certainly see Johnson playing in Gainesville or L.A. Regardless, the Gators and Trojans are going to put up a major fight for the nation's top cornerback prospect. Johnson, from Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely High School, took his official visit to UF when they played Tennessee.

What are your thoughts about Notre Dame commitment Kyle Rudolph? What makes him such a special player and the No. 1 tight end in the nation?
Sioux City, Iowa
Kyle Rudolph is a fantastic looking prospect from Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder High School. Rudolph, 6-7 and 235 pounds, plays tight end and he has committed to Notre Dame. Rudolph has great size and an even better frame. He is long and lean and has the frame to get put on so much muscle weight at the next level. You could see him playing at 250-260 in a few years and still maintain is speed, quickness and athleticism. Rudolph gets off the line quickly, runs well and has soft hands. In fact Rudolph shows great hands and concentration and has the ability to make the acrobatic catch or the tough catch in traffic. He will go over the middle, find the soft spot in the defense, make the catch and take the hit. Rudolph can also be flexed out wide. As far as run blocking goes he is like having another offensive tackle on the field. Rudolph is a terrific run blocker.

Rudolph is the top rated tight end. He leads a solid group at this position. Sure there are others that may be bigger, faster or more athletic. But Rudolph is the type of kid that just does everything so well. He has great upside.

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