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Decisions awaited from South Florida’s top football recruits

Sun., Feb. 3, 2013

The vast majority of South Florida’s elite football prospects have made up their minds. The commitments have been pouring in, and only a few players remain uncommitted ahead of Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

But those uncommitted players are the big fish left in the nation’s best recruiting pond.

These are the players that get the signing-day specials on ESPN networks – the athletes that can make or break a coach’s recruiting class.

During the college football bowl season, recruiting was limited by the NCAA, but after Alabama took home the national championship, it was game on.

For the past month, coaches have been canvassing the South Florida landscape, peddling their four-year programs with a fevered intent.

As of today, NCAA recruiting rules dictate that coaches can’t have face-to-face contact with recruits and their parents.

So now, those coaches wait while the young men decide which school is best for them.

South Plantation’s Alex Collins is the nation’s top-rated running back. For a while, he was committed to play at Miami, but a cacophony of dissuaders led him to drop that commitment, making him, in essence, a free agent for the final three months of the recruiting process.

During that time, Collins has become priority No. 1 for a number of coaching staffs.

When Brett Bielema jumped from being the coach at Wisconsin to Arkansas, he took his game plan to sign Collins with him, and he used the extra resources in Fayetteville to help.

Bielema has put on the full-court press in courting Collins, but, ironically, it might be the Miami basketball team that could be the difference in where Collins signs.

When the Hurricanes blew out No. 1 Duke, Collins stormed the court with UM students. A little before that, the crowd chanted his name.

On appearances, Collins will decide between Arkansas and Miami, but he’s not saying anything that could be left to interpretation. Not before Monday, at least.

The same silence is coming from the camp of Northeast wide receiver Stacy Coley – but that silence has been year-long. The nation’s No. 3-rated receiver has kept his recruitment process quiet, and that has kept fans of Miami and Florida State grasping for straws as they try to predict where he’ll sign.

While the suspense of Collins and Coley’s decisions have fan bases in a paralysis of worry, two of South Florida’s best say that they’ve already made up their minds.

Chaminade-Madonna defensive back Adrian Baker committed last week, but his destination is a secret until National Signing Day.

Baker had a public commitment and a well-publicized December break-up with Florida State, after which, he narrowed down his choices to Clemson and Oklahoma.

University School wide receiver Jordan Cunningham says he has his mind made up too, but he’s not in any rush to sign that letter-of-intent.

Cunningham has narrowed his list down to four schools, Vanderbilt, Stanford, Florida State and Miami.

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