Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming has an exhausting schedule, even when he isn't traveling coast to coast from December to June to personally evaluate the top 1,500 football players in the nation.
In recent weeks, he has interviewed Johnsburg's C.J. Fiedorowicz, Proviso West's Kyle Prater and Fremd's Christian Lombard on his television show that is carried nation-wide by CBS College Sports. And he has attended games involving Lombard and Prospect's Miles Osei.
Lemming insists no offensive lineman in the Midwest is playing better than the 6-6, 295-pound Lombard, even better than Seantrel Henderson of St. Paul, Minn., who is widely regarded as the No. 1 player in the nation.
"Lombard is technically superior to anyone in the Midwest," Lemming said. "He was All-State last year but he is so much better this year, like an NFL lineman playing against high school kids. One Pac-10 coach told me that Lombard is playing better than any offensive lineman in the nation."
Lemming ranks Lombard as the No. 30 player in the nation, one of the four best offensive linemen. He accumulated 30 scholarship offers before making an oral commitment to Notre Dame in January, more than twice as many as any other player at the time. Goodness knows how many offers he would have today if he still was uncommitted. But Rivals doesn't even include him on its list of the top 250 prospects. Go figure.
Meanwhile, Lemming seems eager to persuade college recruiters that they are making a big mistake by not taking Osei more seriously. He has personally called some schools, including Indiana and Minnesota, to recommend him.
"Without a doubt, he is Big 10 material. He has 15 offers but none from the Big 10 or a BCS school," Lemming said. "To me, he is the real deal. He is like (former West Virginia star) Pat White. He throws a big-time ball. He is a lefty, a great athlete. If you are looking for someone to run the spread offense, there is none better than Osei."
Why hasn't Osei attracted more interest?
"There are a million reasons. Why didn't the colleges go after Jeff Garcia, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger or Kurt Warner?" Lemming said. "All of them struggled to get offers from big schools. Roethlisberger's dream was to go to Ohio State but they turned him down. All it takes is for one big school to offer..."
What about Fiedorowicz and Prater?
Fiedorowicz, who earlier committed to Illinois, has declared that he will visit Iowa and Wisconsin. He is concerned about how many catches the tight end gets in each offense. Illinois doesn't throw to the tight end very much. But Fiedorowicz said coach Ron Zook promised they will throw more often to the tight end when he gets there. The 6-7, 245-pounder has noticed that Iowa throws to its tight end.
Prater, who committed to USC one week and announced he will continue to make visits a week later, apparently has cooled on USC after receiving an unfavorable report from a former USC player. At this time, it seems more likely that the 6-4 wide receiver will choose Illinois or Oklahoma.