Looking ahead to national signing day on Feb. 3, Florida is way ahead of its closest rivals in its bid to land the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. And this could be the first time in my 30 years of evaluating high school talent that the Big 10 will fail to have at least one school in the top 10.
As of this moment, Florida rates No. 1 followed (in order) by Texas, Alabama, USC, Auburn, Oklahoma, Penn State, LSU, Florida State and Georgia. The fact that five SEC schools are on the elite list only re-emphasizes that the conference is most dominant of all.
If Penn State drops out, Texas A&M, Tennesse, Notre Dame or Michigan could climb into the top 10.
USC could catch Florida if new coach Lane Kiffin successfully woos offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson of St. Paul, Minn., the nation's top-rated prospect, and Lache Seastrunk, one of the nation's two best running backs.
Henderson, who is considering USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Minnesota, will announce his decision on signing day on CBS College Sports.
In the Midwest, nearly everybody is unhappy. For example, Ohio State has recruited a decent class but no super stars. If coach Jim Tressel lands Henderson, however, all will be forgiven.
Michigan is adding speed to his roster but, alas, no big-name players. Notre Dame has added no big-name players since coach Charlie Weis was fired. Penn State lost one of its top prospects, wide receiver Adrian Coxson of Baltimore, Md., who de-committed and now is considering Florida and Georgia.
The rest of the Big 10 is lagging behind. Illinois is very unhappy. Coach Ron Zook lost tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz to Iowa and wide receiver Kyle Prater to USC and likely will lose defensive back Corey Cooper.
Notre Dame is in on Henderson, Cooper, defensive lineman Bruce Gaston of St. Rita, defensive end J.R. Ferguson of Chatham, Va., safety Jeremy Loane of Honolulu, Hawaii, safety Dietrich Riley of La Canada, Calif., and offensive lineman Matt James of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Loane is the hardest hitting safety in the country. He also is considering Washington and Iowa. Riley also is considering USC and UCLA.
But Notre Dame suffered a major loss when Anthony Barr of Los Angeles, Calif., opted for UCLA. It is Notre Dame's biggest loss of the year. His father played at Notre Dame. But his girlfriend transferred to UCLA this year. And Barr played on the same high school team as the son of UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel. Obviously, UCLA had a lot going for them.