“Flipping” is the popular sport of recruits switching their commitments between colleges, and it’s a winter sport that usually happens in January.
However, there’s a new trend emerging: With prospects being offered earlier and earlier by colleges, flipping is now becoming a summer sport, too.
There have been several flips from longtime commits over the summer, including LB Reuben Foster (from Alabama to Auburn) and RB Derrick Henry (from UGA to likely another school this month). Both Foster and Henry had been committed to their first school for nearly a year.
We’re six months away from signing day and UGA has already had three de-commits. Along with Henry, there’s WR Kyrin Priester (who remains undecided) and WR Tramel Terry – who committed to UGA, de-committed and pledged again to the Bulldogs.
Georgia Tech convinced LB Nigel Bowden to flip from Vanderbilt but then he switched back to the Commodores. He’s a rare “double flipper.”
THE GEORGIA FLIPPERS: Keyante Green had a good reason to flip from UCLA to Purdue last weekend. Since the RB from Eagles Landing Christian Academy pledged to UCLA last February, he hadn’t really heard from them. (Note to all recruits: That is a bad sign) Said Green, “I really haven’t heard from them … once, maybe twice since February. They didn’t keep in touch with me. I tried to call sometimes and they never answered.” Some of the state’s other 2012 flippers are Lassiter QB Eddie Printz (from SMU to UCLA), Milton OL Eason Fromayan (Cincinnati to TCU) and Pepperell OL Andy Dodd (from Alabama to LSU).
THE POWER OF NKEMDICHE: Not only is Robert Nkemdiche the nation’s No. 1 overall college prospect, he also may be the most powerful. He sent Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and the team’s fans into widespread panic after he expressed his disappointment over the Rebels withdrawing the scholarship offer to Thomasville LB Mario Mathis, who had been committed for nearly three months. Nkemdiche first tweeted at Mathis, saying “Keep your head up.” Then Nkemdiche set off fire alarms across Mississippi when he tweeted “Messed up what [Ole Miss] did to Mario Mathis.” Quick summary: Mario’s father told the AJC that the scholarship was revoked by Ole Miss because “they didn’t like progress of his recovery from knee surgery” after his workout at last Friday’s summer camp. His father was obviously disappointed, as any parent would be, and his comments about Ole Miss were quite respectful if actually you read them. What set off the fire alarms was Nkemdiche’s reaction, because Ole Miss is convinced they have a great chance at flipping him from Clemson. From then on, it was full damage-control mode for Ole Miss for the rest of the day. Hugh Freeze was kind enough to call the AJC. Nice guy and enjoyed the conversation, but his staff likely made a rookie mistake by extending an offer and accepting a commitment from Mathis, even if it was on the contingency of Mario’s knee recovery. Mathis wasn’t being that highly recruited, and they put themselves in an awkward position by accepting a commitment that might later be taken away. Later that evening, Mario’s mother spoke to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal, saying, “Ole Miss has never been anything but honest with Mario. He’s not guaranteed a scholarship anywhere unless he can play on that leg. You can’t give a scholarship to someone who can’t physically play. It’s ridiculous to think otherwise.” Kind words by Mario’s mother, who still holds out hopes that Ole Miss will offer again when Mario is proven healthy. But we’d be pleasantly shocked if that happened. According to 247sports, Ole Miss has offered a mind-boggling 281 prospects and has 19 commitments for 2013. They appear to be holding spots for several high-profile prospects, including Nkemdiche, who would likely bring a couple of his Grayson teammates along. We also wonder if fire alarms would go off at Ole Miss if Nkemdiche sounded off on Christopher Robinson, a DT from Louisiana who was also “cut” by Ole Miss because of academic concerns last weekend after being committed since April, according to the Clarion-Ledger. Robinson’s coach vented on Ole Miss, telling the Shreveport Times, “(Ole Miss) said they weren’t able to get in touch with the counselor to see if a plan was in place for Chris to be eligible,” Wilson said. “I told them, ‘I guess you haven’t been talking to the right people.’” You’ve got to love the drama of recruiting. And it’s only August 1. We’re six months away from signing day.
MORE NKEMDICHE: The nation’s No. 1 overall prospect did a ton of interviews at an Alabama 7-on-7 camp and here’s the summary: He’s committed to Clemson, he will definitely go see his brother play football at Ole Miss this season, and he is “unsure” if he will take official visits to other schools – but if he does, USC and Oregon are candidates. He also may have broken one of his left fingers at the camp.
WACKIEST NKEMDICHE RUMOR OF THE WEEK: “Head to Head Radio” show, which is broadcast across the state of Mississippi, put the rumor out there that Nkemdiche’s father (who is a doctor) has accepted a job at University Medical Center in Jackson, Miss., and will start in May. Click here to read more.
BEST PACKAGE DEAL EVER? Everybody knows how Nkemdiche would love to play with a couple of his best friends at Clemson, but he’s got nothing on ESPN’s No. 1-ranked signee from 2012. DE Mario Edwards of Denton, Texas, signed with Florida State last February, and his father was quietly hired by FSU earlier this month. It’s a gray area with the NCAA and you can read more about it here. By the way, we don’t have any problems with “package deals.” We think every player should ask for the moon with all the profits the colleges make on the game.
RECRUITING AWARDS: Can anybody recruit better than Lane Kiffin? OK, maybe Nick Saban. USC has landed Penn State’s star transfer, RB Silas Redd, according to ESPN.
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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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