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October 25, 2012

Mid-Atlantic mailbag: Silent commit for ND?

MORE: Mind of Mike | Rankings of Yore

Rivals.com Mid-Atlantic recruiting analyst Mike Farrell addresses questions from readers in his weekly mailbag.

SEC to Big East flip?

What are the chances Tashawn Bower flips to Rutgers as Auburn loses and Rutgers continues to win?
-- Floyd from Teaneck, NJ

This has become a hot topic recently, mainly because of a perfect storm of events. Rutgers remains undefeated and poised to make a run at a BCS bowl, while Auburn is floundering and coach Gene Chizik is on the hottest seat possible. On top of that, Bower has long been very comfortable on the Rutgers campus and attended RU's most recent home victory against Syracuse. But is there any real substance to all of this? While this may not play out until an official announcement is made by Auburn regarding Chizik and his staff, Rutgers is very much a player if they are let go. Bower is very much a local prospect, has friends on the team and at the school, and is getting a good amount of push to stay at home.

Staying close to home

Robert Foster is visiting Alabama this weekend and now there are rumors about an Ohio State visit as well. Can Pitt still land him?
-- John from Aliquippa, Pa.

Throughout the process, Foster has not had much interest in dealing with the publicity that usually comes with being a four-star prospect. With an official to Alabama this weekend, it will certainly be tempting as he watches the No. 1 team in the nation in an atmosphere that Pitt can't compete with. As for Ohio State, I'm not sold the Buckeyes are actively recruiting him unless they whiff on Shelton Gibson and all of James Quick, Tony Stevens, Cornelius Elder and JUCO Corey Smith. Keep in mind, Foster took a visit to Ohio State in the spring and sources say he turned off the staff with his lack of interest in academics and a few tweets.

So can Pitt overcome Alabama? The answer is definitely yes. Foster has long come across as a homebody who, when push comes to shove, will likely decide to stay closer to home. The Panthers coaching staff has done a very good job showing him that staying home is the best option and Foster is listening.

This recruiting process is taking a very similar path to that of running back Rushel Shell, who ironically signed with Pittsburgh earlier this year after early interest in Ohio State and flirtation with Alabama. While it is still possible that Foster will be blown away by his visit to Tuscaloosa or that Urban Meyer may be too tempted not to pursue such a talent, my guess is that he will stay home in Pittsburgh.

Talking rumors

Did Al-Quadin Muhammad commit to Notre Dame like rumors say?
-- George from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Rumors were flying that this was official about two weeks ago, and since then everything has died down. However, that does not mean that something did not happen.

When there is that much smoke, you can generally assume that there was a fire. More than a few sources, including a very good one tied to Bosco, believe that Muhammad is a silent commitment to Notre Dame now, but that he does not want to make it official and public until he announces it at the Army All-American Bowl in early January. Rutgers will continue to do their best to change his mind in the next two months, but with Notre Dame enjoying a very successful season, it seems like a very tall task for their coaching staff, even if the Scarlet Knights make a BCS bowl of their own.

Making up ground

Is Virginia Tech a player for wide receiver Marquez North?
-- Walt from Lynchburg, Va.

They are still in the conversation but they probably still have some ground to make up on top contenders such as Clemson, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee. If the Hokies were having their typical season (i.e. 10 wins), their chances would be even better but he seemed lukewarm after his unofficial visit recently and said he doesn't know a bunch about the program. That's usually the kiss of death after a visit.

There have been a few twists and turns in this one, but Clemson is the school North seems to consistently come back to.


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