Conference breakdown: Prized QB Connor Mitch picks South Carolina
Touted quarterback Connor Mitch committed to South Carolina over 'Bama, LSU
Though most of the Big 12 has been quiet, Oklahoma is making recruiting moves
N.C. State has rebounded from a slow start; Rutgers is in the market for a top QB
After another week of 2013 recruiting happenings, Rivals recaps the top storylines from each BCS conference.
N.C. State didn't generate as much early momentum as several other ACC programs, but as summer approaches, the Wolfpack are starting to make some noise. They landed commitments from Rockingham (N.C.) Richmond County running back Dakwa Nichols, three-star Memphis (Tenn.) University School linebacker Ford Howell and Miami (Fla.) Central cornerback Da'Wan Hunte since May 2 and could be closing in on several other prized prospects.
Tight ends Chris Burton, Lucas Wilson and Josh McNeil are all considering N.C. State, as is linebacker Jordan Starnes, though he currently lacks an offer. After going 4-4 in conference play last year, the Wolfpack could be building a winner for the future.
Several Big East teams are in the market for a quarterback, and Rutgers is certainly no exception. The Scarlet Knights have made it a priority to identify their main target during the spring evaluation period, but the situation remains unsettled: While New Jersey consistently churns out BCS-caliber talent, its quarterback recruits have been historically weak.
The top in-state quarterback, Kevin Olsen, seems to have written off Rutgers following Greg Schiano's departure, and though Damon Mitchell and P.J. Walker both hold offers, they may be better suited for other positions. That leaves Christopher Laviano, Ed Stockett, Chavas Rawlins and Tim Boyle, among others, with new coach Kyle Flood and Co. seeking a late-summer commitment.
Illinois secured is ninth 2013 commitment last Wednesday, adding three-star defensive tackle Kenton Gibbs out of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech. At 6-2 and 290 pounds, Gibbs is one of the strongest defensive line prospects in the Midwest, and bolsters an already formidable incoming haul: Jarrod Clements and Merrick Jackson have also signed on with the Fighting Illini.
Adding Gibbs could also pay residual benefits down the line for Illinois. Cass Tech is one of the most prolific producers of D-I prospects in the entire region, and this commitment offers Tim Beckman another foothold. Offensive tackle Dennis Finley, a 285-pound stalwart, has already talked about joining Gibbs in Champaign.
Though the recruiting scene has been relatively quiet for the majority of the Big 12 in recent weeks, Oklahoma has experienced quite a bit of action. Rivals250 cornerback Stanvon Taylor pledged on May 4 and three-star defensive end Dalton Rodriguez followed suit on May 5, the latter formerly considered to be to be a strong Oklahoma State lean.
The Sooners also received news of two big transfers. Former Fresno State wideout Jalen Saunders will join the team after redshirting in 2012, and defensive back Cortez Johnson will follow his former coach Mike Stoops to Norman. The arrival of Saunders and five-star receiver Trey Metoyer should help offset the losses of Trey Franks, Jaz Reynolds and Kameel Jackson to suspension.
Arizona could have a steal in Romoland (Calif.) Heritage cornerback Darius Allensworth -- if the Wildcats can keep him in their class. The 5-11, 175-pound prospect shined at the recent Passing Down SoCal 7-on-7 Regional and has emerged as a tough, athletic shutdown cornerback.
Though Allensworth verbally committed to 'Zona on April 14, several other programs have now entered the running. Pac-12 rivals UCLA and Colorado have offered, and Wisconsin and Nevada have also expressed interest. If Allensworth continues to play well, expect him to see an outpouring of other options.
New coach Rich Rodriguez has done an admirable job early in the cycle by landing five commitments, including three from three- or four-star recruits. But holding onto Allensworth will be difficult -- and a potential key to the team's 2013 haul.
In May 2011, South Carolina had just five commits. In May 2012, Steve Spurrier and staff already have picked up 11, the biggest coming from heralded Raleigh (N.C.) Wakefield quarterback Connor Mitch. He's no small get: The 6-3, 210-pounder threw for more than 7,000 yards over the past two seasons and chose the Gamecocks over SEC powerhouses Alabama and LSU.
Last Thursday, South Carolina continued their string of success. They added Havelock (N.C.) athlete Pharoh Cooper, Lithonia (Ga.) linebacker David Johnson and Orlando (Fla.) Jones defensive end Devin Washington. After landing the No. 19 class in the 2012 cycle, Spurrier could be pushing for a top 10 finish -- or potentially higher -- this time around.
For more recruiting coverage, visit the Rivals.com football recruiting hub.