A source tells me that Akron might have pulled a coup on Toledo when a four-star safety decommitted and chose the Zips.
The player is Jermaine Robinson, the No. 14 prep school athlete in the nation. Coming out of a Pittsburgh high school last year, he verbally committed to West Virginia, then signed a letter of intent with Toledo before finally deciding to enroll at Milford Academy in New York. He is 6-foot-2 and runs a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash.
Robinson turned on West Virginia when Rich Rodriguez bolted for Michigan. According to Rivals.com, he currently is a soft verbal with Toledo. However, Rockets' coach Tom Amstutz has left, too. Presumably, that is why Robinson is changing his mind again.
As is typical with prep school players, there might be some clearinghouse issues. However, if Robinson indeed signs with Akron and qualifies, he could make an impact in 2009 and possibly begin to step into Bryan Williams' position.
More recent commitments...
Anthony Meriwether, a 6-2 receiver from Midpark, Ohio, committed last Wednesday. He told the ABJ's Tom Gaffney that the new stadium has an "NFL feel" to it. By the way, click that link. Gaffney's story about the new stadium's impact on recruiting is a must-read. Meriwether is a good student and should qualify.
Adam Steiner is a tight end and long-snapper from Glen Oak in Canton. He told Gaffney InfoCision Stadium played a part in his decision to commit to Akron.
Jake Brandt, a tackle from Bexley who previously committed to Miami (Ohio), has shifted his loyalties, according to ZipsNation.org's Captain Kangaroo. Also click that link. It lists every Zips verbal commitment to this point except Robinson. The 6-6 offensive tackle "quietly" committed to Miami, but Shane Montgomery's firing probably had an effect on that. From what I hear, Brandt needs to improve his grades a bit in order to qualify. Rivals.com gives him three stars and calls him the No. 78 tackle in the nation.
Others from CK's list: Broderick Alexander (athlete from Atlanta) and Pierre Carr (running back from Pittsburgh). I don't know much about these two, but Akron coaches recruit these areas heavily.
Deonte Ball is a juco safety from Illinois. He attended the same high school as Ryan Bain and Dale Martin.
Joe Vidovic also committed. He was the player I wrote about in late October, who was waiting for a Ball State offer. Well, he got that Ball State offer, then chose Akron anyhow. My guess is that coach Brady Hoke's departure for San Diego State (yeah, seriously, San Diego State) turned him off from the Cardinals. Vidovic should qualify without problems.
For all of you J.D. Brookhart haters, pay attention to what losing your coach does to recruiting. I guarantee more than half of these guys would have decommitted if Mack Rhoades dispatched Brookhart.
By the way, Chase Blackburn is an alternate on the Pro Bowl for his special teams performances this season.
The Zips play Virginia Commonwealth tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The teams met in last season's BracketBuster matchup. The Rams held Akron to 28.3 percent shooting in a 57-52 VCU win.
The opponent's centerpiece is Eric Maynor, a point guard with NBA potential. NBADraft.net, the site upon which I rely, compares him to Sergio Rodriguez and predicts him to go No. 16 overall in June. Maynor can shoot, drive and pass -- and he does all of it better under pressure. I presume Keith Dambrot will want Nate Linhart and Jimmy Conyers to attempt to keep a hand in Maynor's face while defending the lane.
If Akron's defenders can keep Maynor in front of them, Maynor can't dish off the drive and VCU's forwards won't uninhibitedly clean his missed shots off the glass.
The Zips might be able to find an advantage by forcing turnovers, where VCU is vulnerable. Also, Akron has improved each game in rebounding. That is another relative weakness of the Rams. I expect Akron to be a nine-point underdog when the odds come out tomorrow.
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