It is still very early in the recruiting process for the freshman class of 2008, but today two media reports dealt an apparent blow to MU's hopes with a pair of highly regarded prospects.
The biggest concern is the signability of Jonathan Baldwin. The 6-6 power forward from Aliquippa is one of the state's top basketball and football players - and a priority recruit for Tom Crean. MU has offered the uber-talented Baldwin......
......of course, so have many of the nation's best football programs. Per ESPN.com, Baldwin is listed as the 12th best football prosect - - in the entire country. Baldwin grades out as the top tight end recruit in the nation per ESPN's analysis. Baldwin already has offers from Pitt in both sports, as well as Michigan, Notre Dame and West Virginia for the gridiron.
Per Ray Fittipaldo's Q/A on the Post-Gazette site yesterday, he expects Baldwin to opt for pigskin at the next level.
"...he (Baldwin) is getting an awful lot of interest from the major Division I football programs and most of those types of athletes over the years from Western Pennsylvania, especially a place like Aliquippa, end up playing football in college."Sounds like TC needs to break through the culture of the community to secure a commitment from Baldwin, who has indicated that he won't sign until next spring. IMHO, Crean can't wait that long to secure a commitment from him. The roster is far too thin at the PF slot to wait.
Think of it this way. Crean has yet to lure a national top 25 high school basketball player to campus.....how will be lure a top 15 high school football player to MU -- and ask him to give up the sport where he's more dominant? If TC can do that, it'll be his greatest recruiting coup.
Next up - - news about combo guard Mike Rosario. Mike Rosario, the latest in a long line of great guards at St. Anthony's in Jersey City. Rosario already has offers from Marquette, Rutgers, St. John's, SHU, Georgetown, Virginia Tech, and Miami. However, his high school coach threw cold water on those options which are not close to home:
"When it comes down to it, he's going to be more inclined to be a little bit closer to home," Hurley said of Rosario's college options.It'll be an uphill battle to secure a commitment from Rosario. Per this video from August, 2005 - - he's a nice player. Given Crean's ability recruit and develop post players, the Rosario news doesn't really concern me.
Baldwin? That's another matter entirely.