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January 26, 2011

Roundtable: Surprise commitments

MORE: Full NSD coverage | Tuesday's roundtable | Latest news

Rivals.com football recruiting analysts weigh in on National Signing Day topics every day leading up to Feb. 2.

What current commitment has been the biggest surprise to you so far?

Mike Farrell: For me it was Anthony Zettel to Penn State. The Nittany Lions were limping along with one of the most disappointing classes in the country and Zettel was considered a huge Michigan lock, whether Rich Rodriguez or Chi Chi Rodriguez was coaching the Wolverines. But the defensive/offensive lineman did his due diligence, took many visits and kept saying all the right things. Even then I still thought he'd end up in Maize and Blue, but he fooled us all and really helped PSU begin to salvage its class.

Adam Gorney: I'm not sure it's an absolute stunner because Notre Dame had long been involved with five-star defensive end Ishaq Williams, but lots of people thought he was a heavy Penn State lean at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Then Notre Dame had an in-home visit with the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln superstar at 4:30 a.m. - yes, it was supposedly that early - and Williams decided that the Irish would be the best fit. Syracuse was also seriously involved but the Orange and Nittany Lions saw Williams solely as a defensive end. Notre Dame said it will use him as a do-everything linebacker, who can put his hand down or drop into coverage. That could have been a big selling point.

Chris Nee: The commitment of Tampa (Fla.) Plant running back James Wilder Jr. to Florida State. Simply put, if you told me 12 months ago that Wilder would be a Seminole, I would have told you that you were crazy. The Gators were always a popular school with the two-way player, but his desire to play running back combined with the recruiting efforts of the Florida State staff ultimately led him to Tallahassee.

Keith Niebuhr: I'm going with five-star linebacker C.J. Johnson, who chose Ole Miss over LSU and Mississippi State on Tuesday. At one time, Johnson not only was committed to Mississippi State but there were some in the know who believed the Rebels had no shot of landing him because, quite frankly, the word was he just didn't like them. But after Bulldogs defensive coordinator Manny Diaz left to take the same position at Texas in early January, Johnson suddenly de-committed.

Brian Perroni: A week ago I would have said Davon Moreland to SMU as the four-star defensive end turned down in-state offers from USC and UCLA to head to the C-USA program. However, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Marcus Roberson pulled a shocker recently by committing to Texas Tech. His uncle, Otis Mounds, was recently hired as the defensive backs coach but not many people thought that was enough to sway the nation's No. 2 corner to the Red Raiders. Roberson had recently said that Auburn and Florida were his top two and did not mention Tech in that group, so it came as a shock to many when he pulled the trigger. Florida is still a program to watch for as signing day approaches but, if he sticks with his commitment, it will be a huge coup for Tommy Tuberville and his staff. .

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