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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Early look at top 20 college football recruiting classes

Early look at top 20 college football recruiting classes
1. Texas
Number of verbal commitments: 20
Key recruit: Christian Westerman
Still on the board: Malcolm Brown
Next year's name to know (2012): Cayleb Jones
Freshman to follow (2013): Dez Wortham
Comment: Texas' Junior Day success was epic, and the Longhorns continue to roll. In addition to locking up the premium talent in the Lone Star State, Mack Brown was able to snag one of the nation's top offensive linemen, Christian Westerman, out of Arizona. Brown is still on the board, and Texas would love to nab him. Jones, a dynamic wide receiver just a stone's throw from Texas' campus, will likely be one of the Longhorns' top recruits in 2012.
Graphic by Ryan Escobar
Texas has not had to stray far to bring in the nation's top recruiting class thus far; 19 of 20 verbal commitments are from the Lone Star State.

2. LSU
Number of verbal commitments: 10
Key recruit: La'el Collins
Still on the board: Jermauria Rasco
Next year's name to know: Terrell Lathan
Freshman to follow: Damian Williams
Comment: Two months ago, LSU had the top spot thanks to an outstanding early recruiting effort by Les Miles & Co. The Tigers locked up a boatload of talent across a number of positions, and should have skills players and linemen on both sides of the ball that can step in and make an early impact. Rasco will be a key recruit, because if he leaves the state, he'll likely end up at Texas. Sensational freshman Damian Williams led Archbishop Rummel to the 5A title game and should be one to watch.

3. Oklahoma
Number of verbal commitments: 11
Key recruit: Brandon Williams
Still on the board: Josh Turner
Next year's name to know: Trent Jackson
Freshman to follow: D.J. Ward
Comment: The Sooners have done a good job securing early commitments from a number of key skill position players like Williams, Trey Metoyer, Kameel Jackson, Chris Barnett and standout quarterback Kendl Thompson. With the offense reloading, the success of this recruiting class come February could rest on how well Bob Stoops closes with top targets on the defensive side of the ball. Turner is a high priority and Anthony Wallace, former teammate of 2010 signee Corey Nelson, would also be a welcomed addition.

4. Alabama
Number of verbal commitments: 11
Key recruit: Brent Calloway
Still on the board: Cyrus Kouandjio
Next year's name to know: Jameis Winston
Freshman to follow: Demario Lanier
Comment: Alabama has loaded up on defense already. In addition to Calloway, the Crimson Tide features Shannon Brown, LaMichael Fanning and Jabriel Washington. Offensively, Nick Saban has already received a commitment from Marvin Shinn, who many people compare to A.J. Green in terms of style of play. The class of 2012 will probably be strong for Alabama as well, assuming they can land the likes of Winston and linebacker/tight end Reggie Ragland.
Photo by Richard Rector
Many schools are courting DeMatha tackle Cyrus Kouandjio.

5. Florida State
Number of verbal commitments: 11
Key recruit: Karlos Williams
Still on the board: Tony Steward
Next year's name to know: John Theus
Freshman to follow: Derrick Henry
Comment: With nearly a dozen commitments already, Jimbo Fisher is off to a hot start with the class of 2011. An already-talented secondary will be boosted by more playermakers like Williams, Tyler Hunter and Cortez Davis. There are several big fish yet to fry for the Seminoles, but it will likely involve outfoxing Florida and other major players. Still, things are looking up for Florida State.

6. Stanford
Number of verbal commitments: 11
Key recruit: Amir Carlisle
Still on the board: Wayne Lyons
Next year's name to know: Skyler Mornhinweg
Freshman to follow: Jared Alwan
Comment: Perhaps this is a tad too high for the Cardinal, but it's hard not to like Stanford's duo of quarterback Evan Crower and running back Amir Carlisle, who was slowed last year because of injury. Linebacker Anthony Sarao will be one of the top players in New Jersey next season. Garrett Gladd will help anchor the Cardinal offensive line. As always with Stanford, academic hurdles may weed out some of these commitments, so this class may look noticeably different come National Signing Day.

7. Clemson
Number of verbal commitments: 7
Key recruit: Marlin Lane
Still on the board: Brandon Shell
Next year's name to know: C.J. Meredith
Freshman to follow: Jaylen Miller
Comment: Clemson got off to a hot start very early on in the 2011 recruiting cycle, but the Tigers have hit a bit of a lull. They recently landed former Tennessee commit Eric Maclain, but have otherwise been quiet since National Signing Day. Still, with Marlin Lane, Shaq Anthony and Tony McNeal already on board, Dabo Swinney has the Tigers poised to finish with a top recruiting class. Landing Jay Rome, Stephone Anthony or Brandon Shell would immediately boost this class, as would pulling Mike Bellamy out of Florida, ala C.J. Spiller.

8. Notre Dame
Number of verbal commitments: 9
Key recruit: Matt Hegarty
Still on the board: Savon Huggins
Next year's name to know: Gray Crow
Freshman to follow: Kyle Bosch
Comment: Brian Kelly has been on a torrid recruiting pace, landing several top commitments in the past two weeks. In addition to Jarrett Grace and Ben Koyack, Kelly also brought in Matt Hegarty, a highly coveted tackle. The Fighting Irish are in the mix for standout running back Savon Huggins, a skill player Notre Dame sorely needs. Kelly is also in the hunt for Bubba Starling, one of the most productive signal-callers in the country.

9. Ohio State
Number of verbal commitments: 10
Key recruit: Steve Miller
Still on the board: Braxton Miller
Next year's name to know: Greg McMullen
Freshman to follow: Darrien Howard
Comment: Following a mediocre haul in 2009, Jim Tressel should have the Buckeyes back near the top recruiting rankings this season. He's already secured verbal commitments from Steve Miller and Kenny Hayes, who should bookend the Ohio State defensive line for years to come. Most also expect quarterback Braxton Miller to stay local and commit to Ohio State. Assuming Tressel can tap into his Glenville pipeline as well as swoop in and snag another Florida player or two, Ohio State will have a much-improved 2010 class.

10. Florida
Number of verbal commitments: 4
Key recruit: Jeff Driskel
Still on the board: James Wilder
Next year's name to know: Omari Phillips
Freshman to follow: Kelvin Taylor
Comment: Though short on numbers, the current Florida Gators 2011 recruiting class is tall on talent. Quarterback Jeff Driskel has seen his stock rise significantly over the past few months, while athlete De'Ante 'Pop' Saunders has been a known commodity for quite some time. Each of their current commits ranks among the best in the nation at his respective position. After Urban Meyer's success closing with a strong 2010 class, there's no reason to believe the Gators won't end up even higher when the dust settles.


1. (1) Walsh Jesuit (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio), 19-0
The Warriors began a busy week with a 10-0 win over St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio) and followed with a 7-1 win over Firestone (Akron, Ohio), an 11-1 victory over Chagrin Falls (Ohio), a 15-4 win over North (Eastlake, Ohio) and a 6-3 victory over Twinsburg (Ohio). Ryan Berry homered against St. Ignatius while Patrick Ammar did the same against Firestone. Johnny Fasola gave up just two hits in the Firestone win while striking out six. Sophomore Michael Marsinek gave up just three hits and struck out eight against Chagrin Falls.

2. (2) Rockwall-Heath (Rockwall, Texas), 32-0
The Hawks played just one game last week, defeating Highland Park (Dallas, Texas) 6-1 to finish the regular season undefeated. Jake Thompson picked up the win, his seventh of the year, and also had a double. Nick Peterson added a two-base hit for the offense.

3. (4) Sumrall (Miss.), 29-1
The Bobcats began their run toward a third straight Division 3A state crown with a pair of wins over Southeast Lauderdale (Meridian, Miss.), 12-3 and 9-2. Chase Lewallen had a pair of doubles among his three hits while Luke Lowery struck out seven to get the win in the first game. Sumrall came from behind in the second game with eight runs over the fifth and sixth innings. Austin Carter had a home run and Connor Barron knocked in four runs.

4. (7) Canyon del Oro (Tucson, Ariz.), 24-2
The Dorados won their only game last week, defeating Sabino (Tucson, Ariz.) 8-6. Ryan Gerber had a pair of doubles and Sebastian Magaddino and Ryan Cota had one each in the victory.

5. (8) Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.), 23-2
The Monarchs continue to march through West Catholic Athletic League play with a 7-5 win over St. Francis (Mountain View, Calif.) and an 11-1 victory over Riordan (San Francisco). Brett Fuller and Preston Caldera each homered against St. Francis. Tyler Davis struck out seven in four innings to get the win over Riordan.

6. (10) Parkview (Lilburn, Ga.), 23-3
The Panthers won three times last week and avenged a loss from earlier in the season with a 7-4 win over Grayson (Loganville, Ga.). Parkview also knocked off South Gwinnett (Snellville, Ga.) 10-2 and Dacula 15-9 to remain No. 1 in the Georgia coaches poll. Parkview won the Region 8-AAAAA title with the victory over South Gwinnett. It was the 15th crown in school history. David Langley had a home run in the win over Grayson.

7. (11) Dunedin (Fla.), 22-3-1
The Falcons won their only game last week, defeating Seminole 4-0 for the Class 5A District 11 championship. The district title was the fifth in a row for the Falcons and the 11th in the past 13 years. Chase Smith and Casey Turgeon had RBI singles to pace the Dunedin offense.

8. (13) Pace (Fla.), 24-2
The Patriots topped Navarre (Fla.) 10-0 and Milton (Fla.) 8-1 to win the District 1-5A championship. Winners of 18 in a row, Pace got a strong outing from pitcher Chris Hemphill in the win over Milton, as he gave up just five hits and struck out five. C.T. Bradford led the offense, going 3 for 3 with three RBI and three runs scored. Pace faces Niceville in the first round of the state playoffs.

9. (14) Sts. Neumann & Goretti (Philadelphia), 13-1
The Saints whipped St. Joseph's Prep (Philadelphia) 12-2 and topped Gloucester Catholic (Gloucester City, N.J.) 7-2 in its only games last week. Mark Donato was 3 for 4 with three RBI in the win over St. Joseph's Prep and also hit a home run in the first inning against Gloucester Catholic. Albert Bauer also homered for the Saints and was the winning pitcher.

10. (15) Germantown Academy (Fort Washington, Pa.), 19-1
The Patriots routed Episcopal Academy (Merion Station, Pa.) 16-0 in their only game last week. The game went just three innings as Germantown Academy scored 16 runs in the first inning. Keenan Kish threw all three frames and struck out eight in the win

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