It is now January 2003 and Signing Day is less than one month away. Oklahoma continues to hold the #1 spot in Ohio State are four teams to keep a very close eye on over the next several weeks. They are all poised to make a late recruiting run.
- OKLAHOMA (1)
The Sooners continue to get help for their secondary with their latest commitment from Darien Williams. Williams, 6-0 and 187 pounds, committed to Oklahoma over Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas A&M. He is a physical safety from North Mesquite High School in Texas.
- LSU (2)
Nick Saban and LSU picked up a super verbal commitment from the nation's fifth rated running back according to TheInsiders.com in Barrington Edwards. Edwards, from Bowie, Md., will be a perfect fit for the Tigers because of his great size, speed and physical play. Edwards, 6-0 and 210 pounds, can pound it between the tackles with power and has good enough speed to run wide.
- TEXAS (3)
Mack Brown continues to do an excellent job in the recruiting wars. He has the Longhorns in the top five once again and once again Coach Brown is doing a great job with the Lone Star State standouts. Tony Hills, from Houston (Texas) Elsik High School, is the latest Teaxas commitment. Hills, 6-4 and 266 pounds, is the 6th ranked tight end in the nation according to TheInsiders.com because of his great hands and blocking ability.
- USC (8)
The Trojans continue to be the big surprise in the recruiting race and they now find themselves in the top five. This past weekend, USC secured verbal commitments from two incredible running back prospects. Reggie Bush, from La Mesa (Calif.) Helix High School, and LenDale White, from Littleton (Col.) Chatfield High School, both committed within a 24-hour period to Head Coach Pete Carroll. Bush is a speedster and a game breaker with 4.4 speed while White is more of a power back with his 225 pound frame. They join running back Chauncey Washington, another PAC 10 standout, headed to USC. This gives the Trjoans the top three backs from the West Coast.
- GEORGIA (6)
The Bulldogs are cleaning up in the Peach State. Right now, they have twenty verbal commitments and 18 are from the state of Georgia. The Dawgs already have a super running back commitment in Kregg Lumpkin but they would love to sign Ernie Sims, the nation's top prospect, just in case Musa Smith decides to go pro. Smith, a junior running back, will likely declare for the NFL. Sims, from Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian High School, has already visited Georgia and Florida. This month he travels to Miami, Auburn and Florida State and he will make a decision on Signing Day.
- TEXAS A&M (4)
Coach Dennis Franchione and the Aggies would love to close with Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, Jorrie Adams and Joseph "Red" Bryant. All three Texas standouts are linemen and they have already visited Texas A&M. Adams and Bryant are teammates from Jasper while Lawson-Kennedy is from Duncanville. Adams is the nation's top offensive tackle while Lawson-Kennedy and Bryant are two highly rated defensive tackles.
- MIAMI (10)
The main objective this recruiting season for Miami was to fortify the lines of scrimmage and the Hurricanes are well on their way. In late December, the ‘Canes received two huge verbal commitments on both sides of the ball. Nate Robinson, the nation's #1 defensive tackle prospect committed to Miami, as did Andrew Bain, one of the nation's top guard prospect. Robinson, 6-5 and 305 pounds, is from Irvington, New Jersey while Bain, 6-3 and 340 pounds, is from nearby Pompano Beach, Florida. Bain joins teammates Cyrim Wimbs (OT) and Tyrone Moss (RB) as Miami commitments. Bain is ranked the 14th best OL prospect in the nation by TheInsiders.com. Miami now has 4 offensive line commitments and 3 defensive tackle commitments.
- MICHIGAN (9)
The Wolverines are in the process of putting together a super recruiting class, especially in the secondary. Super safety Ryan Mundy and cover corner Leon Hall are already committed. Last weekend, Prescott Burgess, a free safety/ linebacker prospect from Warren (Ohio) Harding High School, committed to Michigan over Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida and Tennessee. He is currently rated the nation's #4 LB prospect by TheInisders.com and should grow into that position. Burgess is currently 6-4 and 218 pounds.
- FLORIDA (12)
Coach Ron Zook needed a big boost and boy did the Gators get one when quarterback Chris Leak committed to Florida. Leak, the nations number two rated quarterback prospect, committed to the Gators on national TV at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. With Florida battling FSU and Miami on several of the nation's elite wide receivers, the Leak commitment will do nothing but help Florida recruit. Leak passed for an amazing 15,593 yards and 185 touchdown passes (national record) and led his team, Charlotte (N.C.) Independence High School, to three straight state titles. Leak should help the Gators with wide receivers Andre Caldwell, Chad Jackson, Amp Hill, and others.
- OHIO STATE (20)
Will the Bucks cash in on a National Championship in recruiting? Yes they should. Despite losing in-state standout Precott Burgess, Jim Tressel and Ohio State should clean up. Cornerbacks Donte Whitner, Tony Gonzalez, and Dareus Hiley, defensive tackles David Patterson and Brandon Maupin, tight end Louis Irizarry and quarterback Todd Boeckman are all big name standout recruits from the state of Ohio that have committed to the Buckeyes already.
- NOTRE DAME (5)
The Fighting Irish are anxiously awaiting the decision from the nation's top tight end prospect, Greg Olsen. Olsen, from Wayne (N.J.) Hills High School, has narrowed it down to Notre Dame, Tennessee and Miami. He is scheduled to visit Michigan this weekend but may have a decision before then. Olsen's older brother Chris (QB), signed with Notre Dame last season and the Irish are the odds on favorite to land this tight end.
- AUBURN (11)
Auburn has twenty or so prospects scheduled to visit this upcoming weekend (January 10th) including the nation's top prospect, Ernie Sims. Sims, a running back and linebacker from Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian High School, has already tripped to Georgia and Florida. Last this month, he will travel to Miami (1-17) and Florida State (1-31). FSU is the favorite to sign Sims but he is looking hard at the other four schools, including the Tigers. Sims plans on announcing his decision on Signing Day. Some other big name visitors Auburn will host this weekend are wide receiver Craig Davis (New Orleans, La.), quarterback Courtney Denson (Miami, Fla.), cornerback Patrick Lee (Miami, Fla.), linebacker H.B. Blades (Plantation, Fla.), offensive tackle Aubrey McPhadden (Jacksonville, Fla.), linebacker Mitchell Thomas (Smiths, Ala.) and athlete Jai Miller (Selma, Ala.).
- SOUTH CAROLINA (8)
Next weekend (January 17th) is shaping up to be a huge visit weekend for South Carolina. Some of the top recruits the Gamecock's will host are running back Demetris Summers (Lexington, S.C.), offensive lineman Eric Young (Union, S.C.), linebacker Fred Sparkman (Columbia, Tenn.), quarterback Syvelle Newton (Bennettsville, S.C.), linebacker Ryan Brown (Monck's Corner, S.C.), defensive lineman Tez Doolittle (Opelika, Ala.), defensive end Vince Redd (Elizabethton, Tenn.), defensive tackle Richard Kittrell (Hamden, Ct.) and defensive lineman Anthony McDaniel (Columbia, S.C.).
- COLORADO (15)
The Buffaloes lost out on quarterback Richard Kovalcheck from San Diego, Calif. Kovalcheck, one of the country's top quarterback prospects, has committed to Arizona. Colorado does have a quarterback commitment from Brian White. White, 6-5 and 200 pounds, is from Mission Viejo (Calif.) Trabuso Hills High School. He has great size, a terrific arm and is an accurate passer.
- ARIZONA STATE (13)
The Sun Devils will get a surprise visit from the nation's top rated wide receiver in Whitney Lewis. Lewis, from Ventura, Calif., was scheduled to visit Miami next weekend (January 17th) but instead will visit Arizona State. They Sun Devils trail Florida State and Southern Cal for Lewis. Lewis had an incredible senior season, rushing for 1,059 yards (almost 10 yards per carry) and scored 23 touchdowns. He also caught 65 passes for 1,235 yards and 16 scores.
- VIRGINIA (16)
The Cavaliers continue to put together an impressive recruiting class, especially in the trenches on the offensive line. Their latest coup is offensive tackle Ian-Yates Cunningham from Lewisville (Texas) Hebron High School. Cunningham, the nation's 9th rated OL, committed to Virginia over Georgia Tech and Nebraska. Virginia already has commitments from the nation's top rated OL in Jordy Lipsey as well as offensive line standouts Chris Johnson, Eddie Pringis, Gordie Sammis, and Mashall Ausberry. In addition, the nation's 8th rated tight end, Jonathan Stupar, has committed to the Cavs as well.
- ALABAMA (14)
Alabama will get the last crack at wide receiver Chad Jackson, the nation's #3 ranked wide receiver. Jackson, from Hoover, Alabama, will visit Florida (1-10), Auburn (1-17), Georgia (1-24) and then the Crimson Tide (1-31). As it stands right now, Jackson favors the Gators and Bulldogs. Former Bama commit LeRon McClain, the nation's top fullback, will officially visit Alabama this weekend. McClain now says he is open and he will also visit Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tennessee this month. McClain is worried about how his style of play would fit into Mike Price's offensive scheme.
- NORTH CAROLINA (18)
Head Coach John Bunting got a big boost for his defense when linebacker Kory Gedin committed to the Tar Heels earlier this week. Gedin, from Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga High School, is 6-2 and 235 pounds. He is a speedy and physical inside linebacker that recorded 250 tackles over the last two seasons.
- NC STATE (17)
The Wolfpack continue their torrid recruiting run. Their latest commitment is defensive tackle standout Demarcus "Tank" Tyler. Tyler, 6-3 and 305 pounds, is from Fayetteville (N.C.) E.E. Smith High School. Tank committed to N.C. State over Ohio State because the Pack is close to home. N.C. State is also trying to convince UNC commit Terry Hunter to switch his decision to the Wolfpack. Hunter is an outstanding defensive end prospect from Wendell (N.C.) East Wake High School.
- WASHINGTON (22)
The Huskies will host Tahj Bomar, one of the top prospects from the state of Washington. Bomar is a 6-2 and 212 pound linebacker prospect from Kent (Wa.) Kentwood High School. He is also considering Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington State. Bomar is rated the 17th best linebacker in the country by TheInsiders.com.
- VIRGINIA TECH (19)
James Griffin signed with the Hokies back on December 22nd. Griffin, 6-1 and 205 pounds, is a speedy Junior College linebacker prospect from Pasadena Community College in Calif. and he is considered one of the top JUCO defensive players in the nation. He signed with Virginia Tech over LSU, Oregon, West Virginia and Washington. Griffin is from Memphis (Tenn.) East High School. As a senior, he recorded 29 sacks.
- ARKANSAS (19)
The Razorbacks are hosting an impressive list of recruits this weekend including a great bunch from the Lone Star State. Jasper (Texas) teammates Jorrie Adams (OL) and Joseph "Red" Bryant will visit as well as Xavier Lawson-Kennedy (DT) from Duncanville (Texas). Adams and Lawson-Kennedy are among the top prospects at their respective positions. Also scheduled to visit Arkansas this weekend are defensive end Vince Redd (Elizabethton, Tenn.), tight end Mario Lane (Montgomery, Ala.) and linebacker Brannon Jackson (Lake Charles, La.).
- WISCONSIN (NOT RANKED)
Defensive lineman Justin Ostrowski leads an impressive recruiting class headed to Madison, Wisconsin to play for Head Coach Barry Alvarez and the Badgers. Other notable commitments are tight end Danny Kaye (New Berlin, Wi.), quarterback Tyler Donovan (Hartland, Wi.), wide receiver Terry Love (Maywood, Ill.), wide receiver Ernest Mason (Ft. Worth, Texas), and running back Albert Young (Moorestown, N.J.). Now if the Badgers can only land Joe Thomas, the state's top recruit. Thomas, from Brookfield (Wi.) Central High School, is a super tight end/ offensive tackle prospect. At Notre Dame's summer football camp he ran a 4.7 forty at 6-7 and 270 pounds.
24. NEBRASKA (NOT RANKED)
The Cornhuskers got a big commitment from quarterback Joe Dailey from Jersey City (N.J.) Prep High School. Dailey had previously been committed to Syracuse. This season, Dailey had over 2,000 yards in total offense, throwing an impressive 71.6% on the year for over 1,100 yards and scoring 19 times, while scoring 13 touchdowns on the ground. Dailey also runs in the 4.45 range. The big question now is how will this commitment affect Nebraska with Earl Everett, one of the top prospects from Florida. Everett, from Bushnell (Fla.) South Sumter is being recruited by Nebraska as a quarterback even though he is a five star linebacker. He recently named Nebraska, Florida and Miami has his three leaders.
- MARYLAND (NOT RANKED)
The Terrapins will host two super prospects from the Peach State this weekend. Defensive tackle Andre Fluellen (Cartersville, Ga.) and cornerback Adrian Griffin (LaGrange, Ga.) will trip to Maryland. Florida is the likely leader for Fluellen while Griffin favors North Carolina and South Carolina.
Note - We have also added a few wrinkles to each team such as average star rankings, average prospect rank of commitment, the headliner commit thus far and the "big fish on the hook." The later represents the biggest name prospect out there that that team has a good chance of signing. Obviously, with three months until Signing Day, the numbers and names will change. Junior College commitments will be included and so will some soft commitments. The definition of a soft commitment is a prospect publicly committing to a school but openly considering others. If we feel secure that he will honor the commitment, despite taking trips, we will include them with that team's commitment list. This is part of the subjective rankings. There is a key of definitions below the Top 25 table.