National Outlook

Just a couple of days after losing the BCS Championship game to Texas, Pete Carroll's Trojans were the big winner on a week ago by securing commitments from four players at the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. These pledges elevated the USC to the No.5 spot in the Scout.com recruiting rankings, and with just 14 commitments to date, they are positioned to challenge Florida for the top spot on signing day.

The biggest prize for USC on Saturday was linebacker Alan Bradford. The 6-0, 222-pound Colton, CA native is Scout.com's No. 3 linebacker and chose the Trojans over UCLA. His commitment was no surprise as Bradford has been USC's primary target at middle linebacker since his recruitment began. Bradford will have to add some weight before he plays the middle for USC, but his quickness and tenacity are assets that cannot be taught.

Irish fans are well aware of who committed at the same time as Bradford. Butch Lewis, the 6-5, 280-pound lineman from Denver, was on Notre Dame's wish list going into Saturday. Lewis was being recruited by the Irish as a defensive tackle and played defensive end in San Antonio, but many feel that he is best suited to play offensive tackle. This flexibility will be very important to the Trojans. They are still recruiting many four and five-star prospects, and where Lewis plays in the future may depend on who else the Trojans land between now and February 1.

The first commitment of the day was running back Emmanuel Moody from Coppel, TX. Despite being just 5-11" and 190 pounds, Moody is a strong back with good balance. Scout.com lists him as a four- star prospect and USC beat out Texas and Miami for his services.

During the telecast of the Army All-American Bowl, Tom Lemming speculated that five-star running back Michael Goodson, who at the last minute decided not to commit on Saturday, may have wanted to go to USC, but perhaps had second thoughts when Moody chose the Trojans. However, Moody told Scout.com's Chris Fetters that he is good friends with Goodson and is trying to persuade his fellow Texan to join him in Los Angeles. So stay tuned.

USC got the first commitment that was announced on Saturday in Moody and then got the last as well in David Ausberry. Over the past few years, Pete Carroll has had great success with big receivers like Dwayne Jarrett and Mike Williams. He hopes this continues with Ausberry. At 6-4" and 215-pounds, Ausberry is built a lot like Jarrett and Williams, though he may not have the speed and quickness that the two previous All-Americans possess. However, his great hands and his proficiency in using his big body will give him a decided edge over most smaller defensive backs. Ausberry is USC's second wide receiver commit this recruiting season, joining five-star prospect Vidal Hazelton.

Penn State also did well Saturday picking up two four-star prospects in defensive end Maurice Evans and cornerback A.J. Wallace. Evans picked the Nittany Lions over Virginia and Wallace chose PSU over Ohio State. Evans becomes the seventh defensive lineman, and third defensive tackle, to pledge to Penn State while Wallace is their first corner commitment.

Three other five-star players committed on Saturday. Jai Eugene, a cornerback from Louisiana, shocked everyone by committing to Michigan over LSU and Miami. On the other hand, defensive lineman Derrick Hill of Oakland shocked no one when he declared for Cal. Las Vegas running back DeMarco Murray decided to be Adrian Peterson's understudy next year at Oklahoma.

Other players that committed at the Army All American Bowl were former Irish target Terrence Austin to UCLA, big Hawaiian defensive tackle Joseph Faifili to Utah, athletic rush end Robert Rose to Ohio State, middle linebacker Jarrell Miller to North Carolina, linebacker Brandon Spikes to Florida, and, of course, Matt Carufel to Notre Dame.

Note: Jon Kinney is Irish Eyes' new national recruiting expert. Jon will be following the national scene each week and keeping Irish Eyes customers updated on everything that happens on the national scene. We want to welcome Jon to the team, and look for more stories from Jon in the near future.


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