National Outlook

Each year, the Texas Longhorns seem to get a huge early jump on recruiting. This year is no exception as last weekend's Junior Day in Austin resulted in twelve commitments this week for Mack Brown and the Longhorns. All of these commits are residents of the Lone Star State.

The biggest name to commit to Texas, especially to Irish fans, is Andre Jones . The five-star defensive lineman was considering Notre Dame along with Texas. The key was to get him to visit Notre Dame before making a commitment to Texas. This did not happen as Jones committed to the Horns on Tuesday. While his home in El Paso is not all that close to Austin, Jones's mother is thinking of moving to nearby San Marcos, and this was a large factor in his decision.

Along with Jones, four of the other Texas pledges play on defense. Cornerbacks Ben Wells of Beaumont and Earl Thomas of Orange, as well as defensive end Russell Carter of Houston and linebacker Keenan Robinson of Plano will be suiting up for the Longhorns in the fall of 2007.

Of the twelve Texas commitments, five are offensive lineman. 6-5, 295-pound Jerrod Gooch is the highest regarded of the five, getting a four-star rating in the preliminary Scout.com junior rankings. Gooch will probably be a guard at Texas. Offensive tackle prospect Matt Nader chose to stay home in Austin, selecting the Longhorns over LSU. Another tackle, Kyle Hix, became the first 2007 Texas commitment despite having a brother and sister that attended Texas Tech. Andre McGaskey of La Marque and Michael Huey of Kilgore, two players that project as guards, were the other two offensive lineman to commit.

This sets up an intriguing situation at Texas for the rest of the recruiting season. With four offensive lineman signed in the class of 2006 to go along with the five early commitments for 2007, it will be interesting to see how many more lineman Texas will recruit this season. Notre Dame target Tray Allen of Grand Prairie, most likely the top-ranked offensive lineman in Texas, did not commit following his Junior Day visit and has stated that he will take other visits.

Running back Foswhitt Whittaker and four-star wide receiver Curtis Brown are the other two players that committed to Texas this week.

One player that attended the Longhorn Junior Day decided to cast his lot with one of Texas's arch rivals. On Saturday, Bradley Stephens left Austin and immediately committed to Texas A&M. The running back from McAllen, Texas rushed for 2,638 yards and 39 touchdowns last season and is considered one of the best players in the state this year.

Like Texas, Ole Miss had a Junior Day last weekend and took advantage by gaining commitments from four recruits. Also like Texas, Ole Miss currently has twelve commitments for the class of 2007. The biggest of these commitments is 6-7, 350-pound offensive lineman Bradley Sowell. The Hernando, MS native realizes that he needs to get in better shape and improve his strength to compete in the SEC. Offensive lineman Alex Williams of New Orleans did not play at all this season due to Hurricane Katrina, but his sophomore season was good enough to earn him a four-star rating on Scout.com. Though he committed to Ole Miss on Monday, Williams will still visit LSU for their Junior Day this weekend, so his recruitment may not be finished.

Along with these commitments, Ole Miss also received a signed letter of intent from Baton Rouge offensive lineman Daverin Geralds. Geralds became the 31st player to sign with the Rebels in 2006. Unsure of his decision on signing day, Geralds decided to wait. In the end, he chose Ole Miss over Duke and Stanford. While he can play on both sides of the ball, Geralds will probably end up playing guard for Mississippi.

One of the best receivers in Wisconsin history was Al Toon, who went on to have a fine career with the New York Jets. His son Nick will attempt to follow in his father's footsteps, as he committed to Wisconsin this week. His familiarity with the Wisconsin program and its coaching staff played a big part in Toon's decision.

Finally, the Vidal Hazelton recruitment is over, as a valid letter of intent, containing his father's signature, was sent to USC. So in the end, USC does nip Florida for the No. 1 spot on the Scout.com team recruiting rankings.


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