John Brantley from Trinity Catholic in Ocala, FL had been considered a Florida lean for a long time. Both his parents and an uncle all went to Florida as well as his high school coach, former Gator quarterback Kerwin Bell. But when the decision was made last week, Florida was not even in the final mix, as the four-star prospect chose Texas over Alabama.
Brantley is a superb decision maker. During his sophomore season at Trinity, he threw 17 touchdowns and one interception. He followed that up by throwing 41 touchdowns and just five interceptions this past season.
Brantley's decision came shortly after Texas and five-star quarterback prospect Ryan Mallett decided to part ways. Mallett was given a deadline to decide by the Texas coaching staff. When he let the deadline pass without giving an answer, the eyes of Texas turned to Brantley. Mallett had also been looking at Michigan and now schools like Florida State, Alabama, and USC have gotten involved.
Last week, UCLA picked up its third four-star recruit of this recruiting season in quarterback Chris Forcier. The 6-3, 175-pound Forcier is a mobile quarterback that is adept at making things happen outside the pocket. He threw for 2,382 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2005 while rushing for 415 yards and four scores. In the end, the San Diego native chose UCLA over Miami. USC, while showing considerable interest, had not offered. However, Forcier said that it would not have mattered if they had, as UCLA was his clear-cut favorite.
For many years, Tennessee was annually a recruiting power. Last season's disappointing 5-6 season carried over into recruiting and the Volunteers finished 24th in the final Scout.com team rankings. Head coach Phil Fullmer and his revamped staff are looking to improve upon that ranking this year and securing two commitments this week sure helps. Wide receiver Todd Campbell became the third Tennessee commitment of the season when he chose the Vols on April 5 th. Though he now lives in Franklin, TN, Campbell is originally from western Kentucky, so his choice of Tennessee was hardly a slam dunk. Louisville and Kentucky fought hard to bring him back to his home state.
The big catch for Tennessee this week was the commitment of five-star offensive lineman Darris Sawtelle. Despite attending Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield, MI, Sawtelle had been a Tennessee lean from the start. His grandfather Darris McCord was an All-American for the Volunteers before starring in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. At 6-5, Sawtelle has the frame to add weight to his 285-pound body. When this occurs, he will most likely wind up a tackle on the Tennessee offensive line. Sawtelle had offers from all over the country and had looked at Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska.
North Carolina State was another program that nabbed two recruits this week. Their first commitment of the season came from Wilmington, NC tight end George Bryan. At 6-5, 250-pounds, Bryan has plenty of size for the position. He grew up a Wolfpack fan and said he started to cry when offered the scholarship by NC State head coach Chuck Amato. East Carolina had also offered Bryan a scholarship and North Carolina and South Carolina were on the verge of doing so, as well.
The other NC State commitment was from defensive back Chris Culliver of Garner, NC. Culliver had received virtually no interest from any school when he showed up at the recent Scout.com combine in Durham. After he ran a 4.38-second forty-yard dash and shadowed prize wide receiver recruit Mark Barnes all day, coaches took notice. North Carolina State decided to offer and Culliver decided to commit. Though he showed the cover skills necessary to play corner at the Scout.com combine, NC State will probably start him out at his natural strong safety.
Florida may have lost in the John Brantley chase, but they did pick up a big commitment this week in defensive lineman D'Angelo McCray. Like Culliver, McCray showed himself to be a workout warrior with his MVP performance at the Scout.com combine in Jacksonville. The only question about McCray seems to be what position he will play. He lined up at tight end for Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville. But at 6-5, 280-pounds, he will be able to add enough size to play on the offensive line. However, the defensive staff at Florida is eager to have him on their side of the ball, as well. He shows tremendous burst as an edge rusher though his size may translate better to playing inside. One thing that everyone knows is that he will be a significant factor no matter where he plays. Florida beat out arch rival Florida State for McCray's services.
After obtaining commitments from two highly touted linebackers last week in four-star recruit Austin Box and junior college star Mike Reed, the Oklahoma Sooners this week added defensive end Jontae Bumpus to their 2007 recruiting class. Last season, the Oklahoma staff went to Muskogee, OK to recruit defensive lineman Derek Burton, who chose Oklahoma State. They also noticed Bumpus and they did not miss out on acquiring his services. Bumpus chose OU over Kansas.