National Outlook

When a high school junior announces his college selection at the College Football Hall of Fame, as quarterback Jimmy Clausen did last Saturday, it is obviously the biggest recruiting news of the week. His decision will have a huge impact on Notre Dame's 2007 recruiting effort. But two other Hot 100 quarterbacks picked schools this past week and their choices will also affect this year's recruiting landscape.

If you follow recruiting, you know the story of Ryan Mallett. The five-star quarterback from Texarkana, Texas was given a deadline to decide by the University of Texas. When he did not respond, the Longhorns moved on to Florida prospect John Brantley. Mallett claimed that he was opening his recruitment back up. However, just three weeks later, Mallett chose Michigan, which was considered, along with Texas, to be one of his favorites.

At 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, Mallett is your basic, prototypical pocket passer. He has a huge arm and makes good decisions. He will not be out-running anyone, as his 5.13 forty-time will attest.

After missing on their top quarterback recruits last year, getting a top prospect like Mallett this year was crucial for the Wolverine staff. Mallett will enter Michigan when current Wolverine starter Chad Henne is a senior, giving him an opportunity to watch for a year before taking over the reins. Mallett has already placed calls to several recruits, including Irish targets Ron Johnson and Dionte Allen, hoping to convince them to choose the maize and blue.

Peter Lalich of Springfield, Va. was the other Hot 100 quarterback that decided on his college destination this week. His top two had been Virginia and Michigan, so when Mallett chose the Wolverines, Lalich went with the Cavaliers later that same day. Like Mallett, at 6-foot-5, 227-pounds Lalich is a big, strong kid with an impressive arm. He threw for 2,700 yards and 25 touchdowns as a junior.

Earlier, Virginia received a commitment from linebacker J'Courtney Williams from Christchurch, Va. Williams committed at last weekend's spring game, during which time he talked with Lalich and several other recruits. The comfort level that Williams established at the game, the proximity to his home, and UVA's high academic standards were the key factors in his decision. Williams had received offers from several programs, including Clemson, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech, who was recruiting as a tight end.

While he is not considered on the Clausen/Mallett/Lalich level, Omaha's Phillip Bates is a very talented dual-threat quarterback. He is a teammate of Nebraska recruit Niles Paul at North High School and his first offer came from the Cornhuskers. However, Bates has decided that in 2007 he will enroll at Iowa State. His father went to high school with Iowa State assistant Barney Cotton, and the familiarity with the Cyclone coaching staff played a big role in bringing Bates to Ames. Bates is the second Omaha resident to spurn the Cornhuskers this year. Central High School offensive lineman Harlan Gunn chose Miami over Nebraska back in March.

Shortly after this year's signing day, debates began about which school had the best recruiting class: Florida or USC. The signing of Vidal Hazelton gave USC the slight edge in the final team rankings. This week, both schools picked up some 2007 recruiting points, while USC got a head start on 2008.

Four-star defensive end Sidell Corley of Mobile, Ala. committed to the University of Florida this past weekend during their spring game. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Corley stated that he had been a Florida lean since visiting Gainesville for the Florida State game over Thanksgiving weekend, but waited to commit so he could see what other schools had to offer. After visiting Auburn, Georgia Tech, Georgia, and Alabama during his spring break, Corley knew that it was time to pledge to the Gators.

Last July, Aaron Hernandez committed to play with his brother at the University of Connecticut. However, Florida offered him a scholarship in March and after joining Corley at the Gator spring game, he decided to switch his commitment. The four-star tight end from Bristol, Conn. is a spectacular receiver that caught 67 passes for 1,807 yards and 24 scores in just ten games this past season. The chance to play for a national title was a big reason for Hernandez's change of heart.

USC signed four running backs as part of their top ranked 2006 recruiting class. This was necessary due to the early departures of Reggie Bush and LenDale White. Now they need someone to block. Martin Coleman will be one of the lineman clearing a path for the new backs. Prior to moving from his native Tonga to Huntington Beach, Calif. a year ago, Coleman had never seen a football game. Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 290 pounds, coaches at Edison High noticed him immediately. Once Coleman stepped foot on the field, they also noticed his outstanding athletic ability. While Coleman has much to learn, he projects as a left tackle for the Trojans. He also received offers from Miami, Ole Miss, and Nebraska. He becomes USC's third junior commitment.

USC's first commitment came from five-star Servite linebacker Chris Galippo. The Trojans added another Servite commitment this week when sophomore athlete D.J. Shoemate told head coach Pete Carroll that he will attend USC. He is the first current high school sophomore to announce his college destination. In 2005, Shoemate was named California state sophomore of the year, totaling over 1,500 yards rushing and receiving while scoring 21 touchdowns. Many expect Shoemate to be one of the very top players in the country for 2008. Top Stories