National Outlook

Lakeland (Fla.) High School has been the top ranked team in USA Today's final high school football top 25 each of the past two seasons. With loads of talent on both offense and defense, coaches from all over the country are trying hard to secure players from this elite program. So far, Urban Meyer seems to be doing the best job.

Three weeks ago, four-star running back Chris Rainey committed to the Florida Gators. Three of his teammates, after attending a camp at Florida this past weekend, announced on Wednesday that they will be joining him in Gainesville.

Ahmad Black went to the Florida camp with offers from LSU, Alabama, and Ohio State. But he did not have a Gator offer. After the cornerback blanketed receivers all weekend, the Florida offer came and Black became Gator. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Black had six interceptions in the fall and this winter was the second leading scorer on Lakeland's basketball team. Black will be eligible to graduate in December and likely will be an early enrollee.

The Pouncey twins, James and LaShawn, were thought to be heavy Florida State leans. After attending Florida's camp with Black, that all changed, as they both committed to Florida on Wednesday. Both stand 6-foot-4.5 while James weighs in at 298 pounds and LaShawn is 283 pounds. As you would figure, they have similar strengths and weaknesses. They are very aggressive players that explode off the ball well. They will need to work on technique, especially in the passing game. James, who was given a four-star rating by, is Lakeland's left tackle while LaShawn plays left guard.

Last week, one Lakeland product chose a school other than Florida. Four-star tight end Jordan Hammond turned down the Gators in favor of SEC rival LSU. Hammond was a third team all-state selection, mostly for his work on defense, where he registered 58 tackles and four sacks. Despite his commitment, Hammond still intends to visit Florida, Ohio State, and Tennessee.

Several other schools picked up multiple commitments this week. The defending national champion Texas Longhorns received their 20th and 21st commitments of the year this week. Like 18 of the 19 commits before them, both of these prospects reside in the Lone Star State. Defensive tackle Michael Wilcoxon of Aledo accepted Texas's scholarship offer, which he received following their one-day camp on Sunday. He selected the Longhorns over SMU. Brenham athlete Brandon Collins also received and accepted an offer from Texas on Sunday. The 5-foot-10, 162-pounder had offers from Kansas, Oklahoma State, and TCU.

The Longhorns' rival down in College Station also gained a pair of in-state commitments this week. Offensive lineman Daniel Baker chose Texas A&M on Sunday, picking the Aggies over Baylor, Stanford, Missouri, and Houston. The Sugar Land native was an all-district pick in 2005. A&M's other commitment was from wide receiver Roger Holland of Houston. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Holland hauled in 41 passes for 680 yards and seven scores as a junior at Cypress Falls High School. Northwestern was his only other offer when he committed to A&M on Monday.

Virginia Tech had watched the University of Virginia reel in several top players early in the recruiting season. This week, the Hokies picked up their first two commitments of the season in linebacker Quillie Odom of Manassas, Va. and Lincolnton, Ga. athlete Brandon Barden. The 6-foot-5, 219-pound Barden is the more highly regarded of the two. He is a quarterback at Lincoln County High School, but Virginia Tech recruited him to play tight end. Though he was being courted by the home-state Georgia Bulldogs, his only other offer was from Vanderbilt. The Hokies continue to push strongly for five-star quarterback prospect Tyrod Taylor's commitment. The Hampton, Va. native has narrowed his list to five and will camp in Blacksburg on July 8th.

Brigham Young also landed two recruits, one of which was four-star quarterback Jason Munns of Kennewick, Wash. This week ranked Munns as the 18th best junior signal caller in America. At 6-foot-5 and 226 pounds, Munns has a strong arm and surprising athleticism for a quarterback his size. He went with the Cougars over Washington State, Arizona State, and Utah. BYU's other commitment came from Longmont, Colo. defensive lineman David Angilau.

Florida and LSU were not the only SEC schools that had a successful week. Ole Miss has had a lot of early success this season and it continued this week as they tacked two more names onto their commitment list. Fullback Eric Nicks attended Lafayette High School in Oxford, Miss. but went to Northwest Community College last fall. He was starting to get feelers from Alabama and Oklahoma State, but he decided to stay at home for college. Ole Miss also gained a commitment from Fort Smith, Ark. offensive tackle Paul Henry. Henry weighs 265 pounds, but his 6-foot-7 frame will allow him to put on a considerable amount of weight in the future. Henry chose Mississippi over Arkansas, Kansas State, and Misissippi State after attending the Rebels' camp this weekend.

South Carolina took in its fourth commitment and it was a big one in Anderson, S.C. running back Brian Maddox. What 5-foot-11, 215-pound Maddox lacks in speed he makes up for in toughness and power. Also, his pass catching ability makes him capable of being an every down back in Steve Spurrier‘s offense. Maddox received scholarship offers from dozens of programs, including Florida State, Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech.

A few other players that committed this week were St. Joseph, Mo. defensive tackle Demetrious Davis to Nebraska; San Jose linebacker Steve Sloan to UCLA; Westwood, Mass. defensive end Eric Reks to Duke; and Belle Glade, Fla. corner Johnny Lee Dixon to Auburn. Also, Duncan, S.C. linebacker Stanley Hunter decided to join his high school teammate Willy Korn at Clemson. Top Stories