National Outlook

The University of Alabama's first two 2007 commitments live in the state of Florida. This past week, the Crimson Tide picked up four new commitments and two of them also are residents of the Sunshine State. It seems that every week a member of the powerful Lakeland Dreadnaughts football team is committing to a major college program.

Last week saw the Pouncey twins and Ahmad Black choosing Florida on the same day. That evening, Alabama joined the fun by getting a commitment from running back Jamar Taylor.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Taylor split time last year with another Florida commit, Chris Rainey. Taylor saw enough time, though, to rush for 1,217 yards and 27 touchdowns. Taylor is a very physical back, which was a perfect compliment to Rainey's speed and elusiveness. He selected Alabama over Tennessee, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia.

The other Florida native to commit to Alabama was cornerback Sherod Murdock of Tampa. Murdock's older brother plays for South Carolina and the Gamecocks had recently extended him an offer. But Murdock told ' that the Tide had been his leader since receiving his offer last year. After camping in Tuscaloosa last weekend, Murdock felt that it was the right time to commit. Pittsburgh was also interested in the 6-foot, 165-pound Murdock.

The other two Alabama commitments were linebacker Jennings Hester of Atlanta and offensive lineman William Vlachos of Mountain Brook, Ala. Hester's only other offer was from Air Force, while Vlachos turned down offers from LSU and West Virginia. Vlachos became the first recruit from the state of Alabama to join the Tide's 2007 class.

Four-star defensive tackle prospect Chris Perry told Irish Eyes own Jeff Baumhower last week that he was a Miami commit. The Hurricanes followed that up with a pledge from Belle Glade, Fla. defensive back Damien Berry, who picked Miami over Auburn, Florida, and West Virginia. Miami's recruiting momentum continued this past week as they received two more commitments.

At the combine in Jacksonville, cornerback Marcus Van Dyke ran a blazing 4.35 forty, which put him on the short list of many schools around the country. Van Dyke then whittled his numerous scholarship offers down to two, Miami and Florida. In the end, it was Miami's history of putting players in the NFL that was the overriding factor in him choosing the Hurricanes. The 6-foot-1, 157-pound Van Dyke is a four-star prospect and is rated as the No. 12 prospect in the state of Florida by

Miami landed another local recruit this week, but they had to go across the country to do so. Wide receiver Kayne Farquharson grew up in Miami and currently attends El Camino (Calif.) Junior College. He attended Homestead High School, but never played football. While at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp in Miami, he was spotted by someone from El Camino. In one junior college season, he established himself as perhaps the top junior college player in America. Miami was always the team to beat, but Washington, Oregon State, and Kentucky all offered Farquharson a scholarship.

Penn State got its fourth commitment of the season this week in Jon Ditto and like the three before him, he is rated as a four-star prospect by The 6-foot-4, 221-pound Ditto played wide receiver for Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pa. However, he could easily develop into a fine tight end at Penn State. The high school teammate of current Nittany Lion Justin King had favored Penn State throughout the recruiting process. Pitt, Michigan, and Ohio State were some of the other programs that received consideration.

Over the past few months, Nebraska had watched Omaha natives Harland Gunn and Phillip Bates select out of state schools in Miami and Iowa State, respectively. This week, the Cornhuskers kept a Nebraskan from leaving the state. Jared Crick from Cozad accepted a Nebraska offer and, thus, fulfilled his lifelong dream. The Nebraska staff has told the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder that he could play tight end or on the defensive line. Crick told that he likes the pleasure of hitting people more than the glory of catching the ball. Iowa State, Kansas, and Ohio were his other college options.

Nebraska gained two other commitments this week. Two weeks ago, TCU commit Shaun Sullivan re-opened his recruiting. On Sunday, he became a Cornhusker. Despite standing just 5-foot-8, Sullivan is a physical cornerback with good speed which allowed him to intercept five passes last fall for Brenham (Texas) High School. Nebraska's other commit also hails from the Lone Star State. Tight end Ian Harris had hoped to attend UCLA and went to their camp last weekend to prove his worth. The Bruins decided against offering Harris a scholarship, but when he returned to his San Antonio home, a Nebraska offer was waiting. On Wednesday, he accepted. Missouri, Arizona, and Oklahoma State were some of the other schools that offered.

Oklahoma and Oregon each nabbed a commitment from a four-star recruit this week. Oklahoma netted Seguin, Texas safety Desmond Jackson while Oregon added offensive lineman Charlie Carmichael of Sherman Oaks, Calif. Jackson had offers from Arkansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma State. He had recently attended a camp at Texas and expected an offer from the Longhorns to be on its way. However, last Thursday he chose the Sooners before receiving the Texas offer.

Oregon received a boost for their offensive line when Charlie Carmichael of Sherman Oaks, Calif. committed to the Ducks. He is the second four-star offensive lineman to go with Oregon this year, joining Carson York, who committed two weeks ago. Arizona State was Carmichael's second choice. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder liked the atmosphere at Oregon more than at Arizona State. He will most likely be a guard at the next level. The Ducks also got another southern Californian to commit this week, as La Palma safety Edward Pleasant selected Oregon.

Other commitments of note include cornerback Donnie Evege to Ohio State, safety Sam Jones to North Carolina State, and defensive end John Douglas to Auburn. Arizona got commitments from three recruits, including quarterback Bryson Beirne, and LSU picked up two Louisiana natives in safety Delvin Breaux and wide receiver Toddrick Bajoie.

And Rutgers picked up its first four commitments of the recruiting season. Among these pledges are four-star offensive tackle Keith Newell from Trenton and four-star safety Joseph Lefeged of Wheaton, Md. Newell picked Rutgers over Illinois, Maryland, and Michigan State while Lefeged had offers from Boston College, Syracuse, and Virginia. Top Stories