National Outlook

Last Friday, the University of Florida hosted their second annual Friday Night Lights, a combine that featured some of the top athletes from around the southeast. They followed that up with a Junior Day on Saturday. Their efforts certainly paid off as three players that trekked to Gainesville this past weekend committed to the Gators.

Joe Haden is rated as a four-star quarterback by Scout.com, but it is highly unlikely that he plays that position for Florida. At 5-foot-11, 195 pounds, Haden does not possess the size needed to be a signal caller in the SEC. But the Fort Washington, Md. native has the speed and quickness to be a top-flight receiver plus the hip turn that scouts look for in cornerbacks. He could wind up playing either of those positions at Florida. Michigan, Ohio State, and Tennessee were among the 30 schools to offer Haden a scholarship.

Linval Joseph had to travel just ten miles from his Alachua, Fla. home to visit Gainesville last weekend. He went there to prove that he deserved a scholarship offer. Mission accomplished. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound lineman received the offer directly from head coach Urban Meyer and he immediately committed to the Gators. Joseph is a very raw, but very athletic for his size. While he plays on both sides of the ball, he will most likely be an offensive lineman in college. Auburn, Georgia, and LSU were some of the other schools that offered Joseph.

Florida's other commitment of the weekend was from Dallas, Ga. punter Chas Henry. Henry was also recruited by Georgia, South Carolina, and LSU.

After landing Tim Tebow last year, Florida has struggled recruiting the top high school quarterbacks so far this year. Logan Gray and John Brantley each had Florida as a finalist before choosing Georgia and Texas, respectively. This week, the Gators came in second again, this time for five-star prospect Tyrod Taylor.

Last Friday, the Hampton, Va. resident picked Virginia Tech over Florida. When Taylor canceled his Florida trip immediately after attending Virginia Tech's camp, it became clear what school he would choose. Taylor will have to beef up his 6-foot-2, 180-pound body, but Scout.com's No. 7 quarterback is a great athlete that is adept at throwing both the long and short passes.

Taylor was not the only commitment Virginia Tech received from the Tidewater area of Virginia. Greg Nosal of Virginia Beach committed to the Hokies on Wednesday. Nosal has played defensive tackle and tight end at Floyd Kellam High School, but at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds Virginia Tech expects him to develop into an offensive tackle. Nosal also had offers from Virginia, UConn, Marshall, Akron, and East Carolina.

The book on Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey has always been solid coach, mediocre recruiter. Since his arrival, the Yellow Jackets have never finished higher than No. 34 in the final Scout.com team rankings. This year, Gailey seems set on changing that perception, as Georgia Tech already has 12 commitments and this week picked up two more highly regarded prospects.

D.J. Donley from Folkston, Ga. is a dynamic athlete that could excel on either offense or defense. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Donley is rated as the No. 13 safety in America by Scout.com. He also caught 53 balls for 835 yards as a junior and Georgia Tech has indicated that they will start him out at that position. Donley selected Georgia Tech over Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.

The Yellow Jackets also received a commitment from four-star defensive tackle Jacoby Monroe. The Jacksonville, Fla. resident had offers from all three of the big schools in Florida plus one from Georgia. But the 6-foot-2, 283-pounder shocked most everyone when he decided on Georgia Tech. Monroe was an all-conference pick as a sophomore, but did not play as a junior due to an unspecified team suspension. Scout.com rates him as the No. 20 defensive tackle prospect in the class of 2007.

Clemson gained a big commitment this week when four-star cornerback Marcus Gilchrist chose the Tigers. The High Point, N.C. native has great speed and can change directions very quickly. He could also be a valuable weapon for Clemson's return game. As a junior, he returned four kickoffs and two punts for touchdowns and was named first team all-state as a kick returner. His other finalists were Georgia and North Carolina.

The University of Texas always seems to be the program that gets the most early commitments and this year is no exception. But up I-35 in Waco, Guy Morriss has copied the Longhorn formula and this week his Baylor Bears added commitments number 19, 20 and 21. Billy Chavis of Westbrook, Texas is easily the highest rated Baylor commit in recent memory. The 6-foot-5, 227-pound Chavis is rated as the country's No. 5 tight end prospect by Scout.com though he spent much of his time as a running back at Westbrook School. Baylor is undecided at this time as to what position he will play. Chavis had offers from LSU, Oklahoma State, and Arizona and was waiting on Miami when he committed to the Bears.

Baylor's other two commitments came from Cedar Hill, Texas offensive lineman John Jones and defensive end Ryan Douglass of Leander, Texas. Jones chose Baylor over Arkansas and Houston while Douglass picked the Bears over Missouri and Oklahoma State.


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