National Outlook

Louisville received their first two commitments of the 2007 recruiting season this week and one of them has a last name that is very familiar. A number of Big 10 teams also landed some top prospects last week as well as UCLA picking up a top local target as well.

This past Saturday, three-star quarterback Matt Simms of Don Bosco Prep School in Ramsey, N.J. announced that he will attend Louisville next fall. Simms is the son of former New York Giant great Phil Simms and the brother of current Tampa Bay quarterback Chris Simms. He threw for over 2,700 yards and 30 touchdowns as a junior while being named first team all-state by the Associated Press. Simms selected Louisville over Boston College, Arizona State, and Rutgers.

Earlier last week, Louisville got a commitment from Mount Vernon, Ky. offensive lineman Brad Durham. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Durham was one of the stars at the combine that was held in Louisville this past May and will line up at offensive tackle for the Cardinals. Durham also had offers from Cincinnati, Baylor, and Kentucky. UCLA picked up a big commitment this week from Los Angeles native Akeem Ayers. Ayers is ranked as the No. 13 defensive end prospect in the nation and had offers from several top programs including California (his other finalist), Nebraska, Michigan, and Washington. He has exceptional quickness, but at 220-pounds he will have to add size and strength to compete at the next level.

Shane Vereen was one of the most dynamic juniors in the state of California last year, rushing for over 1,600 yards and scoring 35 touchdowns while intercepting three passes from his cornerback position. While many schools wanted him for defense, the University of California recruited him as a running back and this week Vereen decided to become a Golden Bear. The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder from Valencia, Calif. has blazing speed and great vision. He never planned on leaving the state as UCLA, Stanford, and USC were the other schools that he considered.

Cornerback Ryan Williams, from Mobile, Ala., took an unofficial visit to Auburn two weeks ago. This past weekend, he was scheduled to visit Alabama. But he decided that trip was unnecessary as he canceled the visit to Tuscaloosa and committed to the Tigers. The four-star prospect intercepted four passes as a junior and is rated as the No. 23 cornerback prospect by Clemson, Florida, and LSU were some of the other powerhouse programs that offered Williams a scholarship.

Boston College received their 12th pledge of the year and he is easily the most heralded of the bunch. Linebacker Will Thompson of Jersey City, N.J. is the 11th best linebacker in America according to and he becomes the first four-star recruit to commit to the Eagles this season. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Thompson has played the outside linebacker position at St. Peter's Preparatory School since his freshman year, but the BC coaching staff intends on moving him inside once he gets to Chestnut Hill. Maryland, Pitt, Virginia, and West Virginia were also in the mix for his commitment.

Two recruits committed to Iowa this week and one of them has Notre Dame connections. Brian Smith is the son of former Irish and Kansas City Chiefs' fullback Chris Smith. The three-star prospect from Overland Park, Kan. had more than 100 tackles from his middle linebacker position as a junior in 2005. Iowa beat out Kansas State, Nebraska, and Missouri to get Smith.

Iowa's other commitment came from Erie, Pa. wide receiver Abe Satterfield, who chose the Hawkeyes over Bowling Green.

Another Big Ten team, Penn State, also received two commitments this past week. 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end Andrew Szczerba of Wilmington, Del. and 6-foot-4, 265-pound offensive lineman Quinn Barham of Durham, N.C. agreed to become part of the Nittany Lion program next year. Szczerba was second team all-state in Delaware last year and turned down offers from Virginia, Michigan, and Iowa when he selected Penn State. Barham is a teammate of super athlete Greg Little at Hillside High School in Durham. He went with Penn State instead of Colorado, Duke, and East Carolina.

Pitt added a big time fullback to its commitment list when Henry Hynoski picked the Panthers this week. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Hynoski rushed for 2,180 yards and found paydirt 34 times last season. Pitt had long been considered the leader in the chase to get Hynoski, but the resident of Catawissa, Pa. also looked at Temple, Iowa, and Rutgers. Top Stories