National Outlook

Roughly 20 miles south of the University of Georgia campus sits the town Greensboro, Ga. If there is a top level football player in this area, odds are he will wind up a Bulldog. But not Josh Nesbitt.

Last Wednesday, Scout.com's No. 8 quarterback gave a commitment to Georgia Tech. With highly regarded freshman signal caller Matthew Stafford already taking snaps for Georgia, immediate playing time seemed limited in Athens. But Tech quarterback Reggie Ball is a senior, meaning the position will be vacant next fall. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Nesbitt figures to be in the mix immediately. He has a big arm and is very dangerous when he decides to run. The four-star prospect will need to improve his touch and accuracy on the next level. Auburn and Florida State were two other schools that were pursuing Nesbitt.

Florida had offered scholarships to some of the top senior quarterbacks in America this year, including John Brantley, Tyrod Taylor, and Logan Gray. All of them selected other programs. Florida did receive commitments from Joe Haden, who will probably play cornerback, and junior college recruit Bryan Waggener. Last week, the Gators nabbed the high school quarterback they had been seeking in Cameron Newton.

At 6-foot-5, 225-pounds, Newton has good size for the position. He also has the ability to tuck the ball in and run, making him perfect for the Gators' spread option. The Atlanta native must work on his throwing mechanics before making an impact at Florida. He will have plenty of time to refine his delivery, as he will likely back up current freshman Tim Tebow for at least his first couple of seasons. Newton, Scout.com's No. 20 quarterback, chose the Gators over Oklahoma and Mississippi State.

The Indiana program received some shocking news this week when it was determined that head coach Terry Hoeppner needed a second surgery to remove a tumor from his brain. Immediately after the press conference to announce his leave of absence, Hoeppner accepted the commitment of Barrington, Ill. quarterback Teddy Schell. Schell had told interim head coach Bill Lynch that he would delay his commitment until Hoeppner had recovered. But Hoeppner wanted to personally let Schell know that he had a spot waiting at IU. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound Schell selected Indiana over Kansas State, Rutgers, Northern Illinois, and Eastern Michigan. Joining the three quarterbacks in making commitments during the past week were four prized wide receiver prospects. Five-star wide receiver Ahmad Paige of Sterlington, La. went on ESPNU last Thursday and announced that he was committing to Florida State. But don't chisel this one in stone just yet. Scout.com's No. 4 wide receiver admitted that he was making was a soft commitment and that he plans to take all five of his official visits. LSU, Tennessee, Miami, and Georgia are the other schools that he will check out. Paige is the total package on the field. He has good hands along with size and speed. He caught 45 balls for 1,208 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior in 2005.

Four-star wide receiver Mark Dell had said that he did not want to go to a college that was too far from his Farmington Hills, Mich. home. Since the University of Michigan had not offered him a scholarship, the four-star prospect went with the next closest major program: Michigan State. Dell is a tremendous athlete, but he needs some polish. He has great hands and is not afraid to take a hit. Iowa, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Missouri were his other finalists.

This week's other two wide receiver commitments pledged to the same school, West Virginia. 6-foot-2, 185-pound Kyrus Lanxter caught 18 passes for 513 yards six touchdowns last season, helping his Alcoa (Tenn.) High School team to their second straight 2A state title. He also helped the Alcoa basketball team win the regional title last winter. Lanxter also considered offers from Louisville, Ole Miss, and Tennessee.

Joining Lanxter in Morgantown will be Andrew Harris of St. Petersburg, Fla. He will also continue to be teammates with running back Jock Sanders, another St. Petersburg Catholic product that committed to the Mountaineers last week. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Harris was named honorable mention all-state as a junior and entered the 2006 campaign with over 1,500 career receiving yards. His other offers were from Boston College and South Florida.

Mount Ulla, N.C. resident Tristan Dorty put up huge numbers last season at West Rowan High School. He had 32 quarterback pressures, 22 tackles for loss, and 13 sacks, earning him all-county and all-region honors. The coaches at Wake Forest hope he continues that kind of production since the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder committed to play for the Demon Deacons. Dorty plays defensive end in high school, but the Wake Forest coaches plan to convert him to linebacker next fall. Virginia was the only other school to offer Dorty a scholarship.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories