National Outlook

The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Auburn Tigers are currently ranked 1-2 in the current Associated Press Top 25. Over the past two weeks, they both have had big victories on the field, with Ohio State beating Penn State and Auburn taking down LSU. During that time, both programs scored big on the recruiting trail, as well.

The recruitment of Cincinnati's Eugene Clifford came down to two heated rivals, Ohio State and Michigan. Last Thursday, Clifford announced on ESPNU that he will be a Buckeye next fall. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has been given a four-star rating and is ranked as the No. 12 safety prospect by, though Ohio State will also give him a look at receiver and at cornerback. Clifford was named second team All-Ohio last season after registering 147 tackles and picking off six passes. Florida and Miami had also expressed interest.

Auburn got a huge recruiting boost this week with the commitment of defensive tackle Tim Lamb of Tallahassee, Fla. The 5-foot-11, 305-pound Lamb is extremely stout against the run. Last season he broke the school record for tackles for a loss with 31. The old record was held by current Miami Dolphin defensive end Kevin Carter. Auburn is also recruiting Tim's brother Xavier, a linebacker at Lincoln High School, though they have not offered him a scholarship at this time. The other schools that had received interest from Tim were Illinois, Alabama, Tennessee, and Nebraska. Lamb will join high school teammate Michael Slade at Auburn. The three-star cornerback committed to the Tigers back in May.

The Tigers also received a commitment from's No. 2 kicker, Charles Byrum of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Irish fans know about the offensive linemen that St. Thomas Aquinas produces, as Dan Wenger and Sam Young are currently freshmen at Notre Dame. But the school has also produced its share of quality kickers. Jay Ottovegio signed with Stanford in 2003 and Brett Swenson is currently at Michigan State. Byrum also had an offer from Colorado, but he chose Auburn after visiting the Plains last weekend.

Missouri has started the season with four victories and they are currently ranked No. 25 in the AP poll. This early season success seems to have helped their recruiting efforts. During the past two weeks, the Tigers landed two big recruits in linebacker Michael Keck and offensive lineman Jayson Palmgren.

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Keck is a four-star prospect that is ranked as the No. 23 linebacker in the class of 2007 by The Harrisonville, Mo. native had 148 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior. Keck will graduate from high school in December and enroll at Missouri in January. His two finalists were Missouri and Arkansas, though he also had offers from Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.

Palmgren is a physical, high-motor offensive lineman that excels at run-blocking. At 6-foot-2, 280 pounds, he will probably be a guard at Missouri. The Kansas City native has a sister that attends Kansas State and had always been a fan of the Wildcats. But he felt that he fit best Missouri, which is the reason he selected the Tigers. Besides Missouri and Kansas State, Palmgren also received scholarship offers from Arkansas and Kansas. Nebraska and Oklahoma had not extended offers, but were monitoring his progress.

Back in March, Christian Ballard of Lawrence, Kan. committed to the hometown Jayhawks. At that time, he called it an easy decision. But as other offers started rolling in, his commitment became less and less solid. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Ballard visited Georgia in August and it appeared that would be his college destination if he de-committed from Kansas. But this Tuesday, the four-star prospect announced that he will not be attending Kansas or Georgia, but will enroll at Iowa instead. Despite being ranked as the No. 11 defensive end prospect in the country by , the Hawkeyes plan to start Ballard out at tight end. Once Ballard re-opened his recruitment, he received offers from the likes of Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Michigan, along with Iowa and Georgia.

As mentioned earlier, Tim Lamb of Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Fla. committed to Auburn. He was not the only Lincoln High player to commit to an SEC school this past week. On the same evening that Lamb picked Auburn, Deshaun Barnes pledged to Tennessee, becoming the fourth member of his team to commit to an SEC team this year. Barnes is a three-star prospect as a safety, but at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, most expect him to become linebacker. Auburn recruited at that position and he fits the mold of the small, quick linebacker that head coach Tommy Tuberville likes. Auburn, Florida State, LSU, and UCLA rounded out his top five.

The Vols also received their second commitment for the class of 2008. Cornerback J.T. Floyd of Greenville, S.C. gave a commitment to Tennessee on September 16th. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Floyd went to a camp in Knoxville this summer and loved the experience. He returned to witness the Vols' big win over California and committed to head coach Phil Fulmer after the game. Two weeks later, he made his decision public. South Carolina was the only other school that extended Floyd an early offer, but many other schools were showing interest.

One five-star prospect made a college decision this past week: junior college wide receiver A.J. Jackson selected Ole Miss. It may seem strange that a prospect with offers from USC, UCLA, Nebraska, and Florida would choose Mississippi. But last year, 6-foot-6, 226-pound Jackson caught passes from current Ole Miss quarterback Brent Schaeffer at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif. The two became good friends and their relationship is the primary reason that Jackson decided to become a Rebel. Originally from Lehigh Acres, Fla., Jackson caught 42 Schaeffer passes last season, with 19 of them going for touchdowns. Despite having a new quarterback this year, he has five scores in the first three games.

Lastly, despite the devastating loss to Notre Dame on Saturday night, Michigan State snared two commitments this weekend; one for 2007 and one for 2008 that may have repercussions on this year's class. Defensive tackle Ryan Wheat of Flint, Mich. became the tenth member of Michigan State's current recruiting class when he pledged on Saturday. Wheat is a 6-foot-4, 285 pounder that projects as a one-gap defensive tackle at the college level. Wheat picked Michigan State over Wisconsin and Illinois.

The 2008 commitment came from wide receiver Corey Johnson of Muskegon, Mich. While Corey is a fine prospect in his own right, his brother, Ronald, is one of the elite members of this year‘s recruiting class. Ronald is the No. 2 cornerback prospect as determined by and is being recruited by most of the top programs in America. Ronald maintains that he is still open and that his brother's college choice will have no influence on his decision. But from a Michigan State perspective, Corey's commitment surely can't hurt. Top Stories