National Outlook

Last Friday was shaping up to be a big day for Florida Gator fans. Running back Armando Allen and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke were scheduled to announce their college decisions in a joint press conference on that day. When word came out earlier in the week that the players would have separate press conferences, it was evident that something was amiss.

As we all now know, Armando Allen said no to Florida and yes to Notre Dame, but the Gators did land a great prospect when Van Dyke selected Florida.

The 6-foot-1, 157-pound Van Dyke is a four-star prospect that is ranked as the No. 13 cornerback in America by . Speed is the name of the Miami native's game, as he ran a 4.35 forty at the combine in Jacksonville last March. At the same combine, Van Dyke weighed in at 157-pounds, so it is quite evident that he will need add size and strength before he is ready for the SEC wars. Van Dyke had originally committed to Miami and had also considered Ohio State, Michigan, and Florida State.

Quarterback Keith Nichol of Lowell, Mich. committed to Michigan before entering his junior year in high school. But with the firing of Spartan head coach John L. Smith, Nichol decided to look around. At the same time, Oklahoma was looking for a quarterback of the future due to the dismissal of Rhett Bomar from the Sooner squad before this season began. It was no surprise that a match was made. After visiting the Norman campus, the four-star signal caller switched his commitment to Oklahoma. The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder threw for 2,225 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for 1,075 yards and 19 touchdowns this season.

Michigan had not recruited a junior college player in ten years, the last being wide receiver Russell Shaw. But this week that ended, when the Wolverines got a commitment from middle linebacker Austin Panter of Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan. Panter ended up at Butler after playing eight-man football at Kensington (Kan.) High School. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder will graduate from Butler in December, allowing him to enroll at Michigan in January. His only other offer was from Minnesota.

The Woverines also picked up a commitment from Grand Rapids offensive lineman Mark Huyge. At 6-6, 275-pounds, Huyge would seemingly be suited for a tackle position, which is the position he played in high school. But Michigan plans to use his athleticism on the interior, specifically at center, where he is rated as the No. 33 prospect by Huyge had offers from Central and Western Michigan, Ball State, and Miami of Ohio.

It has been an interesting couple of weeks for four-star quarterback Kellen Kiilsgaard of Auburn, Wash. Early last week, he committed to Stanford, only to see Cardinal head coach Walt Harris get fired six days later. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Kiilsgarrd maintains that despite the coaching change, he remains firm with Stanford. Kiilsgaard is very mobile and if he does not pan out as a quarterback, he could be moved to safety. Oregon, Cal, and Washington were also considered and they will probably continue to recruit's No. 22 quarterback.

Notre Dame was hoping to get a visit Oklahoma City athlete Geraild Jones. But before they could get the Millwood High School star to South Bend, he committed to Tennessee during an in-home visit by Vol head coach Phillip Fulmer. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Jones is a dynamic athlete that could play a number of positions. has him as the class of 2007's No. 9 running back. While that is certainly a position of need for Tennessee, Jones became the fifth player capable of playing running back to commit to Tennessee this year, so it is possible that he winds up at wide receiver or safety. Along with Tennessee and Notre Dame, he was also looking at Florida, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State.

Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham has had a good start to the holiday season. First, he knocked off rival Washington State in the Apple Cup. Then, he received commitments from five recruits this past weekend. Four-star running back Brandon Johnson, who has rushed for 1,435 yards and 24 touchdowns with one game remaining in his senior season, picked the Huskies over Oregon and Cal. Oregon was also a consideration for Keeau, Hawaii product Kalani Aldrich. Aldrich is currently a defensive end, but at 6-foot-6, 242-pounds he may add weight in college, which could prompt a move inside. Willie Griffin is a three-star running back from Oakland that had a visit to Colorado scheduled for next week, which he immediately cancelled.

The two other Husky commitments both play linebacker. Mason Foster of Seaside, Calif. received an offer from Washington early last week and committed on Saturday. It was his first offer, though Colorado, Utah, and Utah State were expressing interest. Austin Sylvester from the Hun School in Princeton, N.J. visited Washington this past weekend and committed to Willingham on Saturday night. Maryland and Virginia were considering whether to extend an offer to Sylvester, who originally hails from Reno, Nev.

Offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski seemed like a Penn State lock from day one. A Pittsburgh native, his father, Leo, and his uncle, Steve, both played for the Nittany Lions. But Stefen took his time and examined all of his options before making the selection everyone expected. This past weekend, the 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive guard committed to Penn State. Wisniewski is the No. 5 guard in the country according to and has been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American game in January. While Penn State had always been his leader, Wisniewski also considered Boston College.

Wisniewski is not the only familiar name to make a recent commitment. Over the past two weeks, Arizona has received five commitments, one of them from Alex Zendejas. Like his three uncles (Luis, Tony, and Max), Alex is a kicker. He must improve his accuracy, as he has connected on just over 50% of his field goal attempts the past two seasons. Leg strength, however, is not a problem. He was successful on three field goals of more than 50 yards, including one from 59 yards. Also, about 80% of his kickoffs were not returnable. Top Stories