LSU bolstered their defensive line by getting commitments from defensive end Luther Davis and defensive tackle Joseph Barksdale. Davis is a five-star prospect that is ranked as the No. 6 defensive end in the class of 2007 according to Scout.com. The native of West Monroe, La. took several visits to the Baton Rouge campus and it became a place that he felt very comfortable. At 6-foot-4, Davis will add weight to his 255-pound body once he gets in a college weight program. After he puts on a few more pounds, he will probably be strong side defensive end at LSU. He picked the Tigers over Oklahoma.
The saga of Joseph Barksdale ended this week when he selected LSU. During the recruiting process, rumors surfaced at different times that the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Barksdale was leaning towards Texas, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. Lately, Michigan State had been linked to the Detroit resident. But after Barksdale visited LSU in December, he knew where he wanted to go. Big, strong, and athletic, Barksdale will have to work on his technique before competing in the SEC. He is already enrolled at LSU and will start classes this week.
Just before Christmas, Tennessee got a commitment from five-star cornerback Eric Berry. This Saturday, two of his defensive teammates on the East squad at the Army All-American game will be joining him in Knoxville. Scout.com's top-ranked strong side linebacker, Chris Donald of Huntingdon, Tenn., chose the Vols over Notre Dame. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Donald is an explosive, powerful athlete that could make an immediate impact at Tennessee.
As could defensive end Ben Martin of Cincinnati. Scout.com lists the 6-foot-5, 225-pounder as the No. 8 defensive end in America and gives him a five-star rating. Most recruiting experts thought that Martin would choose between Ohio State and Notre Dame. But, perhaps due to his friendship with Donald, he visted Knoxville in early December and loved the atmosphere on the Tennessee campus. For his performance this fall, Martin was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Ohio.
Two other schools received commitments from five-star players at the Army All-American game. Wisconsin has had its share of powerful running backs. Ron Dayne and Brent Moss quickly come to mind. In four years, 6-foot-1, 220-pound John Clay could very well be added to that list, as on Saturday the Racine, Wis. product committed to the Badgers. Scout.com's No. 5 running back has 4.45 speed, which along with his size makes him a very tough man to bring down. Clay also considered a scholarship offer from Iowa.
As Scout.com's No. 2 offensive tackle prospect, Anthony Davis of Piscataway, N.J. had offers from schools all over the country. But when the hometown Rutgers Scarlet Knights emerged as a strong national contender this season, the 6-foot-5, 330-pound Davis saw that he could play at the top collegiate level and not leave home. And that had appeal. On Saturday, he made the Garden State faithful happy when he picked Rutgers. At his size, Davis is devastating when he makes contact with a defender. As he develops his footwork and improves his quickness to handle speed rushers, he will become a major factor in the Big East. Ohio State was thought to be the leader for his services before the recent emergence of Rutgers.
Richard Muldrow was watching the Army All-American game in his York, Pa. home. When Davis committed, Muldrow felt compelled to the same. So he picked up the phone and called the Rutgers football office to tell them that he would be coming to Piscataway in the fall. The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Muldrow could team with Davis to give Rutgers two massive tackles on the same line. Actually, he becomes the fifth offensive tackle to commit to Rutgers this year. Muldrow selected Rutgers over Penn State and West Virginia.
Ben Martin and Chris Donald were two players that left Notre Dame hats on the table when they made their selections at the Army All-American game. Three other players did the same. Michael Williams of Ventura, Calif. is from Ventura, Calif., but he will be playing his college ball in the Big Ten at Michigan. The 5-foot-10, 187-pound Williams is ranked as this year's No. 21 cornerback by Scout.com and he is also a dangerous return man. He returned two kickoffs for 40 yards and a punt for nine yards in Saturday's game.
Chris Little's recruiting odyssey was as interesting as Joseph Barksdale's. At one time or another, fans of Georgia, Clemson, and Notre Dame all believed that the enormous 6-foot-5, 340-pound offensive tackle had committed to their schools. On Saturday, he disappointed followers of those programs when he committed to Florida State. Like Anthony Davis, the Jeffersonville, Ga. resident is uses his size and power to crush overmatched opponents. Also like Davis, he will have to improve his quickness to enable him to effectively block quick defensive ends.
Lorenzo Edwards of Orlando wants to play safety in college. But at 6-foot-2, 221-pounds he is rated as Scout.com's No. 1 weak side linebacker prospect. Whatever position he plays next year, he will be doing it as a Florida Gator. Edwards had a great week of practice down in San Antonio and was one of the best linebackers at the Army All-American game. Edwards picked Florida over Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia Tech, and Clemson.
Salt Lake City defensive tackle Simi Fili also made a commitment at the game, deciding to become an Oregon Duck. Fili's cousin, Haloti Ngata, was a star defensive lineman at Oregon and has had a very good rookie season for the Baltimore ravens. Like his cousin, Fili is very strong., having done 73 reps of 185 pounds on the bench press. He also considered Utah and Washington State.
Da'John Harris of Gardena, Calif. was not at the Army All-American game, but he is a five-star prospect that is the No. 7 defensive tackle prospect this year according to Scout.com. This week, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Harris committed to USC. Though Harris is versatile enough to play tight end in college, he will earn his scholarship on defense. He was considered a virtual USC lock for quite some time, but he also looked at Michigan, Oregon, Washington, and several others before committing to the Trojans.
Finally, Dale Martin of Bolingbrook, Ill. committed to Louisville on Saturday. On Sunday, Cardinals' head coach Bobby Petrino became the new coach of the Atlanta Falcons. The four-star running back is now weighing his options again and Tennessee and Iowa are two of the schools he is considering. Also, three-star quarterback Matt Simms has de-committed from Louisville and will look to set up visits to other schools.
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