National Outlook

2007 has started off mighty fine for the Florida Gators. They began the year by getting a commitment from five-star athlete Lorenzo Edwards at the Army All-American game.

Two days later, they upset Ohio State to win the National Title. Last week, five-star offensive lineman James Wilson switched his commitment from USC to Florida. Now, the Gators have picked up their third five-star pledge since the New Year began.

6-foot-6, 240-pound Carlos Dunlap of North Charleston, S.C. was not even listed on's Southeast Top 100 before his senior season began. But after accumulating 105 tackles, 35 of them for a loss, and piling up 24 sacks, he became well known in a hurry. He is now No. 34 on the National Hot 100 list. Dunlap is very quick which, along with his size, makes him a very tough man to block. His other finalist was South Carolina.

Staying in the SEC, Auburn got a five-star commitment of their own. Offensive lineman Lee Ziemba of Rogers, Ark. picked the Tigers over his home-state Razorbacks. At 6-foot-7, he has room to add weight to the 295-pounds he is currently carrying. When he does, he will be the perfect size for an SEC left tackle. His technique needs some work, but he has all the physical tools necessary to be a major force for Auburn.

The only other five-star player to select a school this week was junior college wide receiver Demetrius Byrd. Byrd will be competing in the SEC wars along with Dunlap and Ziemba, as he committed to LSU. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound native of Miami competed the past two falls for Pearl River Community College in Poplarville, Miss. after playing just one year of football at Miami Central High School. He picked LSU over South Carolina, Tennessee, Iowa State, and Kansas State.

Notre Dame is currently recruiting Malcolm Smith, whose brother Steve plays for USC. This week, a Pac-10 rival received a commitment from another brother of a current Trojan player when defensive end Kenny Rowe of Long Beach Polytechnic chose the Ducks. Kenny has not received an offer from USC, but he insists that even if one comes, he will attend Oregon. Last year, his brother Albert was committed to Oregon State until signing day when USC offered. Rowe also considered Ole Miss and California.

Oregon received four other commitments this past week, including one from four-star offensive tackle Darrion Weems of Woodland Hills, Calif. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder will have to add some weight, but he is strong and very athletic. Weems narrowed his choices to Oregon and Washington when Florida stopped recruiting him after receiving the commitment from James Wilson. The Ducks' other commitments were four-star junior college wide receiver Terence Scott, two-star linebacker Terrell Turner of Los Angeles, and two-star wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad from nearby Henry Sheldon High School in Eugene.

New Boston College head coach Jeff Jagodzinski started building some recruiting momentum this week as he snared four commitments, two of which are four-star offensive lineman. 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive guard John Elliott of East Meadow, N.Y. had planned on visiting BC in early December. But after head coach Tom O'Brien's departure to North Carolina State, those plans were put on hold until last Tuesday when's No. 4 offensive guard prospect finally made it to Chestnut Hill. Once he arrived at Boston College, he knew his recruiting process was over. Elliott went with the Eagles over Michigan, Rutgers, and Virginia.

In October, 6-foot-3, 255-pound Mark Spinney committed to his father's old school, Syracuse. This week, after being offered a scholarship by Jagodzinski, he switched to Boston College. He had not received an offer from the previous staff, so when it came it was a bit of a surprise. Spinney is ranked as the No. 17 offensive guard prospect in the class of 2007 by, but he obviously will face much stiffer competition in the ACC than he did at Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, N.H.

Corey Eason of Mansfield, Mass. also picked Boston College. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end had offers from Florida State, Arizona State, and Rutgers. Also, two-star quarterback Chris Johnson of Paterson, N.J. selected the Eagles after committing to Buffalo in October.

New North Carolina head coach got two big commitments this past week in four-star defensive tackle Tydreke Powell and four-star running back Ryan Houston. Powell, from Ahoskie, N.C., played all along the defensive line in high school, but at 6-foot-3, 285-pounds he will be a tackle in college. Powell also looked at Penn State, Florida, Clemson, and Virginia Tech. Houston is a bruising, 6-foot-2, 250-pound running back from Matthews, N.C. Finesse is not his game, but he is fairly athletic for his size. He picked the Heels back in June, but re-opened his recruitment due to the coaching change at UNC. He was considering a visit to Louisville, another school that recently hired a new coach. But Houston sealed the deal on a visit to Chapel Hill this past weekend.

Another player that committed to a school with a new head coach was U.S. Army All-American quarterback Nick Fanuzzi, who pledged to Miami last May. This past weekend, the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder visited Alabama and is now on their commitment list. He had planned to take other visits before going to Tuscaloosa, but those trips have now been cancelled.

And speaking of Miami, one the strangest stories in a very strange recruiting year took another twist this week. Defensive tackle Chris Perry of Keller, Texas committed to Miami back in June. Last week, he changed his commitment to Nebraska. Now, he has switched again, going back with the Hurricanes.

Miami also picked up three other commitments. Running back Shawnbrey McNeal of Dallas de-committed from Texas A&M to hook on with Miami, four-star safety Damien Berry re-affirmed his commitment to Miami after visiting LSU, and Berry's teammate at Glades Central in Belle Glade, Fla. did the same after seeing West Virginia. Top Stories