National Outlook

The passing of letter of intent day used to mean a shift in recruiting focus to members of the junior class. This is no longer the case as college coaches start recruiting players in their sophomore and even freshman years.

Several members of this year's junior class had given commitments long before their senior class counterparts had signed letters of intent. In what has become a trend, it is the state of Texas that is leading the early commitment charge.

The Texas Longhorns received their first 2008 commitment on February 2nd from Gilmer, Texas offensive lineman David Snow. Snow is a 6-foot-4, 295-pounder that is projected to play guard at the college level and is on's Hot 100 Junior list. He had indicated that he would accept if the Longhorns offered. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M were among the nearly three dozen other schools to offer Snow a scholarship.

Then, Texas held a Junior Day on February 11th that resulted in 11 more commitments. Two of the players that committed, Dan Buckner and Jeremy Hills, join Snow on's Hot 100 Junior list. Wide receiver Buckner had camped at Notre Dame last summer and was scheduled to visit the school in March for a Junior Day. That has been cancelled, though, as the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Allen, Texas native will not be making any other trips. Hills is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound running back from Houston. His brother, Tony, is currently an offensive tackle for the Longhorns. He rushed for 1,328 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior.

Another recent Longhorn commit will be joining his brother in Austin. Defensive end Sam Acho signed with Texas on letter of intent day. At Junior Day, his brother, Emmanuel, gave his commitment to head coach Mack Brown. The younger Acho is 6-foot-1, 190-pounds and plays outside linebacker for St. Mark's School in Dallas. He is expected to add enough weight to be effective at that position at Texas. Acho had no other offers, but Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Ole Miss were recruiting him hard.

Over in College Station, Texas A&M was doing their best to keep up with their rivals to the west. They, too, currently have 12 commitments for 2008. Tony Jerod of Desoto, Texas went to Austin for the Longhorns' Junior Day, but committed to A&M three days later. The Horns were waiting on his transcripts before deciding whether to offer the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder a scholarship. But Jerod had been considered an Aggie lean before his trip to UT and that was confirmed with his commitment to A&M on Valentine's Day.

One of the Aggies twelve junior commitments is listed on's Hot 100. Linebacker Damian Square of Yates High School in Houston committed to Texas A&M at the end of January, immediately following the Aggies' own Junior Day. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder had offers from schools like Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Kansas State. Though there has been no offer yet from Texas, Square says he is focused on A&M.

One of Square's teammate at Yates, offensive guard Leroy Chevalier, also committed to Texas A&M following the Junior Day. But he said that he wanted to keep his options open and listen to other programs, so this is far from over. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Chevalier also had offers from Houston and Baylor.

Fellow Big XII competitor Oklahoma currently has four commitments, three of which hail from Texas. All three Texans are on's Hot 100 list. 6-foot-4, 235-pound defensive end R.J. Washington of Keller, Texas was their first 2008 commitment when he pledged back in November. Nebraska and Texas A&M were his other offers.

The other two Sooner Hot 100 recruits committed this month. Justin Johnson is a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder that runs through holes created by David Snow at Gilmer High School in Gilmer, Texas. He had favored Texas and Oklahoma, but committed to head coach Bob Stoops at the Oklahoma Junior Day on February 3 rd. His cousin, Manuel Johnson, is a wide receiver for the Sooners. He also is a stalwart on defense, but he will make his mark in college by carrying the football.

The Sooners then went to Paris, Texas to get offensive lineman Stephen Good. At 6-foot-4, 290-pounds, Good plays tackle at Paris High School, but he will most likely play inside for the Sooners. Good went to the Texas Junior Day, but returned home even more convinced that Oklahoma was the right place for him. He also considered Tennessee and Notre Dame.

Outside of the Lonestar State, Michigan picked up a big commitment in cornerback Boubacar Cissoko from Detroit. Cissoko is extremely fluid and is a great athlete, which allows him to overcome the fact that at 5-foot-9, 175-pounds, he is small for a corner. He was a teammate at Cass Tech of 2007 LSU signee Joseph Barksdale. Top Stories