National Outlook

This past week, the University of Miami picked up their first two commitments of the year. They are both 300-pounders from south Florida, one of which will play on offense and the other will line up on defense.

Brandon Washington of Miami's Edison Senior High School is a 6-foot-4, 315-pound offensive guard. He is very powerful and extremely athletic for someone his size. He has overpowered his high school opponents, so his technique will need to improve to maximize his skills at the next level. Washington was named to the Florida all-state team following both his sophomore and junior seasons at Edison. Location was a major factor in his decision to chose the Hurricanes over Auburn, Rutgers, and USC.

Miami's defensive commitment came from defensive tackle Micanor Regis of Pahookee. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Regis is similar to Washington in that he has used his size and strength to push people around in high school. He will also have to improve his technique before he contributes for the Hurricanes. He had 68 tackles and 15 sacks as a junior. Florida, Florida State, South Carolina, and Clemson were some of the other schools that were vying for his commitment.

Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide snagged three commitments this week, highlighted by 6-foot-3, 265-pound Undra Washington. Washington is athletic enough to play tight end in college, but the Tide will probably have him add a little weight in order to make him a strong side defensive end. The Birmingham native caught 25 passes for 475 yards this past fall while also racking up 112 tackles and eight sacks. It was an Iron Bowl showdown for his commitment, as Washington selected Alabama over rival Auburn.

In December, Alabama tried to lure coach Rich Rodriguez away from West Virginia. In the end, Nick Saban got the job and this week he got a commitment from a West Virginia prospect that picked the Tide over the Mountaineers. Corey Smith of Bunker Hill, W.Va. was named first team all-state as both a kicker and a punter this past season. He had visited the West Virginia campus several times, but he committed to Alabama after visiting Tuscaloosa this past weekend.

At 5-foot-10, 205-pounds, power is the name of Ivan Matchett's game. The running back from Mobile announced this week that he will be taking his bruising style up the road to Tuscaloosa in the fall of 2008. Matchett was an honorable mention all-state selection in 2006 after rushing for 1,416 yards and 22 touchdowns. Houston, Mississippi State, and Kansas also offered him a scholarship.

Auburn added to their secondary by getting a commitment from Picayune, Miss. cornerback Drew Cole. The 6-foot-0, 180-pound Cole went with the Tigers despite having family connections at two other SEC schools. His father, Hoppy, went to Ole Miss and his brother, Mitt, is a senior tight end at LSU. Cole was named first team all-state as a defensive back this past season and also rushed for 601 yards and nine touchdowns. Cole considered Ole Miss and LSU, along with Mississippi State, which was his only other offer.

Last fall, running back Martin Ward of Jonesboro, Ga. committed to Georgia. Since that time, he had been hoping that his cousin, Brandon Boykin of Fayetteville, would join him in Athens. This past week, a Georgia offer came Boykin's way and he accepted. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Boykin will probably play cornerback and return kicks for the Bulldogs, though he could get a look at wide receiver as well. Boykin has flown under the radar, with his only other scholarship offer coming from Duke. Georgia Tech, Auburn, and Ole Miss had been expressing interest.

The state of New Mexico is not known for producing top level football talent. But this year, one of the best quarterbacks in the country hails from Artesia, N.M. and he recently committed to Oklahoma. 6-foot-5, 215-pound Landry Jones was named the state's 4A player of the year this past season after throwing for 3,433 yards and 45 touchdowns. Colorado and UCLA were his other finalists.

Ohio State got their second commitment of the year from a Coffman High School product. Two weeks ago, big time lineman Mike Adams pledged to the Buckeyes and this week his teammate, Jacob Stoneburner, did the same. The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Stoneburner plays wide receiver for Coffman, but his position in college is up in the air. He may stick at receiver, but he also may put on some weight and shift to tight end. Wherever he ends up, the Buckeyes will be getting a productive player that used his good speed and exceptional hands to snag 63 balls for 948 yards and eight touchdowns in 2006. Stoneburner told Greg Powers of Scout.com that he was "born to be a Buckeye", but he was a national recruit that had offers from schools such as USC, Notre Dame, Michigan, and Florida.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories