National Outlook

Before they even coach a game in their new positions, Nick Saban and Randy Shannon are making a huge mark on college football in the south. Each had a big recruiting week, as Saban's Crimson Tide received three big commitments and Shannon's Hurricanes picked up four.

Alabama's first commitment of the week came from Mountain Brook, Ala. offensive lineman Tyler Love. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Love will just need to add a little size before he is ready to be a tackle in the SEC. Scout.com has him as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country and as the 58th best player overall. Love had offers from schools like Florida, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma and many others, but in the end he picked Alabama over Georgia.

The Tide then received commitments from two top flight wide receiver prospects. 5-foot-10, 190-pound Burton Scott did it all for C.F. Vigor High School in Prichard, Ala. last season. He played quarterback and running back as well as wide receiver, totaling over 2,700 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns. Scout.com ranks him as the No. 18 wide receiver prospect in the class of 2008 and gives him a four-star rating. Like Love, Burton held offers from major programs from coast to coast and went with Alabama over Florida and Auburn.

Getting players from Alabama to commit is one thing for Saban, but going into Tallahassee, Fla. and stealing a recruit from Florida State is another. That is exactly what the Tide did when they received a commitment from four-star wide receiver Melvin Ray. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Ray would seem to be a perfect complement to the smaller Scott. In 2006, Ray hauled in 36 passes for 518 yards and five scores. Along with Florida State, Alabama also beat out Florida, LSU, and Georgia.

If that sounds like a good week for Alabama, take a look at Miami, who in the past seven days brought in four players on Scout.com‘s Hot 100. The big fish is five-star defensive tackle Marcus Forston of Northwestern High School in Miami. The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder is Scout.com's 19th best player overall and No. 2 on their list of defensive tackles. In 2006, Forston piled up an incredible 20 sacks from his interior line position, earning him a place on all-county and all-state teams. He had a final two of Miami and Florida State, though he also looked at Florida, LSU, and Notre Dame.

Miami also landed Forston's Northwestern High teammate, four-star wide receiver Aldarius Johnson. At 6-foot-2, 194-pounds, Johnson possesses good size, but he also has a burst that allows him to evade defenders. Johnson is No. 71 on Scout.com's Hot 100 and ranks as their No. 12 receiver after catching 72 passes for 1,361 yards and 19 touchdowns last fall. The other schools that Johnson considered were USC, LSU, Florida, and Florida State.

Miami now has commitments from four players that currently attend Northwestern High School: Forston, Johnson, quarterback Jacory Harris, and guard Brandon Washington.

The other two commitments that Miami took in are both linebackers from Florida. Ramon Buchanan of Melbourne is a four-star prospect that is Scout.com's top rated weak side linebacker and is listed at No. 44 on their Hot 100. At 6-foot-1, 195-pounds he is not the biggest linebacker around, but he has exceptional speed which he uses to generate tremendous power. Buchanan committed to Miami on July 4th, but took a visit to Florida for their Friday Night Lights camp. This past week, he re-affirmed his commitment to the ‘Canes.

Lerentee McCray also committed to Miami in early July, but he also planned on attending Friday Night Lights. However, after canceling his trip to Gainesville, he is now listed as a solid commitment for Miami. McCray's game is similar to that of Buchanan, in that he is not a big linebacker (6-foot-2, 200-pounds) but is very quick. While the Dunnellon native is listed as a firm commitment, he may still visit some other schools, including USC, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

A few players that were on Notre Dame's radar screen at one time or another committed to other programs this week. Blake Ayles of Orange, Calif. is a four-star tight end that will be a USC Trojan in 2008. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Ayles helped Lutheran High School to the California Division 2 state title by catching 43 passes for 616 yards and three touchdowns. Scout.com's No. 69 player overall also considered Ohio State, Arizona State, Wisconsin, and California.

USC also gained a commitment from three-star defensive tackle Armond Armstead from Elk Grove, Calif.

Garrett Goebel from Lombard, Ill. had been looking at most of the power programs in the Midwest. This past week he chose Ohio State over Michigan. Chalk up another victory for Jim Tressel over Lloyd Carr. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Goebel is Scout.com's No. 3 defensive tackle prospect and comes in at No. 63 on the Hot 100. Goebel has good strength, which will only increase once he gets in a college weight room and adds some size to his frame. Iowa, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame were some of the other schools to offer.

Ohio State also added tight end Nic DiLillo from Madison, Ohio. DiLillo had previously given commitments to Clemson and Pittsburgh.

Michigan tried to keep pace with Ohio State by getting super running back Sam McGuffie from Cypress, Texas. Scout.com's No. 59 overall prospect rushed for over 3,200 yards and 44 touchdowns in 2006 to earn all-state honors. Texas did not make an offer, but Texas A&M did and they were Michigan's only real competition. McGuffie is considering graduating in December and enrolling at Michigan in January.

Also, offensive tackle Art Forst of Manasquan, N.J. committed to Rutgers. The 6-foot-8, 305-pound Forst is Scout.com's No. 15 offensive tackle. He chose Rutgers over Florida and Notre Dame.


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