National Outlook

It has been a rough year for Nebraska fans. First, the football team has stumbled through a 5-6 season. Now, they have lost their top commitment to a conference rival.

In October, five-star quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who had committed to Nebraska back in May, looked at the uncertainty surrounding the Husker program and decided to visit other schools. This past week, the Ballwin, Mo. native switched his commitment to Missouri. At 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, Gabbert is big and strong, has a powerful arm, and shows good mobility. Gabbert threw for over 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior. He injured his shoulder early this season and has had very little playing time. Gabbert is Scout.com's No. 4 quarterback prospect and comes in at No. 48 on the National Top100 list.

Gabbert's good friend, Will Compton, of Bonne Terre, Mo., is still committed to Nebraska at this time. But the four-star linebacker is looking around and Missouri is being strongly considered. He will probably not make a final decision until the status of the Nebraska coaching staff is settled.

In late October, two linebackers that had some interest in Notre Dame (Brendan Beal and Jon Major) committed to other schools. Last week, it happened again when 6-foot-3, 230-pound middle linebacker Etienne Sabino of Miami committed to Ohio State. The four-star Sabino is the No. 4 middle linebacker in the class of 2008, and the No. 74 player overall according to Scout.com. Sabino had 131 tackles and eight sacks as a junior. He had eliminated the Irish from consideration over the summer and picked the Buckeyes over North Carolina, USC, and Miami.

Penn State went deep into the heart of Texas and came away with super athlete D'Anton Lynn of Celina. Scout.com gives him a four-star ranking and has him as the No. 17 safety in America, but the Nittany Lions plan on starting him out at cornerback. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Lynn missed much of his junior season with an ankle injury, but that did not inhibit major programs from recruiting him. Penn State was the favorite throughout the recruiting process, but Oklahoma made a late charge and got him to visit Norman twice this fall. He also had offers from Florida, Ohio State, and USC.

Staying in the Big Ten, Illinois got a commitment from four-star tight end Hubie Graham of Scranton, Pa. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Graham is a solid blocker and caught 35 passes for 615 yards and seven touchdowns in 2006. He is rated as the nation's No. 13 tight end prospect by Scout.com, and was second team class AAA all-state as a junior. Iowa and Pittsburgh were thought to be the leaders before his commitment to the Illini, while UCLA and Georgia Tech were also serious contenders for his commitment.

On November 24th, Alabama and Auburn will clash once again in the Iron Bowl. This past week, each school received a four-star commitment.

Don't'a Hightower of Lewisburg, Tenn. is a sensational athlete. As a sophomore, he rushed for over a 1,000 yards in just four games. His junior year, he moved to tight end and caught 18 passes for 253 yards and four scores. But it is on defense where he commanded the most attention and next year the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder will be playing either linebacker or defensive end for the Alabama Crimson Tide. He selected the Tide over Vanderbilt, with Tennessee, Auburn, and Georgia Tech also receiving consideration.

Auburn got a commitment from 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive lineman Jermaine Johnson, who is currently prepping at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. Johnson played last year at St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. and signed with Auburn in February. When he did not qualify, he enrolled at Hargrave. Johnson was also a basketball player at St. Thomas Aquinas and shows good athletic ability for someone so large. He had also looked at Mississippi State.

In October, LSU received a commitment from Florida quarterback D.C. Jefferson. This past week, another quarterback named Jefferson committed to the Tigers. This one is Jordan Jefferson from Destrehan, La. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder broke his wrist last season, but still threw for over 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns. So far this year, his team is undefeated after 11 games and he has thrown for 1,994 yards and 20 touchdowns. His only other offer was from Ole Miss, though he visited Alabama for the game against LSU.

The Tigers also landed four-star safety Karnell Hatcher of Delray Beach, Fla. Scout.com's No. 14 safety had 65 tackles and one interception as a junior. LSU beat out Miami to get Hatcher, who also visited Michigan.


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