National Outlook

Now that their football seasons are over, it seems that many of the nation's top football prospects are looking to get college decisions made before the holidays. Dozens of schools have picked up multiple commitments so far in December, with the big prize going to Miami in the person of Arthur Brown.

Scout.com ranks the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Arthur Brown as the nation's No. 4 player and its top strong side linebacker. In 2006, Brown finished the season with 158 tackles and eight sacks for East High School in Wichita, Kan. He was one of the first selections to the 2008 Army All American game, which takes place in San Antonio on January 5th. More than likely, his brother, Bryce, will be participating in that game next year. A junior, Bryce will be one of the top running back prospects in the class of 2009. Arthur picked Miami over Florida, LSU, North Carolina, and USC.

Just before Brown announced his commitment to Miami in a press conference at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, Chris Harper of Wichita Northwest High School told the crowd that he would be attending Kansas State next year. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Harper is listed as the No. 37 running back in the nation by Scout.com, but he played quarterback at Northwest High and may be given an opportunity to play that position for the Wildcats. Some schools, including Notre Dame, recruited Harper as a wide receiver, while others liked his potential as a linebacker. So it is quite obvious that there are plenty of ways that Harper could see the field at Kansas State. His other finalists were Illinois and Oregon.

Harper was not the only prospect to commit to Kansas State recently. Nine other players have selected Kansas State since December 1st. This gives them 21 total commitments.

It is been a good December for the Colorado Buffaloes. After opening the month by getting a commitment from five-star linebacker Lynn Katoa, they have followed it up with five other commitments, including four from players who had originally pledged to Big XII North rival Nebraska. Four-star offensive lineman Bryce Givens from Denver committed to Nebraska in April. But since that time, rumors have swirled indicating that the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder was looking elsewhere. When Nebraska replaced Bill Callahan as its head coach, the speculation intensified. Last week, all the talk became reality when Scout.com's No. 11 offensive tackle committed to Colorado. Givens also visited Texas before deciding on the Buffaloes.

Junior college linebacker Shaun Mohler was the first to change his commitment from Nebraska to Colorado. This is the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder's third commitment, as he had picked California in May before switching to Nebraska in June. The Orange Coast College product was Mission Conference defensive player of the year this season after piling up 93 tackles, 22 of which accounted for lost yardage. Mohler also looked at Oregon after de-committing from Nebraska just after Thanksgiving.

The two other players that spurned Nebraska in favor of Colorado were 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end Josh Williams of Denton, Texas and 6-foot-2, 217-pound linebacker Doug Rippy of Trotwood, Ohio. The Buffs also landed three-star offensive guard Max Tuioti-Mariner, who selected Colorado over Arizona and Oregon.

The rough stretch for Nebraska continued when former commit Trevor Robinson, an offensive lineman from Omaha, announced that he would enroll early at Notre Dame. The No. 99 prospect on Scout.com's National 100 also looked at Michigan.

While he was the head coach at Notre Dame, Tyrone Willingham was heavily criticized for his failures in recruiting. But right now he is on a recruiting roll at Washington. After landing four strong prospects in November, he has pulled in six solid recruits this month. Three of the those players hold four-star rankings, including one that he stole from USC.

Redlands, Calif. native Chris Polk committed to the Trojans just after signing day. The opportunity for early playing time seems to be the major reason for his change of heart. The 5-foot-11, 195-pound Polk played mostly wide receiver as a junior, catching 62 passes for 1,167 yards. This year, he played running back the majority of the time and rushed for over 1,200 yards and 34 touchdowns. Scout.com has him as the No. 11 running back in this year's class, but he could play either position at the next level.

The Huskies also grabbed commitments from two four-star recruits from the Seattle area. 6-foot-6, 255-pound defensive end/tight end Everrette Thompson from Burien, Wash. chose Washington over both Oregon schools, both Arizona schools, and Washington State. Alameda Ta'amu, a 6-foot-4, 330-pound offensive guard from Seattle, had offers from Arizona, Hawaii, and Oregon State.

Pittsburgh has also cashed in big time during this holiday season. They have gotten seven commitments recently, including three quarterbacks and star receiver Jonathan Baldwin from Aliquippa, Pa. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Baldwin is ranked as the No. 5 tight end in the country by Scout.com, but more than likely he will wind up at wide receiver for the Panthers. Baldwin had 613 yards and 10 touchdowns on 41 receptions in 2007 after catching 21 passes for 470 yards and five scores as a junior. He also considered Florida and Miami.

Some of the other top players that have committed this month include wide receiver Chris Tolliver and defensive end Chase Clement to LSU, running back Jamal Womble to North Carolina, and Indianapolis running back Darius Willis to Indiana. Also, Alabama received commitments from three four-star recruits to bring their team ranking up to No. 3.

Finally, quarterback D.C. Jefferson decided that his first intention was the right one. In August, the Winter Haven, Fla. product surprisingly committed to Rutgers. In October, the 6-foot-6, 240-pounder switched his commitment to LSU only to see the Tigers receive a commitment from another quarterback, Jordan Jefferson, a few weeks later. Whether that had any affect on D.C. is unclear, but in early December, after having home visits with coaches from both programs, he changed his commitment back to Rutgers.


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