National Outlook

A little over a week after receiving a commitment from five-star running back Edwin Baker, Michigan State landed another Top 100 running back in Battle Creek, Mich. star Larry Caper.

At 5-foot-11, 210-pounds, Caper has the same build as Baker and they both run in the 4.4 range. Caper has started for Battle Creek Central High School since he arrived as a freshman and he rushed for 1,472 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2007. Caper also held offers from Michigan, Iowa, and Stanford.

The Spartans also picked up a quarterback for the future. 6-foot-3, 185-pound Andrew Maxwell from Midland, Texas is a prototypical pocket passer with a big arm. Last fall, he threw for 1,831 yards and 20 touchdowns and led his school to the Michigan state finals. ranks Maxwell as the No. 14 junior in the state of Michigan and Michigan State was his first offer.

Texas kept the ball rolling by getting commitments from four Lone Star state natives. 6-foot-2, 220-pound Tariq Allen is a four-star middle linebacker from Irving that had 123 tackles, 19 of which resulted in lost yardage, and six sacks as a junior. Allen received his offer a couple of weeks ago at the Longhorns' Junior Day. His other two finalists were Texas A&M and Oklahoma.

On February 24th, Kenny Vaccaro told that he was wide open. Five days later, he committed to Texas. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound athlete intercepted seven balls and had 110 tackles from his cornerback position, while also playing wide receiver for Brownwood High School. Vaccaro had offers from Stanford, USC, and Baylor. Also, Florida, Oklahoma, and Notre Dame were biginning to show interest.

The other two recent Texas commitments are both tight ends. Barrett Matthews from Houston picked the Longhorns over the Houston Cougars, and Texas was the first offer for Trey Graham of Waco. Matthews is more of a receiving tight end at this time, while Graham could become a dominant blocker when he adds weight to his 6-foot-5, 225-pound frame.
,br> However, the top junior in Texas will be leaving the state to attend college. Five-star quarterback Russell Sheppard last week committed to LSU. Many scouts saw the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Houston resident as a top-flight wide receiver prospect, but Sheppard wanted the chance to play quarterback and LSU coach Les Miles will give him that opportunity. This past year, Sheppard rushed for 1,525 yards and 18 touchdowns while passing for 794 yards and seven scores. He was being pursued by all the big programs and had interest in Michigan, Florida, and Texas.

The three major programs in Florida all picked up big-time commitments recently. Florida State got a couple in Top 100 running back Chris Thompson and three-star defensive end Brandon Jenkins. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound Thompson had over 3,100 total yards and 35 touchdowns in 2007 for Madison County High School in Madison, Fla. Clemson and Ole Miss had offered scholarships, but Thompson is a life-long FSU fan and they were always the clear cut leader. Brandon Jenkins, from Tallahassee, also grew up a Seminole fan. So when their offer arrived, he committed. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder will most likely be a weak side defensive end that looks to put some heat on opposing quarterbacks. He said that he would have visited Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and South Carolina if Florida State had not offered.

Florida State did lose a local product when Quincy, Fla. defensive tackle Gary Brown chose Florida. Brown is 6-foot-4, 275-pounds and is very athletic. He had 25 sacks as a junior, which is a huge number for a defensive tackle. ranks him as the No. 38 player in the class of 2009 and as the No. 6 defensve tackle. His recruitment came down to a battle between the Gators and the Seminoles with Florida winning out in the end.

Hialeah, Fla. defensive end Oliver Vernon will remain in south Florida for his college years as he committed to Miami. ranked the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Jenkins as the No. 19 defensive end in America after he piled up 52 tackles and 12.5 sacks in 2007. The Hurricanes only signed one defensive end in February and Vernon told's Mike Bakas that the opportunity for playing time influenced his decision. The fact that he has always been a big Hurricanes fan also played a large part in his commitment. He also considered Auburn, Illinois, and South Carolina.

Three other players listed in's Top 100 made decisions this past week. Linebacker Todd Golper of Arcadia, Calif. selected UCLA over Stanford and Arizona; tight end Levine Toilolo of La Mesa, Calif. picked Stanford over Florida, Cal, UCLA, and Vanderbilt; while Trenton, N.C. defensive end Donte Moss chose North Carolina over Maryland. UNC landed two other recruits, defensive tackle Jared McAdoo and offensive tackle David Collins, which brings their commitment total to ten. Top Stories