6-foot-2, 220-pound running back Dexter Pratt trekked to Baton Rouge from his hometown of Navasota, Texas the last weekend in March. The following Monday, Pratt held a press conference at Navasota High School to announce that he was committing to LSU.
In 2007, Pratt rushed for 2,058 yards and 20 touchdowns on just 205 carries, earning him the No. 56 spot on the Scout.com Top 100. He is very good friends with five-star quarterback Russell Shepard, who committed to LSU in early March. Pratt chose LSU over Oklahoma and Texas.
LSU followed up the Pratt commitment by getting one from middle linebacker Kevin Minter of Suwanee, Ga. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound Minter has the size and speed needed to play the middle in the SEC. As a junior, Minter racked up 137 tackles after having 154 tackles as a defensive end in 2006. He is Scout.com's No. 5 middle linebacker prospect and its No. 91 player overall. South Carolina, USC, Oklahoma, and West Virginia were some of the other schools that he considered.
Minter decided to leave the state of Georgia to play college ball, but the Georgia Bulldogs were able to keep a native son home in Warner Robins defensive end Abry Jones. At 6-foot-4, 250-pounds, Jones may grow into a defensive tackle, but as of now, he is projected as an end. He is No. 53 on the Scout.com Top 100 and is listed as the nation's No. 4 defensive end.
His Northside High School team is a perennial Georgia power and won the 2007 AAAA state championship. He also looked closely at Miami and Clemson.
The Bulldogs also helped out their linebacking corps by adding 6-foot-1, 195-pound Shawn Williams of Blakely, Ga. Georgia was his first offer.
Many experts considered Tennessee's 2008 class a disappointment. After years of contending for recruiting's top spot, the Vols dipped to No. 35 in last year's team rankings, placing them ninth in the SEC behind Arkansas, South Carolina, and Mississippi State.
While that was a surprise, Tennessee has started off their 2009 recruiting campaign with a surprise of their own, grabbing a commitment from Philadelphia wide receiver Je'Ron Stokes. Many felt that the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Stokes would wind up at Penn State, but a visit to Knoxville changed everything and led to his Tennessee commitment. Stokes is ranked No. 36 on the Scout.com Top 100 and is the No. 5 wide receiver in the class of 2009. Along with Tennessee and Penn State, Stokes also considered Illinois, Minnesota, and Oklahoma.
Not surprisingly, Texas was the only non-SEC school to get a Top 100 commitment over the past two weeks. That commitment was from 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive tackle Mason Walters. The Wolfforth, Texas native is the No. 43 overall prospect and No. 4 offensive tackle according to Scout.com, and is rated as the No. 7 player in Texas according to InsideTexas.com. His final five consisted of Texas, Texas Tech, Notre Dame, LSU, and USC. The Longhorns now have 17 commitments.
Oklahoma kept pace with their rivals to the south by picking up three recent commitments. Middle linebacker Jaydin Bird of Conway Springs, Kan. is the highest-rated Sooner commitment. He holds a four-star ranking and is 2009's No. 13 middle linebacker prospect according to Scout.com. Bird played just four games this past fall, making 60 tackles before suffering a broken leg. As a sophomore, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Bird played running back and had 23 touchdowns and over 1,500 yards rushing. His other offers came from Miami, Kansas, and Kansas State.
The Sooners also accepted commitments from Wichita Falls, Texas wide receiver Eric Ward and Lawton, Okla. safety Javon Harris. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Ward earned all-district honors as a junior and held offers from Oklahoma State, Kansas, and Texas A&M. Harris played on both sides of the ball, but the 92 tackles and five interceptions are what caught the eye of the Oklahoma coaches. The 6-foot-0, 190-pounder picked the Sooners over Kansas State and Tulsa.
It's rare when a player from Ohio that has an Ohio State offer selects hated Michigan. That is exactly what happened on March 28th when Massillon, Ohio cornerback J.T. Turner picked Michigan over Ohio State. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Turner visited Michigan in mid-March for its "Night of Champions" festivities. Two weeks later, he was back in Ann Arbor to watch a spring practice. An opportunity for early playing time was a big reason that he chose Michigan. Pittsburgh, Illinois, and West Virginia were some of the other schools to offer Turner.
Turner was not the only Ohio native to commit to Michigan at the end of March. Youngstown linebacker Isaiah Bell will also be donning the maize and blue in 2009. Bell made 49 tackles and picked off four passes along with returning two punts for touchdowns in 2007. He is 6-foot-2, 205-pounds and has long arms that can disrupt passing lanes. His other offers were from West Virginia, Miami of Ohio, Bowling Green, and Cincinnati.
Michigan's other commitment was Detroit Cass Tech running back Teric Jones. Michigan was his first offer, though schools like USC, Michigan State, and Alabama were showing interest. Defensive tackle William Campbell, his teammate at Cass Tech, was Michigan's first commitment of the year. 2008 Michigan signee Boubacar Cissoko also attends Cass Tech.
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