Austin Long, from Memphis, is Scout.com's No. 7 offensive tackle and holds down the No. 100 spot in their Top 300 rankings. The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder was an all-region selection this past fall at Briarcrest Christian School. A very good student, Long may take summer classes in an effort to be an early enrollee at Georgia. He held offers from 14 schools, including Tennessee, Alabama, Miami, Auburn, Florida, and Florida State.
A few days before he committed, Long got a phone call from Tampa quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray had committed to the Bulldogs and his first order of business was to secure Long's commitment. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Murray put up incredible numbers last fall, throwing for 4,012 yards and 51 touchdowns, prompting Scout.com to rate him as their No. 8 quarterback and No. 84 prospect regardless of position. Making these stats even more remarkable was that 2007 was Murray's first year ever playing quarterback. Murray selected Georgia over UCLA and Florida, the school most recruiting experts thought he would choose.
The two best rivalries in college football may be Alabama-Auburn and Ohio State-Michigan. This week, all four of those schools added commitments, with the Tigers, Buckeyes, and Wolverines getting more than one.
Both of Auburn's commits are from the same school, Bessemer Academy in Bessemer, Ala. 6-foot-3, 210-pound Harris Gaston was the first to commit, doing so early last week. Gaston piled up 112 tackles as a junior to go along with 12 sacks and five interceptions while playing defensive end for Bessemer. However, Auburn, like all the schools that were recruiting him, will start him out at one of the linebacker positions. He also had offers from Mississippi State and Kentucky.
Six days later, his teammate, wide receiver Brandon Heavens, also committed to the Tigers. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Heavens was selected as AISA back of the year and was named first team all-state after amassing 730 yards rushing, 1,236 yards receiving, 585 yards on kickoff returns, and 568 yards on punt returns. He also reached the end zone a total of 22 times. Heavens picked Auburn over Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee, and Kentucky.
The Tide got a commitment from Jonesboro, Ga. offensive lineman Darius McKeller. The 6-foot-6, 295-pound McKeller was recruited by Alabama as a left tackle, though if he does not have the agility to play that position he can easily switch over to the right side. He went to Tuscaloosa for Alabama's spring game and knew at that time he would eventually select the Tide. Ten days later, he made it official. His only other offer was from Mississippi State.
When the final recruiting rankings are tabulated next fall, there is no doubt that Ohio State will be at or near the top. They added to their already impressive commitment list this week, getting three more big-time pledges. Four-star defensive end Melvin Fellows committed to Illinois just before Christmas, but last week he switched to Ohio State. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Fellows is No. 82 on Scout.com's Top 300 and is rated as the nation's No. 10 defensive end. Ohio State already has commitments from seven players listed in Scout.com's Top 100.
The Buckeyes then got a commitment from Youngstown, Ohio offensive lineman Corey Linsley. At 6-foot-4, 285-pounds, Linsley will be a guard in the Big Ten even though he plays tackle at Boardman High School. Scout.com has him as the No. 4 guard prospect in the class of 2009. In early April, Linsley said that he wanted to visit all of his top schools and then decide next December. But from the start everyone knew that Ohio State was his top choice and with the Buckeyes' scholarship slots filling up, he figured it was best to end the process sooner rather than later. The other members of his final three were Notre Dame and Stanford.
After taking in Michigan transfer Justin Boren, the Buckeyes received a commitment from his brother, Zach. Zach is a middle linebacker at Pickering High School in Pickering, Ohio. But he is 6-foot-1, 255-pounds, so it is possible that he could grow into a defensive lineman. Zach had looked at Michigan until his brother transferred to Ohio State, which is when he began to focus on the Buckeyes.
Because Michigan is very thin at the quarterback position, it was imperative that their coaching staff find a signal caller in the class of 2009 that fits into Rich Rodriguez's spread offense. This past week, they got commitments from two. Kevin Newsome from Chesapeake, Va. threw for over 1,600 yards as a junior. Just as importantly to the Michigan staff, he rushed for more than 500 yards and scored 11 rushing touchdowns. He is the No. 41 overall prospect and the fifth best quarterback in the junior class according to Scout.com. Penn State, Virginia Tech, Florida, and Maryland were among the schools that he considered.
The other quarterback to commit to Michigan was Shavodrick Beaver from Wichita Falls, Texas. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder picked Michigan over TCU. Several Big XII programs (Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State to name a few) were interested in Beaver, but they were recruiting him as a wide receiver while he wanted an opportunity as a quarterback.
Fellow Big Ten rival Penn State also received a pair of commitments this week. 6-foot-1, 185-pound Malcolm Willis plays both quarterback and safety for Lackey High School in Indian Head, Md. But he had 95 tackles and three interceptions on defense last fall and that is where he will play in Happy Valley. He was a second team all-county selection as a safety while being selected first team all-area as a quarterback. Penn State was his only offer at the time, though he was also being recruited heavily by Maryland.
The Nittany Lions also got a commitment from Philadelphia offensive lineman Mark Arcidiancono. Arcidincono had seen his stock rise in the recent weeks. After getting offers from schools like Rutgers, UConn, and Western Michigan earlier in the year, the 6-foot-5, 285-pounder had recently been offered by Florida and Notre Dame. But it has been a lifelong dream to play at Penn State and that dream will be fulfilled in the fall of 2009.
Finally, Clemson got a commitment from Scout.com's No. 1 safety, Craig Loston of Houston. The five-star prospect is also ranked No. 12 Scout.com's Top 300 list. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is very physical and also has 4.4 speed that allows him to cover as well as any safety in the class of 2009. He went with Clemson over Miami, LSU, and Michigan.
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