National Outlook

With Chad Henne moving to the NFL and Ryan Mallett transferring to Arkansas, Michigan has a huge need at quarterback. It was obvious in Saturday's loss to Utah that head coach Rich Rodriguez needs a special type of signal caller to run his offense. The Wolverines feel they got that player in Tate Forcier.

Forcier is a 6-foot-0, 183-pounder from San Diego that can beat opponents with his arm or his legs. In 2007, he completed 77% of his passes for 2,387 yards and 21 touchdowns while also rushing for 733 yards and six touchdowns. He is Scout.com's No. 12 quarterback prospect this year and their No. 111 player overall. He has two brothers that are reserve quarterbacks in the Pac-Ten, Jason at Stanford and Chris at UCLA. Jason signed with Michigan out of high school, but transferred to Stanford after his sophomore season. Tate's other finalists were Penn State, Oregon, Arizona State, and New Mexico.

Forcier is Michigan's second quarterback commit for 2009. In April, Shavodrick Beaver of Wichita Falls, Texas announced that he would attend Michigan in 2009.

Michigan picked up two other commitments at the end of August and they are teammates at Pahokee High School in Pahokee, Fla. Vincent Smith is a running back that went for over 1,300 yards in 2007. He is 5-foot-8, 165-pounds, so his size is a question mark. He picked Michigan over Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Size is also an issue for Brandin Hawthorne. At 6-foot-0, 190-pounds, Hawthorne is small for the linebacker position that he is projected to play in college. He is very athletic and extremely aggressive, piling up 87 tackles and 15 sacks as a defensive end in 2007. West Virginia, Tennessee, Loisville and South Florida were some of the other schools that Hawthorne considered. Smith and Hawthorne will join Pahokee alum Martavious Odoms, a freshman wide receiver, in Ann Arbor.

Ohio State got just one commitment in August, but it was a big one. Jamaal Cherry, a five-star running back from Miami, decided to cast his lot with the Buckeyes, choosing them over the Florida Gators. The 5-foot-11, 193-pound Berry is a tough insider runner that is very strong. He ran for 1,033 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior which led to Scout.com rating him as their No. 35 overall prospect and No. 5 running back in the class of 2009. Berry is the 25th player to commit to Ohio State this year.

While the University of Iowa cannot compete by just getting players from Iowa, the first step in their rebuilding effort is to keep the talented in-state kids at home. The state's best player, running back Brandon Wegher, recently gave the Hawkeyes his commitment. Last season, he rushed for 1,042 yards and caught 12 passes for 214 yards. He reached the end zone 21 times. Last year at the Scout.com combine in Kansas City, Wegher weighed in at 170-pounds. Recently, he tipped the scales at 206-pounds, adding a lot of muscle to his 5-foot-11 frame. He was pretty quiet during the entire recruiting process, but some of the schools believed to have offered Wegher a scholarship include Nebraska, Auburn, Arkansas, Kansas, and Iowa State.

The Hawkeyes followed up the Wegher commitment by landing another Iowan, offensive tackle Brett Van Sloten. The Decorah native stands 6-foot-7, so he should easily be able to add to his 255-pounds. He had received interest from Northern Iowa, Kansas, and Iowa State, where his father was an offensive lineman.

On August 8th, Kentucky received a commitment from four-star quarterback Ryan Mossakowski. However, they were not done at that position. Less than two weeks later, the Wildcats accepted a commitment from five-star Carmel, Ind. quarterback Morgan Newton. Newton threw for 1,900 yards and rushed for 750 yards last season. He accounted for 36 total touchdowns, throwing for 25 and running for 11. He is No. 44 on Scout.com's Top 100 list with just six quarterbacks ranked above him. He picked Kentucky over Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, and Clemson.

6-foot-4, 207-pound Ridge Wilson from Louisville also recently committed to Kentucky. He is a standout at wide receiver and safety, though he could also grow into a linebacker. He could play any of these positions for the Wildcats. Early on, Wilson stated his desire to play in the SEC and chose Kentucky after not receiving an offer from Tennessee. He had offers from Arkansas, Louisville, and Indiana.

LSU and Stanford both received commitments from highly regarded wide receiver prospects. Rantavious Wooten stars for powerhouse Glades Central in Belle Glade, Fla. and next year will suit up for the LSU Tigers. Wooten is 5-foot-11, 175-pounds and like many prospects from Glades Central, he is extremely fast. As a junior he rushed and received for over 1,400 total yards, accumulating 14 touchdowns in the process. The four-star prospect, who had offers from Michigan, West Virginia, and Auburn, had narrowed his choices to LSU and Georgia before selecting the Tigers.

Jamal Patterson stated early in the recruiting process that academics would be an important factor in his college decision. Patterson selecting Stanford shows that this was not just lip service. The 6-foot-2, 203-pound McDonough, Ga. product uses his body well and has enough speed to stretch the field. These traits enabled him to get free for 44 catches accounting for 933 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall. He is this year's No. 15 wide receiver according to Scout.com. His forty time and his grade point average are exactly the same, 4.5. He had interest in USC, Clemson, and Notre Dame before announcing his commitment.

The Cardinal also received a commitment from 6-foot-5, 222-pound defensive end Trent Murphy from Phoenix. He also considered Arizona, Arizona State, and Colorado.

Finally, Alabama got immediate recruiting rewards for beating Clemson on Saturday. Scout.com's No. 2 middle linebacker and No. 50 overall recruit Nico Johnson of Andalusia, Ala. committed to the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Johnson is a typical middle linebacker: big and nasty. Despite missing three games with a torn MCL in 2007, Johnson still had 80 tackles and was named first team all-state for the second year in a row. On August 25th, Johnson told SuperPrep.com's Allen Wallace that Auburn and Alabama were even and that he might wait until signing day to decide. But he also said that he would attend the Alabama/Clemson game in Atlanta. And on Wednesday, he was all Crimson.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories