National Outlook

On signing day, Tennessee came up short at running back, failing to land even one tailback. Since the first week in February, the Vols have certainly filled hole, first getting four-star prospect David Oku and, more recently, Scout.com's No. 1 overall 2009 prospect, Bryce Brown of Wichita.

The 6-foot-0, 210-pounder's recruitment certainly was not boring. He committed early to Miami, where his brother is a freshman linebacker. He kept his options open even though he seemingly did not get serious about looking at schools until signing day had passed. On the field, Brown is the total package. He is a powerful runner that possesses exceptional speed and vision. This past fall he rushed for 1,872 yards and 30 touchdowns, earning him a spot on just about every All-American team. At one point, it looked like Brown would select Oregon and he also visited Clemson, Missouri, Kansas State, and LSU before signing with Tennessee.

Since arriving in Ann Arbor, Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez has struggled to find a quarterback that fits his offense. Freshman Tate Forcier is currently getting his opportunity as the Wolverines begin spring practice. But next year, Forcier will get serious competition as Michigan received a 2010 commitment from four-star prospect Devin Gardner of Inkster, Mich. The 6-foot-4, 196-pound Gardner threw for 1,886 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2008 while also rushing for 1,401 yards and 22 scores. His mechanics need to be refined, but he has the athleticism Rodriguez looks for in a quarterback. His other finalists were Michigan State, LSU, West Virginia, and Baylor.

The Wolverines also grabbed two players that live in enemy territory. Wide receiver D.J. Williamson from Warren, Ohio and defensive end Antonio Kinard of Youngstown, Ohio both became Michigan commitments during the past week. Michigan was the first program to offer a scholarship to both Williamson and Kinard.

West Virginia was the first school to offer Richmond, Va. offensive tackle Marquis Wallace and he was expecting many others to follow. But when the Mountaineers also offered running back Trey Johnson, his friend and teammate at Varina High School, they both decided to end the recruiting process by committing to West Virginia. The 6-foot-4, 290-pound Wallace was named second team Group AAA All-State after opening holes that led to 1,969 yards and 24 touchdowns for the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Johnson, who was also named second team Group AAA All-State.

Former Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham used to spend the early part of the recruiting season evaluating prospects. New coach Steve Sarkisian is taking a much more aggressive approach and it has paid off to the tune of five commitments so far this season. This past week, the Huskies added two recruits, linebackers Chris Young of Auburn, Wash. and Darius Waters of Lakewood, Wash. Both players are roughly the same size, 6-foot-1, 215-pounds, but they have different strengths. Young is a high school safety that excels in coverage while Waters is best at getting to the quarterback. Waters picked the Huskies over Washington State while Young was hearing from Washington State, Colorado, and Oregon State.

It was a busy week in the Big 12, as several schools accepted key commitments. Missouri actually scored two, going to the Dallas area to get them both. 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback James Franklin of Lake Dallas committed during his visit to Columbia. He passed for 2,452 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior and also ran for 1,052 yards and 18 touchdowns. Missouri was his first offer, though several other Big 12 schools were monitoring his progress. Arlington tight end Eric Waters became a Tiger on the same day as Franklin. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder was also hearing from Rice.

Another Dallas product, running back Aaron Spikes, recently committed to Texas Tech. The Pinkston High School star ran for 1,620 yards and crossed the goal line 16 times this past fall. For his efforts, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Spikes was named to the 4A All-District team. He had offers from Kansas State and Texas Christian, but he accepted the Red Raider offer as soon as it was extended.

When it comes to the Big 12, though, it really comes down to Oklahoma and Texas, and both of the powers took in a commitment this week. The Oklahoma commitment came from 6-foot-5, 315-pound Mustang, Okla. native Bronson Irwin. Irwin has visited Norman several times and is very familiar with the Sooner program and staff. He had a very impressive offer list which included Alabama, Auburn, Nebraska, and Oklahoma State.

Texas added another Scout.com Top 100 player when cornerback Adrian White selected the Longhorns. The only surprise is that it took this long for the 5-foot-11, 175-pound DeSoto product to commit to Texas. As a junior, White had five interceptions to go along with 55 tackles. He chose Texas over LSU, USC, Florida, and Tennessee. He is the second DeSoto High School player to commit to Texas for 2010, joining wide receiver Darius Terrell, who committed at the Longhorns' first junior day. Another teammate, offensive tackle Evan Washington, holds offers from LSU, Oklahoma, and Miami, and will likely be a Longhorn if they have a scholarship available.


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