Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Class of 2008 Top Rated Recruiting Classes: The Latest

Since our last update both Texas and Texas A&M have picked up more verbal commitments, with the Aggies picking up an amazing ten additional verbals. Notre Dame and BYU have made moves into the national top ten while USC contnues to roll along as a national recruiting power.

The early theme in the 2008 recruiting battles has been the fast start that the southern Big Twelve powers Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M have gotten off to this recruiting season. You may recall that a year ago Texas wrapped up most of the state's top prospects in early February after their junior day. It certainly didn't hurt that the Longhorns were coming off of a national championship season. Although the Longhorns have once again started out strongly, it should noted that they are not wrapping up all of the top in-state talent as they did last year.

Oklahoma has picked up three elite Texas prospects who are as highly rated as anybody signed by the Longhorns. Texas A&M, while not quite bringing in the elite talent of Oklahoma or Texas, has already received a remarkable 19 in-state verbals, including about ten prospects who could well have received Texas offers down the road.

It is interesting to note that all of the 34 verbals to Texas and Texas A&M are from in-state kids.

Below are my latest rankings. You should note that the rankings are only based on actual high school verbals and do not reflect the status schools may have with uncomitted prospects. Moreover, I do not include junior college prospects in my rankings (I know that Arkansas already has a JUCO commitment):

1. Texas

The Longhorns just keep on rolling and have added four verbals since our last update. Southlake Carroll products Tre' Newton and Riley Dodge are the most touted of the new verbals. They have helped lead their team to consecutive state 5A titles and have great bloodlines with Dodge's father being a former Texas QB (Todd Dodge) who just accepted the head coaching job at North Texas and Newton's dad being former NFL player Nate Newton. Dodge is perhaps the most impressive prep QB in the nation and if he were a couple of inches taller he would have had the entire universe after him. Even with his lack of stature he could still wind up starring at the position in college, he's that good. And if things don't work out at QB he has the athleticism and quicks to play another position, such as WR.

Antoine Hicks and Kheeston Randall are the other two new verbals. They aren't as highly touted as most of the other signees but Texas does a great job of evaluating top in-state talent before everyopne else and both of these kids have great feet for their size and fine athleticism.

Snow is one of three national elite offensive linemen in the state. Buckner is probably the state's top WR and among the nation's best. Monroe is a national-caliber DB. Hills is the RB they wanted and the younger brother of Longhorn Tony Hills. Buchanan has been quickly moving up the charts and ranks just below the elite 3 OLs in the state. Tucker is arguably the nation's top kicker. The others are also all very good, Acho being a small school star and the younger brother of Longhorn signee Sam Acho and Williams looking very, very good at the U.S. Army Combine in San Antonio. Fitzhenry is a star prep QB who will play DB in college.

1 David Snow OL 6'4 280 5.10 Gilmer Texas
2 Dan Buckner WR 6'5 200 4.47 Allen Texas
3 D.J. Monroe DB/WR/RB 5'10 160 4.40 Angleton Texas
4 Jeremy Hills RB 6'0 186 4.40 Alief Elsik Texas
5 Riley Dodge QB/WR/DB 5'11 170 4.59 Southlake Carroll Texas
6 Tre' Newton RB 6'0 194 4.60 Southlake Carroll Texas
7 Aaron Williams DB 6'0 175 4.40 Round Rock McNeil Texas
8 Mark Buchanan OL 6'5 265 4.90 Austin High Texas
9 Ryan Roberson LB/RB 5'10 210 4.52 Brenham Texas
10 Justin Tucker PK 6'0 165 4.65 Austin Westlake Texas
11 Brock Fitzhenry DB/RB/QB/ATH 5'10 180 4.42 Giddings Texas
12 Luke Poehlmann OL 6'7 260 4.98 Brenham Texas
13 Emmanuel Acho LB 6'2 210 4.60 Dallas St. Mark's Texas
14 Antoine Hicks WR/QB/ATH 6'2 190 4.50 Mansfield Timberview Texas
15 Kheeston Randall DL 6'4 270 4.97 Beaumont Monsignor Kelly Texas

2. Texas A&M

Remarkable early numbers for the Aggies. They had ten verbals when we did our last update and have added another ten, giving them a total of 19. Wait, ten plus ten is twenty, isn't it? No, actually one of their former verbals, big OL Britt Mitchell, decommitted last week, but the rest of the news if nothing but good for the Aggies.

Make no mistake, this class lacks the elite top talent of Texas and it will drop down in the rankings once other programs such as USC and Oklahoma start to catch up in numbers, but for the time being with the great quantity in early verbals coupled with several very fine prospects they most definitely merit the number two spot.

The most recent ten commitments include several of the very best prospects in the class. Aundre Dean is one of the better backs in Texas and played for one of the state's top teams. Lamar Harris is another talented prospect from Gilmer who could play on either side of the ball. The three top Gilmer kids have decided to go their separate ways with Justin Johnson headed to Oklahoma and David Snow to Texas.

Keon Furtch and Derrick Hall (one of the fastest players in the state) were being heavily recruited by such programs as LSU and Nebraska and are real good gets. Tony Jerod is another highly regarded verbal. Tommy Dorman was the QB they wanted.

Of the earlier verbals, Square and Johnson could play for anybody and are potential national top 100 types (not quite there yet). Chevalier and Davis are two very athletic and huge linemen who I really like. These are "high ceiling" types who could really surprise. Hyde is almost as good. Lots of very good linemen.

1 Damian Square LB/DL 6'3 230 4.74 Houston Yates Texas
2 Dravannti Johnson LB/DL 6'2 218 4.68 Nederland Texas
3 Lamar Harris DB/WR 6'1 180 4.60 Gilmer Texas
4 Derrick Hall WR/DB/RB 5'11 190 4.30 Beaumont Central Texas
5 Keon Furtch WR/DB 6'2 190 4.50 Paris Texas
6 Tony Jerod DL/TE 6'5 252 4.60 De Soto Texas
7 Leroy Chevalier OL 6'5 315 5.40 Houston Yates Texas
8 Roderick Davis DL 6'4 307 4.95 Aldine Eisenhower Texas
9 Aundre Dean RB 6'1 190 4.48 Katy Texas
10 Jeffrey Hyde OL 6'4 270 4.90 Colleyville Covenant Christian Texas
11 Tommy Dorman QB 6'3 204 4.80 North Richland Hills Birdville Texas
12 Markell Martin DB/WR 6'3 180 4.50 Wichita Falls Rider Texas
13 Kendall Wright WR/DB/ATH 6'0 170 4.40 Pittsburg Texas
14 Blake Chavis DL 6'5 240 Beaumont West Brook Texas
15 Kyle Mangan LB 6'2 225 4.85 Brenham Texas
16 Jordan Fields DB/WR 6'0 185 4.55 Paris Texas
17 Brian Thomas OL 6'4 270 5.00 Pearland Texas
18 Joe Villavisencio OL 6'5 310 5.20 Jacksonville Texas
19 Josh Ayers OL 6'5 282 5.00 Euless Trinity Texas

3. Oklahoma

The Sooners are back with a roar. They don't have the quantity of early verbals that Texas and A&M have received, but their top quality is as good as anybody. In fact, some feel that they may have landed three of the top three to five prospects in Texas in Washington, Good and Johnson. One UT service had Good as the states top prospect. I wonder if that will hold?

1 R.J. Washington DL/LB 6'4 225 4.62 Keller Fossil Ridge Texas
2 Stephen Good OL 6'5 265 5.06 Paris Texas
3 Justin Johnson RB/LB 6'3 210 4.50 Gilmer Texas
4 Daniel Franklin LB 6'3 215 4.60 Mt. Airy Habersham Central Georgia

4. USC

The Trojans are making an early move, picking up an additional three verbals since our last update. Their first two verbals, Shoemate and Kalil, are national top 100 types and among the nation's best at their respective positions. They also happen to be from the same school! The most recent verbals are headed by talented DE Wes Horton, a high-ceiling type with a great frame. Chris Polk and Matt Meyer are both solid gets and similar in ways to Shoemate and Kalil, respectively, although not quite at their elite level. The beat goes on......

1 Dennis "D.J." Shoemate WR/DB 6'1 212 4.50 Anaheim Servite California
2 Matt Kalil OL 6'7 262 5.34 Anaheim Servite California
3 Wes Horton DE 6'6 230 4.80 Sherman Oaks Notre Dame California
4 Chris Polk WR 5'11 191 4.50 Redlands East Valley California
5 Matt Meyer OL 6'8 285 Stockton Lincoln California

5. Georgia

One new commit for Georgia in talented kicker Blair Walsh. Green is a super, arguably the top WR in the nation in a year absolutely loaded at the position. RB will be a position of strength in the future with Samuel and Ward on board. Many feel that Samuel is the top back in the state while Ward looked very good at the U.S. Army combine. Washington is a terror off the edge who has run the 100-meters in the 10.7s (electronic). Once he fills out he could be scary. Allen is a fine TE prospect.

1 A.J. Green WR 6'4 184 4.56 Summerville South Carolina
2 Richard Samuel RB 6'0 197 4.47 Cartersville Cass Georgia
3 Cornelius Washington DL/LB 6'4 220 4.51 Waynesboro Burke County Georgia
4 Martin Ward RB 5'11 185 4.55 Jonesboro Mt. Zion Georgia
5 Dwayne Allen TE/DL 6'4 235 4.80 Fayetteville Terry Sanford North Carolina
6 B.J. Brand OL 6'4 308 Douglas Coffee County Georgia
7 Blair Walsh PK 5'10 170 Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons Florida

6. Tennessee

The Vols is looking to put together back-to-back outstanding classes and are on the road to succeeding in so doing. Douglas has great bloodlines and leads a talented early group. Adding Bartholomew gives them a nice start in wrapping up in-state talent. They are also doing a nice job of raiding neighboring states early for blue-chip talent. Johnson, Poole (a soft verbal) and Floyd would have all been very heavily recruited.

1 Aaron Douglas TE 6'7 240 4.90 Maryville Tennessee
2 Austin Johnson LB 6'3 235 4.65 Hickory North Carolina
3 Tauren Poole RB 5'10 194 4.65 Toccoa Stephens County Georgia
4 J.T. Floyd DB 5'11 176 4.73 Greenville J.L. Mann South Carolina
5 Ben Bartholomew LB/TE/P 6'3 225 Nashville Montgomery Bell Academy Tennessee

7. Notre Dame

Notre Dame makes the jump into the national top ten with four verbals since our last update. These are all prospects with "high floors" and decent ceilings, typical Notre Dame Catholic school kids. The only non-Catholic school prospect, Cave, plays just down the road for state power Penn (same program as Mike Rosenthal a few years back).

The Irish have done a good job in locking-up local talent, landing two of the top three prospects in Indiana along with Cwymar, who is one of the top top linemen in the midwest. Golic, the son of the former ND star and current ESPN broadcaster of the same name, called in from his vacation in Italy to commit to the Irish. He is one of the top linemen in the east. By the way, he has a younger brother to keep an eye out for next year!

1 Sean Cwynar DL/OL 6'4 280 Woodstock Marian Central Catholic Illinois
2 John Goodman WR/QB/ATH 6'3 187 4.71 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger Indiana
3 Mike Golic OL 6'5 260 5.10 West Hartford Northwest Catholic Connecticut
4 Braxston Cave OL 6'3 292 5.38 Mishawaka Penn Indiana

8. Nebraska

Steinkuhler is the top prospect in the state (a good year in Nebraska) and among the nation'Stop linemen. Hoch is probably the top prospect in Iowa and a great early get away from the Hawkeyes. Nebraska jumped on first-year player Okafor as soon as he started to make a name for himself and before other programs could get wind of this fine talent.

1 Baker Steinkuhler OL/DL 6'6 270 4.93 Lincoln Southwest Nebraska
2 Dan Hoch OL 6'7 273 Harlan Iowa
3 Collins Okafor RB 6'1 205 4.50 Omaha Westside Nebraska

9. Clemson

Bowers is an elite national prospect and a huge get for the Tigers. They are already set at QB with ahtletic Kyle Parker and Jon Richt, the son of Georgia head coach Mark Richt. Jones is a nice receiver and Skinner a fine long-snapper.

1 DaQuan Bowers DL/TE 6'6 265 4.70 Bamberg-Ehrhardt South Carolina
2 Kyle Parker QB 6'0 190 4.55 Jacksonville Bartram Trail Florida
3 Marquan Jones WR 6'0 175 Blythewood South Carolina
4 Matt Skinner OL/LSN 6'6 220 Jacksonville Bolles Florida
5 Jon Richt QB 6'1 185 5.48 Athens Prince Avenue Christian Georgia

10. BYU

BYU jumps into the top ten with four new verbals. Holt, one of the nation's elite TE prospects, tops the list. The Sorensen cousins are also very good prospects.

1 Austin Holt TE/LB 6'6 220 4.90 South Jordan Bingham Utah
2 Daniel Sorensen DB/WR/PK 6'0 175 Colton California
3 Justin Sorensen PK/LB 6'2 215 South Jordan Bingham Utah
4 Cameron Comer DB/WR 6'1 170 4.56 Springville Utah

11. West Virginia

Jenkins is among the nation's elite prospects and Rich Rodriguez is going to have to hold off the rest of world in keeping him a Mountaineer.

1 Josh Jenkins OL/DL 6'3 282 5.20 Parkersburg West Virginia
2 Jeff Braun DL/OL 6'5 315 5.50 Winters Mill Maryland

12. Oklahoma State

Gillespie is a great pick-up from local power Jenks and i among the top DL prospects in the nation. Same goes with kicker Sharp. Spano ranks among the top QBs in Texas. Nice start for th Cowboys as they join th Big 12's early rush of verbals.

1 Tony Gillespie DL/RB/TE 6'2 295 4.90 Jenks Oklahoma Oklahoma State
2 Quinn Sharp PK/P 6'0 180 4.60 Mansfield Summit Texas Oklahoma State
3 Kody Spano QB 6'3 200 4.75 Stephenville Texas Oklahoma State

13. Virginia Tech

Taylor is a monster and among the nation's elite linebackers. Recent verbal McCoy is a nice-sized receiver with good ball skills.

1 Bruce Taylor LB/DL 6'3 230 4.65 Myrtle Beach South Carolina
2 Derrick McCoy WR/LB/DB 6'3 210 4.55 Amherst County Virginia

14. Arkansas

Hall is among the nation's largest prospects and is a true blue-chiipper. Still a bit raw as he grows into his body, but has a very, very high ceiling. Youngblood is the top QB in the state and was just starting to receive national attention when he committed to Arkansas.

1 Matt Hall OL 6'9 312 5.60 Dardanelle Arkansas
2 Jim Youngblood QB 6'3 212 4.69 Camden Fairview Arkansas

15. Missouri

Missouri just landed one of the nation's top TE prospects in Andrew Jones, one of the top 3 prospects in the state. Ruth and Madison are more sleeper types. Madison plays for a small school but has a great frame that should fill out nicely in college.

1 Andrew Jones TE/DL 6'5 225 5.06 Smithville Missouri
2 Travis Ruth OL 6'3 280 Jefferson City Missouri
3 Brad Madison OL/DL 6'5 235 South Harrison Missouri

16. Michigan

Cissiko is probably the best pure cover corner in the class and was the overall MVP at the U.S. Army Combine. Helps alleviate the sting of losing RoJo to USC.

1 Boubacar Cissoko DB/WR 5'9 175 4.40 Detroit Cass Tech Michigan


At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to update this list. Over the weekend UCLA cleaned up. Getting eleven total commits including some elite prospects.

Anthony Dye DB 5-10 178 4.5 - Corona, CA
Johnathan Franklin RB 5-10 181 4.4 - Los Angeles, CA
Aaron Hester DB 6-0 180 4.44 - Compton, CA
Damien Holmes DE 6-4 245 4.9 - Colton, CA
Jerry Johnson WR 6-3 187 4.47 - Venice, CA
Datone Jones DE 6-4 235 4.8 - Compton, CA
Uona Kavienga LB 6-0 228 4.6 - Los Angeles, CA
Rahim Moore DB 6-0 185 4.45 - Los Angeles, CA
Antwon Moutra WR 6-3 183 4.45 - Culver City, CA
E.J. Woods

Kemonte Bateman also commited, pending an official offer which is contingent on his grades.

This last weekend puts UCLA firmly into the top 10 classes thus far.

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be curious on your takes on the latest speculation re: A&M's recruiting haul: specifically, that Dean (looking to UCLA), Square (looking to OU), and Chevalier (looking to Georgia) have or are bout to decommit.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for yet another call for an update, but Texas A&M is losing recruits by the day. Dravannti Johnson status on rivals seems to have changed and A&M isn't even on his interest list.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about Ohio State

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