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Around the Nation with Allen Wallace

Iowa safety Jordan Bernstine, from Lincoln High School in Des Moines, said he favors Iowa and Nebraska slightly over UCLA, Texas A&M, and Pittsburgh. All have offered.

"Iowa and Nebraska do have a slight lead, but it's mainly because they are the only two schools I've visited out of my top five. Things may change after my official visits to the other schools," said the Scout.com four-star defensive back.

"Iowa is recruiting me the hardest and they are the closest to home--so I've visited a couple times. The fact that they have a pretty good football program is a big plus, and I also get along well with the coaches.

"Nebraska was the first to offer me. I visited for Junior Day in April, and they have the best facilities I've seen. I like the winning tradition of their football program," he said.

"UCLA has the best location because it's in California, and I am originally from there. They are recruiting me pretty hard. Since the coaching staff has shown so much interest in me, I am showing interest in them.

Jordan Bernstine

"Texas A&M is a program on-the-rise. My uncle went there and then went on to the pros. Plus, the Big 12 is a tough conference," said Bernstine, who lists at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds and is credited with 4.45 forty yard dash speed.

"I don't know too much about Pittsburgh other than I've heard that their facilities are great. I got to meet the coaches at a Nike combine at Ohio State.

"I want to get a chance to see all of my top five schools, so I probably won't commit until after my senior season."

Detroit defensive tackle Joseph Barksdale said he favors Texas slightly over Ohio State.

"I'm still planning not to commit (even privately) until at least mid-season. I don't want to make a rash or emotional decision. My parents are also making me wait 'til then because they want to make sure my thinking is straight," said Barksdale, from Cass Tech High School.

"I won't make any announcement of any decision until the end of the season, but I'll probably make up my mind around mid-season. I'll still want to take some official visits just to make sure that my 'soft decision' is the right one, and I'll be able to meet players--so I'll probably see three of my top four schools, but I haven't set any dates yet.

"Texas is recruiting me the hardest. I visited in June, and I last spoke to coach (Mack) Brown about two weeks ago. He's funny, for one, but I also really like him because he's understanding and he can relate to people. He knows how hard the recruiting process is, and he understands that it will be a while still before I decide," Barksdale said. "Texas has an edge, slightly, because of their great engineering program, high graduation rate, and the success their defense tackles have in the NFL. I've been keeping my eye on Sean Rogers, who plays defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions. He came from Texas, and now he's the highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL. I have an uncle who lives in Dallas, but that isn't really a factor.

"I go back and forth between Texas and Ohio State. It used to be just those two schools, but I talked to my parents about three and a half weeks ago, and we decided I should be serious about more schools. But Ohio State has great fan support. And football in Ohio is so big. I really like the accommodations at Ohio State, which the players have, and the locker rooms too. The coaches take really good care of the players. Coach (Jim) Tressel is very approachable. Ever since the first time I visited, I couldn't distinguish the head coach from the others because he's just a regular guy.

"Tied behind Texas and Ohio State would be Michigan and Notre Dame," Barksdale said. "I like Michigan because of their academics and the winning tradition. I went to the campus for a couple of hours with my mom last Saturday. I learned they aren't planning to make me play on the offensive line. Coach (Lloyd) Carr said he had heard rumors on the Internet that he would switch me to offense and he cleared that up.

"I would say I like Notre Dame for the same reasons I like Michigan--the academics and their winning tradition.

"None of these schools want me for offensive line," said the 6-5, 315 pounder who claims 4.9 forty yard dash speed. "No schools have recruited me for offensive line, period."

Scout.com four-star defensive tackle Josh Brent, from Catholic High School in Bloomington (Ill.), said he favors Illinois and Ohio State over Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.

"I'm glad I waited to narrow down schools until I'd seen all the campuses. At the moment, Illinois and Ohio State are my favorites with a slight to solid lead over the others," said the 6-3, 300 pounder.

"Now I know I won't commit until after my football season. I want to make sure there are no doubts of where I want to go--so that I'm 100 percent sure in my decision," he said. "The biggest thing that will help me decide is whether I can do track and field alongside football in college. I like it so much partly because it's the first sport I got involved in. My best shot put is 56 feet, 2 inches, and my best discus is 157 feet, 7 inches.

"People think because Illinois is only thirty minutes from home that I will be an in-state kid, but distance really isn't a factor for me because I don't mind experiencing a totally different place for college. I visited Illinois' campus in early June, but I went to their academic day last Saturday (July 22). I learned more about my major--sports management.

"The edge for Illinois is my closeness with the coaching staff," he said. "I go down there and everybody knows who I am, even the players. The track and field coaches were recruiting me at first, but then they let the football coaches do their thing because football is going to be my focus in college. Still, I would definitely be able to do track and field alongside if I go to Illinois.

"Ohio State has a team that competes for the national championship year in and year out. The campus is about five hours away. I like that the coaches really make a big deal out of their prospects not just being good football players, but good people in school and with family too. They said doing track and field wouldn't be a problem, but I think they are concerned that it would take up too much of my time.

"Wisconsin recently offered me in mid-June. They recruit some of the best offensive linemen there are, and since I'm a defensive tackle, that means I'd be practicing against the best--which could only make me a better player. Another plus for Wisconsin is that they've had the best track and field team in the Big Ten the last four years," he said.

"I went to Michigan's camp in late June to work out for them. I do like defensive line coach, (Steve) Stripling, because of his intensity and passion for what he does. Also, the classes are all in walking proximity for such a big campus.

"Iowa was once pretty high on my list, but now that I've visited all the other campuses, Iowa is at the bottom. From the outside looking in--since official visits haven't begun yet--other universities just seem to look and feel better to me now," Brent said.

The East and Midwest with Bob Lichtenfels

The Maryland Terrapins received their eighth verbal pledge of the class of 2007 on Monday as offensive lineman Stephen St. John of Dutch Fork High in Irmo, S.C., made his intentions known.

"I'm very, very excited," said St. John, who was recruited to Maryland by outside linebackers coach Al Seamonson.

"I felt really close to [Seamonson]. I felt like I could get along well with him, and he was somebody who I could talk to in the coming years," St. John told Scout.com.

Last week, Scout.com told you that big things could be happening for the Virginia Tech Hokies after the commitment of Hampton quarterback Tyrod Taylor and it looks like that has come to fruition. The Hokies have garnered nine verbal pledges in a span of six days, since Taylor started the ball rolling.

Offensive lineman Greg Nosal, 6-7, 255 pounds from Floyd Kellam High in Virginia Beach, Va
Defensive end Justin Young, 6-4 253 pounds from Northwest High in Germantown, Md.

Tyrod Taylor

Safety Davon Morgan, 6-0, 186 pounds from Varina High in Richmond, Va.
Offensive lineman Kyle Nunn, 6-6, 280 pounds from Sumter, S.C.
Offensive lineman Jaymes Brooks, 6-3, 296 pounds, from Denbigh High in Newport News, Va.
Tight end Rhett Ellison, 6-5, 225 pounds from St. Francis High in Mountain View, Calif.
Safety Alonzo Tweedy, 6-1, 180 pounds from Heritage High in Richmond, Va.
Offensive lineman Khalil Latif, 6-2, 276 pounds from Manchester High in Midlothian, Va.
Defensive tackle Courtney Prince, 6-2, 265 pounds

All followed the lead of the five-star prospect Taylor and issued verbal pledges to Frank Beamer and his Hokie staff.

Syracuse has added yet another important piece to the 2007 recruiting class. The Orange needed to bring in at least two quarterbacks in this class, and they have secured a verbal from one of the "Empire States" most heavily recruited gunslingers.

David Legree, a 6-4, 210-pound quarterback from South Shore HS in Brooklyn, N.Y. has given a verbal commitment to sign with Syracuse on signing day.

"I just feel like it was the right fit for me," Legree explained. "I like the school and I have a good relationship with the coaching staff."

"Syracuse has signed one quarterback on the 2007 class and has two senior quarterbacks, so it will be an open battle next year." Legree said.

Scout.com three-star prospect Jack Cornell, a 6-7, 305-pound offensive tackle from Notre Dame High in Quincy, Ill. has announced his decision to play for Michigan State at a press conference Monday morning.

Cornell checks in as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Midwest according to the latest batch of rankings that were released last week by Scout.com.

"I went with Michigan State," Cornell said of his press conference decision.

Cornell will be a three-year varsity letter winner in 2006 and was named All-State by the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and the Champaign News-Gazette as a junior.

Andrew Dailey, a 6-3, 215-pound linebacker from Washington High in Massillon, Ohio decided to end the recruiting process when he gave a verbal commitment to Penn State while on an unofficial visit.

Dailey had received scholarship offers from Florida, Penn State, Purdue, Indiana, Nebraska, Cincinnati, Akron and Syracuse. He was receiving heavy interest from schools like Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Michigan before he pulled the trigger.

"I committed to Penn State," Dailey informed Scout.com of his decision via text message.

Dailey is a hybrid linebacker who plays safety on the high school level. He is very athletic and has outstanding lateral quickness.

As a junior, Dailey racked up 80 tackles, forced five fumbles, had one interception and blocked three punts while netting All-Ohio, All-District and All-Eastern Ohio honors.

The Cincinnati Bearcats have landed their first two pledges of this class as quarterback Chazz Anderson, 6-1, 205 pounds of Pickerington Central in Pickerington, Ohio and tight end Garrett Celek, 6-6, 228 pounds both pledged their services to head coach Mark Dantonio.

Celek should be a familiar name to Bearcats fans as Garrett's older brother Brent is a big part of the Cincinnati offense at the tight end spot.

Northwestern pulled in a very good trio of prospects over the past few days as they landed commitments from tight end Cameron Joplin, 6-5, 245 pounds from Pioneer High in Ann Arbor, Mich., defensive end Vincent Browne, 6-5, 240 pounds from David Anderson High in Lisbon, Ohio and offensive lineman Niko Mafuli, 6-3, 295 pounds from University High in St. Louis, Mo.

The Southeast with Andrew Bone and Miller Safrit

South Carolina showed some of its magic in recruiting as the Gamecocks pulled in a commitment from Travian Robertson, a four star defensive end from Scotland County High in Laurinburg, N.C. Robertson, who announced Clemson as his leader earlier in the week preceding his commitment to the Gamecocks, said that the ability to play early sealed the deal for South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier.

While Florida picked up great news following its annual Friday Night Lights camp with three commitments, D'Angelo McCray announced his intention to decommit from the Gators. McCray, a five star defensive lineman from Jacksonville, Fla. said he is now looking at Florida State, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Illinois and Miami.

Neland Ball

Georgia added its third defensive end commitment of the year as Neland Ball, a three star prospect from in-state Jackson High pledged his commitment to the "Dawgs". A fourth defensive end commitment could come soon as Cliff Matthews, a four-star prospect from Cheraw, S.C. still lists Georgia as his leader after the latest commitment.

Kentucky dipped into Georgia for the second time in this recruiting class as John Keye, a three star wide receiver also from Jackson picked the Wildcats. Keye, who actually committed to Kentucky on the fourth of July, said he was ready to announce the commitment as fall practice started.

Another Georgia player announced his commitment as T.J. Greenstone, a defensive tackle from Collins Hill High in Suwanee, Ga. committed to Vanderbilt.

North Carolina appears about ready to finish off its recruiting class along the offensive line as Mike Dykes, a three star prospect from Woodland Hills in Pittsburgh, Pa. committed to the Tar Heels. Dykes is the fourth offensive lineman to commit to North Carolina.

Justin Byers decided to act on his scholarship offer from NC State as the 6-1 cornerback from Vance High in Charlotte, N.C. committed to the Wolfpack. Byers picked up the offer in March and felt like Raleigh was the right place to continue his playing career.

Scout.com four-star cornerback Ryan Williams, from Mobile-B.C. Rain, Ala., has scheduled unofficial visits to Auburn (August 5) and Alabama (August 12) to help choose between his final two college choices. He claims an even battle for his signature and will announce his decision before his senior season.

Tulsa-Union Okla. offensive lineman Matt Romine is visiting the South with stops at Tennessee and Alabama this week. The Scout.com four-star lineman plans to take all five of his official visits before making his college decision.

Rufus Williams, from Titusville-Astronaut, Fla., has re-opened his recruitment after giving his verbal commitment to Ole Miss. He lists favorites as Alabama, Tennessee, N.C. State, Ole Miss and West Virginia. All of his favorites have offered, and the Crimson Tide currently has a slight edge for his signature.

Defensive end Jamison Wadley, from Attalla-Etowah, Ala., has seen his stock soar over the past few months. Wadley has garnered eight scholarship offers--Arkansas, Southern Miss,Vanderbilt, Clemson, Memphis, UAB, Middle Tennessee State and Troy. He continues to seek offers from both Alabama and Auburn.

The University of Tennessee received a verbal commitment during the weekend with tight end Aaron Douglas from Maryville, (Tenn.). He is the son of former Volunteer offensive lineman David Douglas and his mother, Kara, was a starting forward for the University of Tennessee. Douglas is one of the state's top prospects for the class of 2008.

Running back/linebacker Josh Hawkins, from Loudon, Tenn., also gave his commitment to the University of Tennessee. He is the 10th verbal pledge for the class of 2007 and the fifth from east Tennessee to commit to the Volunteers.

Isaiah Smith, from Columbia-Central (Tenn.), announced his verbal commitment to play for coach Ed Orgeron and the Ole Miss Rebels. He chose the Rebels over a scholarship offer from Tennessee.

Stephan Loucks, from Little Rock-Pulaski Academy, Ark., ended his recruitment when he announced his verbal commitment to Texas Tech. Loucks finished his junior season with over 4,100 yards through the air. He chose the Red Raiders over scholarship offers from Auburn, California, Kansas, Mississippi State, Missouri and Wyoming.

Around Texas with Jeremy Patterson

Remember the name Sam Acho folks, we'll be hearing it a lot. The defensive end from St. Mark's School in Dallas, Texas may be the hottest name in the country right now. From zero offers and completely off the radar in May to having offers from the likes of USC today is how far Acho has come. The 6-2, 250-pound Acho plays for a small private school in the heart of Dallas and was simply overlooked until recently. In May when little attention was coming in Acho asked his coach to get his film out and everyone is jumping on board with an offer now. The in-state Texas Longhorns are beginning to show a great deal of interest and don't be surprised if the defending national champs offer this fast riser either.

The Baylor Bears have continued their amazing recruiting run picking up two more commitments in the last week from Hempstead, Texas running back Chris Tate and Houston defensive tackle Zac Scotten. When Texas Tech gets a quarterback commitment you'd better take notice, because he's got a great shot at leading the nation in passing at some point in his career. This week the Raiders reached out of the Lone Star State and into Arkansas to land Little Rock product Stefan Loucks. They also picked up a commitment from Oklahoma defensive tackle Colby Whitlock.

The West with Chris Fetters and Brandon Huffman

Both Oregon and Oregon State had their preview days in the past week and both emerged one commitment bigger for their recruiting classes of 2007.

The first 'preview day' was in Corvallis, Ore., and it was there where Ahmed Mokhtar, a 6-0, 215-pound running back from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. verbally committed to the Oregon State Beavers over offers from Washington and Colorado State.

"I've felt really comfortable with the coaches, I love the whole staff," Mokhtar told Barry Bolton of Beaverfootball.com. "The facilities and the whole school, I didn't really expect all that. It was a lot nicer than I thought. I also have a friend on the football team (Kyle Brown) so it will be good to be there with someone I know." Mokhtar is considered a three-star prospect by Scout.com.

The next day was Oregon's 'preview day', and it included appearances by UO commits Myles Wade from Central Catholic in Portland and Carson York from Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, among others. But it was a visitor from a couple of days earlier that made the biggest news on Saturday.

Myles Wade

Casey Matthews, a 6-1.5, 220-pound linebacker from Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, Calif., made his decision after unofficially visiting on Wednesday. "My mom fell in love with Oregon from the moment we stepped into the coaches' offices," Matthews told . "We had real nice time in Eugene." Matthews told Steve Summers of eDuck.com. Matthews, part of a heralded class at Oaks Christian - headlined by No. 1 QB Jimmy Clausen - is considered a three-star prospect by Scout.com.

Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Calif., is now up to six commitments from their class of 2007. Mike Ebbitt, the 6-5, 245-pound defensive end committed to Texas A&M on Thursday. Duke Lemmens, the 6-5, 240-pound defensive end who plays opposite Ebbitt, has yet to decide but has 15 offers, receiver Sean Wiser had a dozen schools to choose from and defensive tackle Justin Landseadel has an offer from Air Force (pending completion of the academics rigorous physical). Center Cory Yriarte should see his stock rise this fall after transferring from Paraclete High in Lancaster, Calif.

Reggie Dunn, the 5-9, 175-pound receiver from Verbum Dei in Los Angeles finally has an official offer to show for an excellent spring. Dunn picked up an offer from Oregon after having a verbal offer from Arizona State. Dunn said that UCLA, Arizona and USC are his current leaders.

Stanford added some more beef with the commitment of lineman Tyler Mabry, a 6-7, 299-pound offensive tackle from Francis Parker in San Diego, Calif. Mabry committed to the Cardinal over 11 other offers and joins Moorpark offensive tackle George Halamandaris to give the Cardinal a pair of 6-foot-7 lineman. The day after Mabry committed, his Parker teammate, running back Gino Gordon, took an unofficial trip to Stanford. Gordon has been offered by Oregon.

The Cardinal have also been busy as well in Southern California this recruiting class and they recently offered Santa Monica, Calif., athlete Cameron Collins. While most of Collins attention has been as a safety, the Cardinal staff likes him as a receiver and offered him as a wideout. This week, Collins will take an unofficial trip to Colorado.

Mitchell Schwartz, the 6-5, 300-pound lineman out of Pacific Palisades, Calif., added offer number seven this week. California threw their name into the hat, joining offers from Michigan, Virginia, Stanford, Washington State, Tennessee and Oregon. Schwartz's older brother Geoff is the starting left tackle at Oregon.

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