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Around the Nation with Allen Wallace

Three-star defensive lineman (ranked No. 39 by Scout.com) Ian Williams, from Longwood Lyman (Fla.), says he has over 30 scholarship offers but has narrowed his choices to six schools. Williams favors Florida solidly over Notre Dame, Auburn, Clemson, Ole Miss and South Carolina.

"Florida was my first scholarship offer back in February," Williams said. "They are still recruiting me the hardest. They show me the most love. I like coach Urban Meyer a lot and think they'll be competing for a national championship. They have a great future ahead of them."

Williams attended the Kentucky game on September 23 and says he plans to go back to Gainesville for either the South Carolina (November 11) or Western Carolina (November 18) game.

He has already taken official visits to Notre Dame on September 29 and Mississippi on October 6. "I love the tradition at Notre Dame," said the 6-foot-1, 290 pounder. "It's incredible there. I love how when they scored the recruits would do pushups. It's a fun atmosphere.

"I also really like coach Charlie Weis. He's a players' coach, and we talked about how if I worked hard, I could challenge for a spot right away.

Ian Williams

"Ole Miss was different, but still a lot of fun," Williams said. "Coach Ed Orgeron is very upbeat, and he's got a great history of success. He's worked with some of the best players, and that's a big plus."

Williams admits that growing up he was a fan of Florida State, but the Seminoles are not recruiting him. "They recruited me during the spring, but that's it."

Although the Gators have a solid lead, Williams says he'd still like to take a few more visits. "I'd like to visit one or two more schools this month and make a decision after that. Right now the main one is Florida, but anything can change."

Four-star cornerback David Ross from Compton Dominguez (Calif.), has helped lead his team to an 8-1 record playing both quarterback and corner. He has five touchdowns passing and six rushing. Defensively, he has 15 tackles and three interceptions.

"I'm very physical and can run with any receiver," said Scout.com's No. 17 cornerback. "I have good speed and moves. I'm like a Deion Sanders, but more physical. Of course, I still want to get faster. You can never have enough speed."

Ross, who is listed at 6-1, 185, has already taken an official visit to Nebraska (October 20) and says there is a 70 percent chance he'll end up a Husker. "I love the whole atmosphere there," Ross said. "They love their team and like to have fun. It's totally different out there. It's cold, but very nice. I was there for the Texas game that they barely lost and all the fans stayed in the stadium and cheered both teams. You wouldn't see that in California."

The other schools that Ross may be visiting are Oregon, Washington, California and USC. All of his favorites have offered, except the Trojans. "They are still recruiting me," Ross said. "I talk with (USC linebacker coach) Ken Norton a lot, but we don't really talk about scholarships or anything."

Ross will be attending the USC/Oregon game on November 11.

Despite saying that he thinks there's a 70 percent chance he'll sign with Nebraska, Ross says that his favorite team is actually Oregon. "They are my team," Ross said. "They are my favorite. I like their attitude and how competitive they are every season. I just like everything about them. The stadium, the fans, the coaches, the environment¿everything."

Sound confusing? Not if you ask Ross. "My favorite school is Oregon," he said. "That doesn't mean that's where I'm going to go. Right now there's a bigger chance I'll sign with Nebraska. Those are two different things in my mind."

Four-star defensive tackle (ranked No. 12 by Scout.com) Josh Brent, from Bloomington Catholic (Ill.), has visits scheduled with Ohio State (December 8), Michigan (December 1) and Wisconsin (December 15). He says those three have an edge over Illinois and Arizona State.

"I was really focused on my season this year and haven't really kept in contact with a lot of coaches," said the fireplug-like 6-3, 300 pounder. "Now that it's over I'm all about recruiting," Brent said. "I'm definitely going to take those three official visits. If I still feel like I can't make a decision I'll take more trips."

Brent will also be attending one of the most highly anticipated games of the year in a few weeks. "I'll be at the Ohio State/Michigan game," Brent said. "I'm going to be neutral even though I'm a guest of Ohio State's. I think it'll be a great game because that game is basically deciding who is going to the national championship. Both Ohio State and Michigan have had a great season and it's hard to pick a favorite."

Although he hasn't set up a visit with Illinois, Brent says the Illini are recruiting him the hardest. "They are an up-and-coming team and I think I could help them out," Brent said. "They've struggled this season, but I think they've made improvements and things are getting better for them."

His team lost in the second round of the playoffs, finishing the year at 9-2. Brent had around 70 tackles, 31 tackles for loss and five sacks.

The Southeast with Andrew Bone, Miller Safrit and Steve Robertson

It's been a big week on the Plains of Auburn, Ala. As the Auburn Tigers have picked up two big commitments this week.

Kodi Burns

Five Star Quarterback Kodi Burns pledged to the Tigers on Thursday. The talented signal caller had narrowed his choices to Auburn and homestate Arkansas.

The Burns announcement was good news for Scout.com three-star wide receiver Quindarius Carr, from Huntsville, (Ala.). He had given his verbal commitment to Auburn earlier in the week after narrowing his choices between Auburn and Alabama.

Quarterback Zach Smith, from Blountsville-Susan Moore high school in Alabama, received his first SEC scholarship offer from Mississippi State, and his decision is forthcoming.

Alabama verbal commitment Alfred McCullough, from Athens, (Ala.) has decided he will only visit the Crimson Tide. The Scout.com three-star defensive tackle considered taking other official visits especially to South Carolina, but he is a solid verbal pledge to Alabama.

Derrick Morgan, from Coatesville, (Penn.), gave his verbal pledge to Georgia Tech. The Scout.com four-star defensive end chose the Yellow Jackets over Boston College, Miami, Ohio State and Penn State.

Scout.com four-star wide receiver Drew Davis, from Denver-Montbello, (Colo.) has named Georgia Tech as his overall favorite. He lists Kansas State, Oregon, UCLA and Washington as favorites as well.

Scout.com four-star safety Morgan Burnett, from College Park-North Clayton, (Ga.) claims he will wait until after his senior season to make his college decision. Georgia is ahead of Auburn, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech for his signature.

Fairburn-Creekside, (Ga.) safety Terrance Parks has received two early offers. The 6-1, 200-pound prospect received his first scholarship offers from Georgia and Ohio State. Parks is considered one of the best prospects in the Peach State for the class of 2008.

Scout.com three-star wide receiver Rashad Tukes received a scholarship offer from South Carolina. The Riverdale, (Ga.) prospect lists his top three schools as South Carolina, Memphis and Tennessee.

South Carolina three-star cornerback verbal commitment Addison Williams, from Atlanta-Westlake, (Ga.) is considering other official visits including Kentucky and Mississippi State before graduating in December. He claims his verbal pledge is firm to the Gamecocks.

While Brandon Spikes is working hard at Florida, his protégé at Crest High School in Shelby, N.C. looks more than able to fill in his shoes. Wearing number 51, Spikes' number at Florida and at last year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl, is 6-2, 220-pound middle linebacker Duane Maddox, who readily admits much of his play on the field comes from Spikes.

"I learned a lot from Brandon," said Maddox. "He taught me a lot about the game, like how to be aggressive out there and how to make plays. Today, I was just hyped up for the game and I got to make a few pops."

Maddox certainly knows how to make plays and can be a big hitter much like Spikes. While he may not have the same size, the play from both are very similar with aggressive attitudes on the field and an athletic ability that is noticeable after a few plays on the field. Perhaps that is why he is a top talent in North Carolina for the Class of 2008 and several schools are already interested.

"I'm hearing from most of the ACC colleges and some SEC schools. I like (North Carolina) State and Florida right now; they have winning programs. State and Carolina have offered. They are low in depth at linebacker and they saw one of my games and are interested."

Will Wright is a tight end and defensive end from Hoggard High in Wilmington, N.C. that is just starting to figure out how to play football according to Hoggard head coach Scott Braswell. That did not keep a school from offering and Wright made a commitment recently. "He is a 6-5, 240 pound tight end and defensive end who committed to Wake Forest last week," said Coach Braswell. "I believe they are looking at him at defensive end but he is a versatile kid that could play offense or defense. He plays both ways for us. He is a high academic kid with a 4.0 gpa, so the academics at Wake Forest really attracted him."

Wade Bonner of Fayette-Ware High School, on the outskirts of Memphis, is starting to see some changes in his college recruitment. Bonner collected offers from Arkansas and Mississippi State very early in the process. It appears that Arkansas may be cooling a bit on Wade. Memphis, Mississippi State and Tennessee are calling the talented defensive back weekly, but the Razorbacks have been noticeably quiet. Bonner has targeted late January as a deadline for a decision.

One of Mississippi's most sought after players is Olive Branch High School defensive end K.J. Wright. K.J. has offers from Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Southern Miss. Wright is planning on taking all of his official vists before making a decision, but to date he has not set a date for any visits. Wright is expected to visit Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee among others. With so many Mississippi players already committed, Wright's commitment could be one of the more highly anticipated decisions in the Magnolia State come signing day.

Around Texas with Jeremy Patterson

One of the more interesting developments between now and signing day is the commitment of Dallas (Tx.) Lincoln defensive end Richetti Jones to Oklahoma State. The Cowboys topped the Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma Sooners, Florida Gators and most every other top team in America for his services.

However, the question how solid is his commitment. Speculation is that Jones is seriously looking around at other schools and the two schools to keep the closest eye on are Oklahoma and Florida. Jones has stated that he is still an Oklahoma State commitment and is unsure as to whether he'll take visits to any other schools.

However, talking to sources close to Jones who have had private conversations with the star defensive end mentioned that Jones may take visits and could pull the switcheroo at the U.S. Army All-American game. For now, it's best to take Jones at his word, but don't be shocked if this situation gets a little interesting.

Richetti Jones

One player that has seen his stock soar this season is the tight lipped Tatum, Texas wide receiver Darnius Moore. Trying to get information out of Moore in an interview is like trying to get Bill Parcells to actually mention Terrell Owens by name instead of calling him "the player." It just isn't going to happen.

However, sources close to Moore told Scout.com that Moore was at one point committed to Oklahoma State, but never went public with the commitment. Moore committed to the Cowboys earlier in the process, but would not go public because at the time he did not have some of the high profile offers he now has and wanted to check out all options. He recently took an official visit to Oklahoma and has others upcoming and it does not look like he will be playing his college football in Stillwater.

The state of Texas is known for producing great offensive lineman and the class of 2008 is going to have plenty of them. There are three offensive lineman that could find themselves among the top ten players in the state of Texas. Paris offensive guard Stephen Good, Aldine offensive tackle Daniel Campbell and Klein offensive tackle J.B. Shugarts. The one getting the most publicity is Shugarts who has already scored over a dozen offers, but those in coaching circles will tell you that Good and Campbell may be better prospects. Good is going to a special offensive guard and could be the best guard in the nation in the class of 2008. Campbell is a huge kid with great feet and a ton of upside. One college coach stated that he thought Campbell would start in the NFL for ten years barring injury. All three prospects already have numerous offers.

The West with Chris Fetters and Brandon Huffman

Terrance Pritchett, a 6-2, 205-pound linebacker from Grant High School in Sacramento, Calif. was verbally committed to Arizona, but that all changed during an official visit to Oregon. "I knew as soon as I got to the campus on Saturday that I wanted to go there," said Scout.com's No. 2 middle 'backer prospect to Allen Wallace. "It was just different. Everything was organized. The atmosphere made me feel like I was at home. I'm from Virginia. I lived there from the third to the ninth grade before I moved to California. 

"Oregon has the same weather as Virginia and the people there are real good. Also, my team is like the Oregon team. They joke around and they keep it real. They weren't afraid to make fun and be themselves. I felt like I fit in with them and on Sunday, I knew it was what I wanted to do. It's also closer to home and the people, the coaches and the team made me want to play for Oregon. I just felt better when I was at Oregon."

Other top prospects, including Everson Griffen (Scout.com's No. 1 DE nationally), Api Tuihalamaka (No. 18 DE nationally), Matthew Masifilo (No. 23 DT) and Jahvid Best (No. 30 running back) have also made visits to Eugene recently and are coming away with nothing but positive impressions on the Duck program and where things are heading under UO Head Coach Mike Bellotti.

The other Oregon school - Oregon State - has been riding high of late, winning big games over USC and Arizona State and also winning in the recruiting wars.

Their latest verbal commit is a legacy - Will Darkins. Will, a 6-2, 220-pound linebacker prospect from Lake Oswego, Ore. is the younger brother of current Beaver Andy Darkins. After receiving an early offer from the Beavers, Will decided he wanted to test the waters for a bit before jumping in the boat with his brother, but now he's more than happy to keep it all in the family.

"I went to the USC game and it really reinforced it because I saw a team that was on the up and going places," Darkins told Barry Bolton of Beaverfootball.com. "I want to be a part of that. And I was real comfortable there, I've been there a million times because of my brother. It just seemed all around, the best choice."

It was a rougher weekend for the Washington State Cougars. Not only did they lose to Arizona at home, but they have apparently also lost a big fish they had on the line in Clint Brewster, a 6-1, 195-pound quarterback prospect from Mullen High School in Denver, Colo.

Even though Brewster committed to Illinois - his father's alma mater - back in July (his Dad is Denver Broncos tight ends coach Tim Brewster), Clint was convinced to take one more official visit - to Washington State. And even though he had nothing but great things to say about the program, the people in it and the town of Pullman, Wash., Brewster remained firm in his desire to attend Illinois. "I took the visit and I liked it, but I'll still committed to Illinois," he told Scout.com Monday night.

The Washington Huskies are mired in a five-game losing streak, but they are still doing what they've been known for - keeping the homegrown talent from slipping out the back door. The Huskies latest pickup? Brandon Yakaboski, a 6-0, 200-pound running back/DB.

Brandon Yakaboski

Yakaboski verbally committed to Washington Thursday night after a conversation Brandon had with Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham. "I believe in what Coach Willingham is doing and I'm ready to run downhill for the Dawgs," Brandon told Scout.com. "I'm really excited. I'm going to try very hard to be part of that great Washington running back tradition - Corey Dillon, Greg Lewis, Napoleon Kaufman. I know that Washington needs a big back to really hit the hole and move those chains."

California continued its outstanding offensive line recruiting in the class of 2007, picking up a commitment from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame's Sam DeMartinis. Ranked No. 7 nationally as an offensive tackle, DeMartinis took a visit to Berkeley this past weekend and it was the deal-sealer for him. Prior to his departure from Cal, DeMartinis gave the Bears staff his pledge. DeMartinis joins four-star guard Justin Cheadle and three-star guard Todd Huber in one of the top offensive line classes in the Pac-10. DeMartinis chose the Bears over Arizona State.

Stanford added a commitment from a serious position of need on Monday when Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian receiver Sean Wiser picked the Cardinal over Oregon and Virginia. Oregon was making a late run after picking up commitments from his Oaks teammates Anthony Gildon and Casey Matthews, but Stanford had been the favorite throughout his recruitment. Wiser's verbal makes him the seventh player from Oaks' squad to make a commitment, and he is the fifth to pledge to a Pac-10 school, with Marc Tyler and Marshall Jones both having committed to USC. Mike Ebbitt has verballed to Florida and Jimmy Clausen has pledged to Notre Dame.

Colorado added to its surging class, picking up a pair of commitments from two teammates this past weekend. Mission Viejo (Calif.) tackle Matt Bahr and running back Brian Lockridge both took official trips to Boulder and upon their return home, spent some time thinking about it before giving their commitments to Dan Hawkins and his staff. Bahr, a transfer from Santa Margarita (Calif.) High, will join an offensive line haul that includes two other California linemen, Norco (Calif.) teammates Garth Gerhart and Adam Tello.

Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser defensive end/linebacker Chris Carter added his fifth offer but is waiting on a sixth offer before making his choice. Utah State offered Carter and he already had offers from Washington, Oregon State, Fresno State and Colorado State. But Carter is hoping to join his older brother David, a freshman at UCLA and there is a chance Carter may receive an offer from the Bruin staff, either as a greyshirt or as a late offer. Complicating the issue is that he wants to graduate early. Carter said a decision will likely come following his visit to Fresno State in mid-December. He will trip to Oregon State on Thanksgiving weekend.

Four-star tight end Devin Mahina, out of Upland (Calif.) High, will take his first official trip this weekend and he's narrowed his school choices down to four. Colorado will host Mahina this weekend and he will go to Oregon the following weekend. Mahina will trip to UCLA in December and then to BYU in January. While he may take a fifth official visit, Mahina said he was focusing on the four schools he is scheduled to take his trips to.

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