September 25, 2007

National Blitz: Finding a fit

Until last week, Chandler, Ariz., cornerback Marc Anthony was one of the hottest uncommitted targets West of the Mississippi.

The 6-foot, 182-pound four-star prospect decided he wanted to be part of one of the hottest teams in the nation - the California Bears.

Anthony, the nation's No. 15 cornerback, turned down offers from Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Arizona, Arizona State and many others.

"I had been leaning to Cal for awhile now, and I just decided that there was no point in waiting since that was where I wanted to be," Anthony said.

"Cal has everything I want in a school. Football wise, they have a great program, a great coaching staff, and I love the style of play there. I've been up there two or three times to see them this year and loved my experience when I was there for the Cal-Tennessee game."

Anthony proved over the summer that he is one of the nation's best defensive backs. Originally ranked as a high three-star prospect, Anthony dominated at the Palo Alto NIKE Training Camp. He also made other stops throughout the summer, and he wowed everyone at the Michigan camp.

As a junior, Anthony had 58 tackles, five interceptions and five pass break-ups. He was named second team all-region and honorable mention all-state. He hits receivers off the line extremely well, and can turn and jet with the best of them at the high school level. He carries a 2.9 core GPA and scored an 1180 on the SAT.

In the end, he felt like he was a perfect fit for Cal both on and off the field.

"It's close to home, but still far enough away to feel like I'm getting the college experience," Anthony said. "Having my cousin Cameron Jordan there is another big plus, but it mainly came down to just feeling so comfortable at Cal. I wanted to do it now because I think Cal is only taking two DBs this year and I didn't want to risk losing my spot."


Rivals100 athlete Brandon Smith took an official visit over the weekend to Michigan.

"The visit was great, it was more than I expected," Smith said. "Just being at the Big House was a great experience. I got a lot of my questions answered about the coaching staff because I don't want to go somewhere and play for someone that didn't recruit me. I am confident that Coach Carr will be there next year.

"Michigan finally played Michigan-type football, and when they do that they are one of the best in the nation. They are a great club that is very talented."

Smith confirmed he will be taking more official visits in the near future, but has yet to schedule any others.

• Five-star linebacker Shayne Hale cancelled his official to Virginia over the weekend. "I didn't go, it didn't work out," he said. "I'm not sure if I'm gong to reschedule. If I do, it'll be a lot later in the season or afterwards." Hale continues to be down to Michigan, Ohio State, Virginia and West Virginia. Currently his only official set is to West Virginia on Oct. 19. Hale is rumored to be thinking about taking an unofficial visit to Virginia this upcoming weekend but that has not been confirmed. Prior to taking any official visits he needs to take the ACT first, something he hopes to do soon.

• Five-star athlete Will Hill made a decision this week to commit to Florida. "Coach (Urban) Meyer and Coach (Steve) Addazio came up to my school," Hill said. "You could feel the energy, like how Florida is. They brought a lot along with them right up to Jersey. … How I am with Coach (Rich) Hansen, I saw that in Coach Meyer. It just lit up my day.

"Another reason that really confirmed my decision was a guy that committed already, Jeremy Brown. When I went down there for a visit he was there. He and I became real good friends, and that kind of sealed the deal. Last year, my father and I were on the computer - on Rivals - and I saw this guy, Major Wright. I saw where he played and I told my father right off the bat I want to play with him. When he committed to Florida, I was like, 'Well the secondary looks like it's loaded up and I'm glad to contribute to it.' "


Russell Shepard is undoubtedly one of the top 2009 prospects in the state of Texas. The dual-threat quarterback is receiving interest from around the country, and he's in no rush to trim his list of schools

The potential five-star prospect heard from Notre Dame, Southern California and Auburn recently. All three schools have piqued Shepard's interest.

• Four-star defensive end Chancey Aghayere is the highest rated uncommitted player from the state of Texas. Many thought that Florida was the team to beat for the Rivals100 member, but a visit to Gainesville two weeks ago resulted in no news. This past weekend the 6-4 245-pounder took an official visit to Notre Dame to see the Irish play Michigan State. The last trip he has planned will be an Oct. 6 visit to Baton Rouge to see LSU's big showdown with Florida. At the conclusion of that trip, Aghayere plans on announcing his commitment to one of his final six: Florida, LSU, Louisville, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Texas.


Linebacker Dion Guy out of Washington (D.C.) H.D. Woodson has scheduled a visit with Michigan State.

"I'm looking at heading up on an official there on Dec. 1," he said. "They've been recruiting me since I was in 10th grade and it looks like a good situation for me." Despite the offer, Guy maintains he still has no leader.

• Offensive tackle Bobby Massie will take his first official visit this week. The Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian Academy lineman will head to Virginia Tech. He already has visits set to Clemson and Georgia on Dec. 1 and Dec. 8, respectively.


The last time Lamaar Thomas was on the Ohio State campus the 5-foot-11, 181-pounder fell in love with the Buckeyes. The four-star athlete visited Columbus last weekend, and it looks like making a college choice will be tough for the top player in Maryland.

Thomas was hosted by linebacker Brian Rolle on the visit. Even though the true freshman plays on the defensive side of the ball, the two had plenty to talk about on Thomas' visit.

"They had the whole day planned for me and everything went well," Thomas said.

What stood out most for Thomas on his weekend visit?

"Just being able to chill and hang out with some of the guys who already committed," Thomas said. "I felt a little more comfortable getting to hang out and get to know those guys better."

With a visit to Illinois set, the process is coming to a close for Thomas.

"I am thinking about shutting it down right after that (trip), but I am not too sure," Thomas said.


Four-star safety Winston Guy out of Kentucky's Lexington Catholic High School has re-opened his recruitment after previously being committed to Arkansas.

The top-rated player in Kentucky now has now established that it will be a two-team race for his services between Arkansas and the homestate Wildcats.

To some degree, the Wildcats can thank linebacker Wesley Woodyard for Guy's change of heart. The two have become good friends since exchanging numbers after a practice Guy attended.

Guy had plans to visit Arkansas last weekend for the Arkansas-Kentucky game, but the visit was rescheduled.

• Bimingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian quarterback Barrett Trotter picked up a big SEC offer over the weekend. With offers from the likes of Duke, Army, Samford and UAB on the table, the three-star got a call Sunday night from Tommy Tuberville, who extended an Auburn offer to the dual-threat quarterback. Auburn immediately becomes the leader for Trotter, who has thrown for close to 1,000 yards through four games.

• Five-star offensive lineman Matt Patchan has established his final three visits before making his decision. He will be heading to Florida, LSU and Miami for campus visits this fall. The December graduate will visit Florida for its Sept. 29 game against Auburn, LSU for its Oct. 20 game against Auburn and is scheduled to take in Miami's Nov. 10 game against Virginia - the Hurricanes' final game in the Orange Bowl.


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