February 10, 2009

National Notebook: Horns get a jump on 2010

Texas' Mack Brown used to be known as "Coach February" because of his early recruiting success and failures in big games. Well, now that Brown has led the Longhorns to a national championship and multiple BCS bowl appearances, that title is long gone, but his recruiting dominance in February isn't.

Nobody in the nation is better at early recruiting than Texas, and the Longhorns flexed their muscle with a colossal recruiting weekend. After inviting a select crew of top juniors to Austin for "Junior Day," the Horns scored 10 commitments from some of the best players in the Lone Star State.

The weekend started off with the surprise commitment of Galena Park (Texas) North Shore offensive lineman Trey Hopkins, and then it continued with nine more commitments over the next 72 hours. In the end, it has to go down as one of the wildest recruiting weekends ever as the Longhorns put a stranglehold on many of the top 2010 players from Texas.

Safety Ahmad Dixon was one of the players who pledged to the Longhorns, and his commitment could go down as one of the gems in the class. Though Rivals.com won't release its first state rankings for several months, it's clear Dixon is one of the top players in the Lone Star State.

"I like how the coaches click together," Dixon said. "It's like a big family, a home away from home."

That sentiment was repeated time after time over the weekend. Brown and Co. did a masterful job of rolling out the red carpet for prospects and making them feel as if they already were a part of the Longhorns' program.

"They're genuinely good people, and they were telling me stuff and I didn't think they were lying about it," Denton (Texas) Guyer defensive tackle Taylor Bible said. "I felt they were genuinely honest about what they were saying. There are some places you just don't feel that way. You feel like they're hiding something from you."

BROWN STILL WAITING

Now that the smoke has cleared after National Signing Day, almost every recruitnik will focus on five-star running back Bryce Brown, the nation's No. 1 player. Brown, from Wichita (Kan.) East, decided to wait things out and didn't sign Wednesday.

As to which schools remain on his list, that's not clear.

"Every day is one step closer, and I am still deciding on where I will be taking my final two visits," Brown said in a news release posted on his mentor's Web site. "After that, my family and I will spend some time in prayer and the decision will be made.

"National Signing Day is the beginning of the period that runs until April, and I didn't sign on the first day. I was surprised that so many people were making a big deal about me not signing on the first day of the period. No one has to sign on Feb. 4. This is the biggest decision of my life, and I am not 100 percent at peace about any school, so I decided to wait."

Brown said before NSD that he still was committed to Miami, but Auburn, Clemson, Kansas State, Oregon, Tennessee and USC remained in the hunt. There also were reports that Georgia and LSU were trying to secure one of Brown's visits.

MICHIGAN SCORES IN OHIO

Michigan almost always has recruiting success in Ohio, but coach Rich Rodriguez has made it a priority. Wednesday, the Wolverines signed the top player in the state in safety Justin Turner, from Massillon (Ohio) Washington, and they got off to a great start in 2010 with a pledge from Canton (Ohio) South star wide receiver Jerald Robinson.

Robinson, ranked as one of the Rivals250 juniors to watch, had 34 catches for 756 yards and seven touchdowns. He also dominated on defense with seven interceptions and is a physically gifted athlete who would have become one of the nation's most heavily recruited skill players had he not committed.

"Michigan offered me before Ohio State, and that showed me how much interest they had," Robinson told The Wolverine.com. "It's almost like Ohio State was waiting for something, and it's funny because I talked to my coach and he said the OSU coaches wanted to know if I was committing to Michigan because they were getting ready to offer.

"But I have no second thoughts. Coach Rodriguez said if I wasn't sure, I didn't have to decide now. He said there have been a lot of kids de-committing lately, and he didn't want me to make a commitment I wasn't ready to make. But I'm not that kind of person. I'm a Wolverine now and I'm going to be a Wolverine for the rest of my life."

ETC.

David Oku, the nation's No. 1 all-purpose running back in the 2009 class, told Rivals.com on Monday he's still undecided and not sure when he's going to make a decision. Oku, a former Tennessee commitment, said he's still torn between the Vols, Auburn and Syracuse. "It's still those three," he said. "I might add Nebraska back in it. They're showing me some interest again, but I'm not sure about that."

• Oklahoma State jumped out of the gate with its first commitment for the class of 2010 with a pledge from Johnny Deaton, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound quarterback from Sand Springs (Okla.) Page. He threw for 1,874 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. He also ran for more than 1,600 yards and 19 scores.

• Miami Columbus cornerback Lamarcus Joyner is one of the top players in the Sunshine State for 2010, and he recently said five teams have jumped out early on his list Florida, Florida State, Miami, Notre Dame and Ohio State. He reports offers from all those teams.




 

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