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Recruiting News - 02/01/05


Administrator Emeritus
<font color="#b90000">Tuesday, February 1, 2005</font> Recruiting News - 02/01/05

Football recruiting: Weis' first signing class nearly complete - College Sports

Football recruiting: Weis' first signing class nearly complete

By Mike Gilloon The Observer

Notre Dame, IN (U-WIRE) -- Charlie Weis' first recruiting class as head coach is almost set.

Wednesday is National Signing Day, and Notre Dame has 14 verbal commitments ready to formally commit. There are also a handful of undecided players that have Notre Dame on their final lists and should announce their intentions tomorrow.

The highest-profile undecided Irish recruit is Lawrence Wilson. One of the top defensive end prospects in the nation, Wilson decommitted from the Irish after the firing of Tyrone Willingham but now has his choices trimmed down to Notre Dame and Ohio State.

"It's hard to say where he'll go," Mike Frank of Irisheyes.com said. "It's about 50/50. He keeps battling back and forth between Ohio State and Notre Dame." ...

Super Bowl run hasn't helped Irish - SLAM

Super Bowl run hasn't helped Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Lawrence Wilson has been watching New England's Super Bowl run with great interest, knowing he could be playing for Patriots offensive co-ordinator Charlie Weis at Notre Dame next season.

The high school recruit is impressed. But not enough to commit to the Fighting Irish - yet. The Patriots' playoff success has kept Weis from working full-time as Notre Dame coach and hasn't done much to lure star recruits to South Bend - yet.

"Short term, it's not really helping, it's not really hurting," said recruiting analyst Bobby Burton of Rivals.com. "But I think long-term it will be a great thing." ...

... Wilson, a defensive end from Akron, Ohio, is encouraged by New England's performance.

"You're watching them on TV all the time, and they keep winning. That proves how good a coach that coach Weis is," he said.

Wilson withdrew his commitment to Notre Dame after Tyrone Willingham was fired as coach on Nov. 30, but got a visit from Weis the week he was hired and then had seven Irish assistants stop at his home on a single visit last month. He is still considering the Irish, along with Ohio State and Florida. He plans to announce Wednesday ...

Verbal commitments don't bind recruits - San Jose Mercury News

Posted on Tue, Feb. 01, 2005

Verbal commitments don't bind recruits

Knight Ridder Newspapers

DETROIT - (KRT) - For two years leading up to football signing day, teenagers make promises.

They receive a school's scholarship offer and often make a quick verbal commitment.

For years, that verbal commitment was enough for schools to hold recruits until national letter-of-intent signing day, which is Wednesday.

Yet that word is worth far less in recruiting these days. Sometimes commitments change weekly.

"It keeps snowballing," said Tom Lemming, publisher of Prep Football Report. "Kids will give their word, then go on more visits."

The national trend has hit some schools in Michigan.

The University of Michigan, which has a reputation of drawing early commitments, thought it secured Louisville (Ky.) Central defensive lineman James McKinney late in 2003, his junior year.

His high school coach told one Internet recruiting service that he wouldn't let McKinney talk to other schools.

By mid-January 2004, McKinney, ranked as the nation's No. 9 defensive tackle by Rivals.com, had changed his commitment to a so-called soft verbal, meaning he would listen to other schools.

Since then, he has taken official visits to Louisville, Nebraska, Clemson, Florida and Michigan. While many analysts still think McKinney is leaning toward Michigan, the certainty won't come until Wednesday, when he actually signs a letter of intent, binding him to a school.

Michigan State already has been burned. Montrose safety Aubrey Pleasant visited MSU on Dec. 10 and committed that week. A month later, he visited Wisconsin and committed there.

"I think at 17 or 18 years old, a kid's word should mean something," Lemming said. "So they shouldn't verbally commit until they're sure.

"If a kid commits now, it's almost as if that just means he's considering that school."

The player considered by Rivals as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback, Ryan Perrilloux from Reserve (La.) East St. John, committed to Texas in July, yet in the past two weeks he has visited Mississippi State and Louisiana State.

Jeremy Crabtree, national recruiting analyst for Rivals, estimates 5-7 percent of the high school recruits change their commitment, but they seem to draw more attention because of their uncertainty.

"A lot of college coaches are starting to wonder if there should be an early signing period or something that makes it more of a commitment," Crabtree said. "We report on kids throughout the year. We do junior day events across the country and bring in speakers who have actually played college football to talk to them about what a commitment is.

"Coaches want those kids' commitment so bad, but they also want to make sure it's solid."

Coaching changes make a big difference in commitment changes, but sometimes it's just a wandering eye. One theory - though not the case with McKinney or Perrilloux - is that local schools know about in-state prospects early, giving them an edge, and getting the offer as a junior is enticing and the player often jumps at it.

Then, when other schools review film or see a player in person, an outstate offer is extended, piquing interest.

"I've been a man of my word," Crabtree said. "If I ask my wife to marry me, I'm not going to continue to chase girls around. It's an analogy a lot of college coaches use. But maybe each kid's different."

Up for grabs - CNN/SI

Up for grabs

Number of top recruits remain on the board

Posted: Tuesday February 1, 2005 8:30PM; Updated: Tuesday February 1, 2005 10:51PM
By Stewart Mandel, SI.com

College football's national signing day commences at the crack of dawn Wednesday, with coaches huddling around fax machines to await signed letters of intent from high school seniors and fans gluing themselves to the Internet to find out which sought-after recruits their schools landed.

While the large majority of prospects have already announced their intentions, 19 of Scout.com's top 100 remained up for grabs as of Tuesday, and, as is tradition, numerous others likely will pull last-minute switcheroos, creating no shortage of suspense for those who follow recruiting closely.

"I've been doing this a long time, and I can't remember not only this many top guys still the on board, but not having that good of an idea where they're going to go," said Scout.com recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg. "It's going to make for one of the most exciting signing days in recent memory."

Of those who will announce their decision Wednesday, none is more highly anticipated than Louisiana QB Ryan Perrilloux, one of the top two prospects in the entire country. Perrilloux committed to Texas last summer but has continued to entertain other offers and basked in the attention of dragging out the suspense. Many believe he'll ultimately choose to stay closer to home and sign with LSU.

"He keeps telling Texas he's coming, yet says it will be a surprise decision," said Newberg. "I think at the end of day he's going to be a Bayou Bengal."

Other highly-rated prospects set to announce their choice Wednesday include (Scout.com Hot 100 ranking and finalists in parentheses): safety Kenny Phillips (No. 10; Miami or Tennessee), running back Antone Smith (No. 11; Miami, Florida, Florida State or Auburn), linebacker Brian Cushing (No. 19; USC or Miami), DT Callahan Bright (No. 22; Florida State or Texas A&M) and WR DeSean Jackson (No. 29; USC or Cal), the MVP of last month's U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

WR Fred Rouse (No. 6), who's torn between Florida State, Texas and Miami, has indicated he may not be ready to announce on Wednesday.
Somewhat less suspenseful may be the matter of which team claims the No. 1 recruiting class of 2005. "I certainly think its Tennessee's to lose," said Newberg, "and I don't know if they can be caught."

The Vols, which last claimed the top honor in 1994 (the year they signed Peyton Manning), entered Wednesday with 23 commitments, including a national-best seven top 100 players. Notable members of Phillip Fulmer's class include the nation's top cornerback, Demetrice Morley, top-10 running back LaMarcus Coker and All-America QB Jonathan Crompton. They also remain in the running for top 50 prospects Phillips and CB Derek Pegues.

If there's one team that could still approach Tennessee's haul, it's defending national champion USC, which has finished either No. 1 or 2 in recruiting each of the past two years. The Trojans, which have a limited number of scholarships available, entered Wednesday with only 14 commitments, but seven of those were from Hot 100 prospects (including No. 1 QB Mark Sanchez), and they remained in the hunt for as many as seven others, most notably Cushing and Jackson.

"Southern Cal is the one team that can do it," said Newberg. "I just don't know if they have enough scholarships."

Other teams that are expected to announce banner classes (with most notable commitments) include: Michigan (RB Kevin Grady, DT Marques Slocum), Oklahoma (DT DeMarcus Granger, WR Malcom Kelly), Nebraska (QB Harrison Beck, RB Marlon Lucky), Georgia (DT Kade Weston, S C.J. Byrd) and Iowa (TE Tony Moeaki, OL Dan Doering). Florida has been making a late push as well and could finish in the top five, while Florida State and Miami traditionally close with a flurry.

"I have a feeling there will be a half dozen or so major surprises [Wednesday]," said Newberg.

Decisions, decisions - Buffalo News

Decisions, decisions
Signing period begins as football players join other athletes in declaring intentions for college
News Sports Reporter

Doug Worthington has been saying Ohio State is where he will play his college football and he's likely to make that official Wednesday, the first day of the two-month period for signing Division I-A college football national letters of intent.

The St. Francis defensive end made his last of five official NCAA visits on Saturday to Boston College. The Parade All-American also visited Ohio State, Florida, Alabama and Wisconsin.

With Ohio State being investigated by the NCAA, Worthington made the additional visits as a precaution. St. Francis coach Jerry Smith said he thinks Worthington will sign with Ohio State, but added that he'll sit down with all the parties tonight and finalize the decision.

"He could bring three letters and whichever one he pulls out . . . we'll see. He doesn't have to decide on that day, but I think he wants to get this over with," said Smith ...

Playing the game - Cincinnati Enquirer

Playing the game
Recruiting process all about salesmanship, politics and dreams

By Tom Groeschen/Enquirer staff writer

Robby Schoenhoft
The Enquirer/Joseph Fuqua

A Michigan assistant coach was Robby Schoenhoft's best buddy, until Schoenhoft decided to play football for Ohio State.

This was last July, and Schoenhoft was one happy young man. The recruiting process was over, and the phone calls finally would stop. But then the Michigan coach called again.

"I was in the car when he called," said Schoenhoft, St. Xavier's heavily recruited senior quarterback. "He wasn't very happy with me, and he told me Ohio State was the wrong decision. I couldn't believe some of the things he said. I told him, 'I'm going to be playing you in a couple years, and I'll remember this.' "

Such is the highly pressurized world of college sports recruiting, a process which frazzles players, families and coaches and affects lives forever.

With the national letter of intent signing day Wednesday for football and several other sports, athletes across America are getting ready to sit down, smile for the cameras and sign on the dotted line.

And no, we can't hear from the Michigan coach - or any other college coach - until the athletes actually sign.

NCAA rules prohibit coaches from commenting publicly on prospective recruits.

The recruits who do sign Wednesday will be a distinctminority.

Less than 6 percent of prep senior athletes will go on to play at NCAA member schools in the so-calledmajor sports of football (5.8 percent will play for an NCAA school), men's basketball (2.9 percent), women's basketball (3.1 percent) and baseball (5.6 percent), according to the NCAA.

Figures are not as clearly defined for NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), NCCAA (National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association) and NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) schools, but suffice it to say the odds of playing in college remain small.

With so few spots available, it's a trying process. Even if you're a big star.

"You learn a lot about human nature," said Debbie Schoenhoft, Robby's mother. "You don't know if the recruiters are ever being truthful with you, or if they're telling the same thing to the next kid right behind you."

Some are coveted, like Schoenhoft. Some have to beg college coaches for a second of their time. Some have no idea how to get noticed. But the student-athletes have one thing in common - they aren't ready to give up their sports careers.

In recent months, the Enquirer has talked to several players, parents, prep coaches, recruiting analysts and scouting services both locally and nationally. Here are some of their stories about the pressures of the recruiting process.

The players Schoenhoft was Cincinnati's most highly publicized football recruit last summer. Several recruiting services and Web sites, including ESPN.com, rated him among the nation's top 10 quarterback prospects, and scores of colleges sent him mail.

He received 26 official college offers, which is a lot.

Michigan thought it had him. Schoenhoft first went to the Wolverines' offseason camps as a St. Xavier freshman. Most prep football superstars commit to colleges the summer before their senior years, and in summer 2004, Wolverine Nation was among many tracking Schoenhoft's every move.

"A reporter from Michigan was calling me 15 or 20 times a day, to see what I was doing," Schoenhoft said. "Luckily, we've got caller ID."
Schoenhoft announced for Ohio State at the EA Sports "Elite 11" quarterback camp in California in July. In the end, Ohio State was closer to home and just seemed a better fit.

Schoenhoft had a good senior season, leading St. Xavier to an 11-1 record, passing for more than 1,500 yards with 15 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He missed two games with an ankle injury.

Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr came to St. Xavier last year to visit Schoenhoft. It's a big deal when the head coach of a major program comes to your school.

"We liked Lloyd Carr," Debbie Schoenhoft said.

And Jim Tressel, too. The Ohio State coach was just out at the Schoenhofts' house in Mason last week, having dinner. See, Robby Schoenhoft could always change his mind between now and Wednesday.

But he said he won't.

"We've had five Ohio State assistants come through here since Thanksgiving," Debbie Schoenhoft said. "I guess they just want to be sure."

The coach, parent Kerry Coombs has never had a more pressure-packed year in his life.

The Colerain football coach dealt all year with the expectations that his team would win the state championship, which the Cardinals did. Moreover, he and wife Holly dealt with college recruiters who wanted their son, Brayden, a standout senior defensive back.

"Ball State comes in on a Tuesday, and they say they've got to know right now," Kerry Coombs said, recalling one hectic week of Brayden's recruiting. "If it's not yes, then it's no, because we've got to offer that scholarship to someone else. That kind of pressure is applied on kids constantly.

"The next day, Miami (University), and then Ohio U. comes for a home visit. This is all within 12 hours, and a player is being asked to make a decision right now. To his credit, he took his time."

Brayden, ranked first in his class at Colerain, chose Miami.

Kerry Coombs, a former college player at Dayton, has dealt with college coaches for 14 years as Colerain head coach. But now he really knows what a parent endures with recruiters.

"It's like they're selling a car," Coombs said. "They tell you that if you don't buy the car, they've got another guy coming in at noon who wants it. And they're pulling this stuff on high school kids who are about to make the biggest decision of their lives."

But Coombs understands. Coaches have to win.

"I guess the whole thing is they've got to find an edge," Coombs said. "I remember Jefferson Kelley, our offensive tackle everybody wanted 10 years ago. He had guys offering him scholarships the February before his senior year. That's a whole year in advance! Holy cow, anything could happen in that time.

"But that's how it is. ... It's getting earlier and earlier."

The short of it The case of Terrill Byrd, the Colerain star defensive lineman, provides another interesting twist on recruiting.
As in, big prep stats don't always mean big-name college.

Byrd had 21 sacks in 15 games, helping lead Colerain to the Ohio Division I championship. He was named national defensive player of the year by PrepNation.com, the Ohio Division I defensive player of the year, and Enquirer/Channel 9 area player of the year.

But Byrd, 6-foot and 289 pounds, said the big schools told him he was too short to play major Division I-A football.

Actually they didn't tell him that, as most of the "names" didn't talk to him. To be a top-notch major Division I-A lineman, the computers want you a few inches taller than 6 feet.

"They just figured I'm too short," Byrd said. "They overlooked the fact that I was a good player."

Mid-level football schools such as Cincinnati, Miami, Toledo and Akron were certainly interested. And that war heated up on its own level, as Byrd wanted to commit to several schools because he liked them all.

"Nobody did anything outrageous," Byrd said of the recruiters. "It was all on the level."

Byrd chose Cincinnati, and will sign Wednesday.

"If I was taller," Byrd said, "I'd be going to the (big time)."

That would be at a place like Michigan or Ohio State. Playing in Columbus is a dream for many prep players in the state, but there are very few Schoenhofts around.

At your service Seton senior Kelly Hofmeyer is an All-American volleyball player, so designated by PrepVolleyball.com.

Her father, Mike, was a standout basketball player at Northern Kentucky University. She was named first-team all-state and led the Cincinnati area with 396 digs this season as she helped lead Seton to the Division I state Final Four.

Even with all that, Kelly has had no guarantees as she has narrowed her college choices to Cincinnati and Western Kentucky.

She is not especially tall as a 5-foot-6"libero," which is a defensive specialist. But she knew what she wanted out of college, primarily one with a good pharmacy program. And that has helped her cause.

"I've kind of lucked out," Hofmeyer said. "I was a little late getting into the recruiting process."

She had a highlights tape made and a profile sheet sent out through a college recruiting service. Scores of such "services" are available with one Google touch of an Internet button.

As it turned out, her club coach, University of Cincinnati assistant Josh Steinbach, opened the most doors.

"Sometimes it just depends on who you know," she said. "He e-mailed some people asking which of them needed my (libero) position."

She also found out some harsh recruiting realities.

"It's been really frustrating overall," she said. "You get a lot of bad news, and all you want to do is figure out where you want to go. There have been some days where I wanted to just stop and not do it anymore. I've just kind of hung in there, because I decided this is what I want."

The worst part: Telling some college coaches, "No."

"It's hard," she said. "You don't want to do it without being rude. It's been nice to have a tape made of you and get your profile sent out, but I'm ready to move on, too."

Almost free ride Tiffany Burlew had several things working for her, but just as many against her.

She was an Enquirer all-city fastpitch softball pitcher at Landmark Trinity, which was great for her. But Landmark is - or was - a very small school in Evendale. It was so small, it closed its doors last spring because of declining enrollment.

Burlew, a senior last season, didn't have a bunch of scouts tracking her every move.

"It didn't seem like anybody would come watch me, because we were a small Division IV team," she said.

She and her family enlisted the help of Tom Greco.

Greco, of Edgewood, Ky., is the Greater Cincinnati director of National Scouting Report, one of the more respected recruiting services. He made a profile of Burlew that included a video and mailed it to colleges.

"It was just a matter of her getting noticed," Greco said.

She started getting letters in the mailbox almost daily, said Bob Burlew, her father and high school coach.She also had a plan. She wanted to attend a Christian college and study nursing.

She narrowed her choices to Cedarville and Campbellsville (Ky.). She wound up at Campbellsville, an NAIA Division I school.

With performance grants for athletics, music, dance, drama, etc., the high costs can be offset at NAIA schools. In Burlew's case, she has been able to cover about $15,000 of the estimated $21,000 it will cost her to go there annually.

"Tom Greco was a big help," Tiffany Burlew said. "I've always loved softball, and it was a dream of mine to play with the big people like the women's pro league. Now I can keep striving for that."

The parents Debbie Schoenhoft said nothing prepared her for son Robby's college football recruitment.

"It was very hectic," she said. "We gave up a lot of things. We didn't take a vacation last summer because Robby was at camps. We spent our spring break doing recruiting things. It's a very long process."

She still has the boxes full of recruiting letters. Hundreds of pieces of mail arrived at the family home the past couple years.

"I should pitch them, I guess," she said. "I don't know why I'm keeping them."

Some were form letters, but with a blue-chip recruit like Robby, there were many personal touches.

"Jim Tressel wrote Robby several nice notes," Debbie said of her son's future Ohio State coach. "You wonder if they write like this to every kid."

The answer is no, which she knows.

For instance, it's not every day that North Carolina State sends both its head basketball coach (Herb Sendek) and baseball coach (Elliott Avent) together to the home of Moeller's Andrew Brackman.

That happened one day last spring, when the Wolfpack coaches showed up at Brackman's home on Major League Baseball draft day. Both men assured Brackman that each still wanted the two-sport star, and that he could still play each sport there.

Brackman is doing fine in North Carolina, already a basketball starter. Not everyone can do that, and in Schoenhoft's case, Ohio State won out over schools such as Michigan, Michigan State and Iowa simply because it was closer to home.

"It was a fun process," Debbie Schoenhoft said, "but I'll be glad when it's over on Wednesday."

The prep coaches Dale Mueller just coached Highlands to the Kentucky Class 3A football championship. He has coached state in championships before, but like college recruiting, it's always a learning experience.

"Recruiting is a unique experience in the kids' lives," Mueller said. "They haven't experienced anything like it before, and they probably never will again. They've got all these men calling them and talking about their schools. They're just dying for the kids to say yes. There's real pressure to commit, and both sides feel it."

Mueller said he understands why colleges sometimes promise more than they can give. Recruiters can make everyone feel they're the next LeBron James or Michael Vick.

"If a school's only got 20 scholarships to give for football, let's say, they have to offer more than 20," Mueller said. "If they just make 20 offers, they might only get 10 guys take that offer. And then if you wait too long, in other cases the scholarship could really be gone because someone else takes it."

Mueller, in more than 20 years as a coach, said he has found college coaches to be mostly honorable.

"You hear and read things, but I've found them to be really above board," Mueller said.

The call You could write a book about recruiting.

Jack Renkens has. It's called "Recruiting Realities." Renkens, a former basketball coach at Division II Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., travels the country and gives about 140 speeches a year. Topic: Recruiting.

"First, I stress to parents to get realistic," Renkens said, speaking from Kansas City before a recent speech. "If you haven't gotten a call by about March of your junior year, you're probably not going to be at the major Division I level in college."

The average athlete, Renkens said, might get recruited at the Division III or NAIA level. And by average, that means an above-average prep athlete.

"You might have a great senior year and get discovered, but that happens about once in a thousand," Renkens said.

If you can't get recruited, signed, or otherwise don't have any idea how to do it, you're not alone.

"Maybe 1 percent of parents have a clue," Renkens said.

Not being critical, he said. Just factual.

What to do?

Step One: "Log on to the NCAA Web site, ncaa.org, and look for the guide to the student-bound athlete," Renkens said. "There are other options. I have a book, and there are at least 50 books out there on how to market yourself. The final option, to me, is a scouting/profile service. There are five or six out there that are legitimate, but there's only a couple that give any type of guarantee of a refund."

Renkens said it can all be done, if your child is good enough and also committed maybe not to playing next door.

"If you're in Ohio, you might have to go to Nebraska or New Hampshire to play," he said. "You might have to give something up. My motto is that it's a game, so you'd better learn the rules."


Five-star recruit Gwaltney picks WVU over USC - Parkersburg News & Sentnel

Five-star recruit Gwaltney picks WVU over USC


MORGANTOWN-It looks as if Wednesday will be a red letter day for the West Virginia University Mountaineer football team.
Prized running back Jason Gwaltney is reported to have decided to attend WVU next fall, according to a story which broke in Newsday.

Gwaltney, who had narrowed his choices to Ohio State, USC and WVU, rushed for 2,377 yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior at North Babylon High School in North Babylon, N.Y. He rushed for 5,112 yards, 90 TDs and scored 546 points during his first three years.

As a junior, he rushed for 2,601 yards and 45 touchdowns.

He will announce his decision at a 10 a.m. Wednesday press conference scheduled to take place in the North Babylon High School auditorium.

The New York standout had made a verbal commitment to attend West Virginia last season. He was visited by coaches from all three schools last week and spent much of the latter part of the week deciding which school best fit his needs.

West Virginia led the Big East in rushing last season and was ranked fourth nationally during the Mountaineers' 8-4 campaign.

The all-time leading scorer and rusher in Long Island history reportedly made his decision after months of contemplation.

It was earlier reported that the star running back would announce his selection during the Army All-American Bowl in Texas.

But, Gwaltney elected not to make his decision then and announced that he would wait until Wednesday to let the public know his choice.

Gwaltney may have made that decision after purchasing a plane ticket to Morgantown over the weekend and spending two days off campus in Morgantown.

The unofficial visit allowed him to take one more look at WVU before making his decision.

The addition of Gwaltney to the Mountaineers' Class of 2005 will undoubtedly make this the best recruiting class head coach Rich Rodriguez has produced in his five years at his alma mater. Earlier this past week, the school received verbal commitments from placekicker Patrick McAfee of Pittsburgh, Pa., and punter Scott Kozlowski from Royal Palm Beach, Fla.-both of whom are ranked No. 1 at their respective positions.

WVU has received verbals from 26 football players thus far, including West Virginia products Ryan Dawson from Parkersburg South, Nate Sowers of Martinsburg, Zac Cooper of Weir and Reed Williams from Moorefield.

Rodriguez will officially announce the Class of 2005 in a press conference at 3 p.m. on Wednesday in the team meeting room.

ESPN show only promotes individualism - Akron Beacon Journal

Posted on Tue, Feb. 01, 2005

ESPN show only promotes individualism
By Tom Reed

ESPN is dangling another carrot in front of delusional parents and athletes who believe Division I college scholarships are plucked from Mother Earth like ample vegetation.

Imagine the excitement of announcing your college selection on national cable television. Think of the publicity. Think of the exposure. Think of the headaches for the poor prep coaches.

St. Vincent-St. Mary senior Lawrence Wilson makes his choice live on ESPNews this afternoon as part of National Signing Day. Wilson was one of five national prep stars tabbed by the network to participate.

Irish coach Keith Wakefield had nothing to do with the arrangements. The old-school mentor is so anti-hype he wouldn't know Stuart Scott from Willard Scott. But that won't stop some parents from asking Wakefield and other area coaches to set up similar face time for their prized recruits.

After all, what's a college scholarship worth if friends and family can't see you discussing the merits of redshirting with Mike Tirico?

``It's media gone berserk. It's college athletics gone berserk. We are developing a whole culture of star making,'' said Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger, whose school, along with Notre Dame and Florida, is part of Wilson's short list. ``It's American Idol without a portfolio. These kids haven't gained a yard, made a tackle and we're setting them up on a pedestal.''

Geiger remains critical of ESPN, which broke the story of Maurice Clarett's a
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Interesting Article

Here's an interesting article from SI's Mandel. Having the #1 recruiting class is usually not what is cracke dup to be:

Great expectations: No. 1 recruiting class can be a curse, not a blessing

For Phillip Fulmer and the rest of the Tennessee coaching staff, a year's worth of tireless labor paid off Wednesday in the form of the nation's No. 1 recruiting class for 2005.
Now comes the hard part.

The national recruiting title is a mythical one, derived entirely unscientifically, but with it come expectations even grander than usual for a perennial power like Tennessee. Any coach of any high-profile team strives for the best possible recruiting class each season, but with the prestige of No. 1 comes an even greater burden. Suddenly anything less than a national championship is considered a disappointment.

Just ask Texas coach Mack Brown. From the day his 1999 signings were announced, garnering a consensus No. 1 ranking, the Chris Simms/Cory Redding-led class took on an image of mythical proportions -- to the point that, while many of those players formed the core of a program that would regularly win 10-11 games, the fact they never won a conference or national championship seemingly tarnished their legacy.

"I would say if you're ranked No. 1, you better be really good, because it takes on a life of its own," said Brown. "Everyone complained that we had the best recruiting class in country but we only won 10 games. I said, 'Yeah, I know, we were terrible.' Chris Simms finished as the school's all-time passing leader, Cory Redding starts for Detroit, and some people think that class wasn't a success."

The reality is, projecting 18-year-old players' potential is largely a crapshoot, and in most cases the No. 20 class is probably capable of producing as many or more future stars as the No. 1 class. In fact, sitting about 15 spots below the 'Horns in that year's rankings was a Miami class that included Ken Dorsey, Clinton Portis, Andre Johnson, Philip Buchanon and other core members of a team that went on to win the 2001 national title.

Did Miami's players overachieve? Did Texas' underachieve? Were they rated wrong in the first place? Who knows?

"There's very little separating these teams," said Scout.com/SuperPrep editor Allen Wallace. "If you're recruiting a top 20 class, you should be happy, because you're putting together the kind of talent that will win BCS games."

And yet, there's no question that most fans draw a huge distinction between a No. 1 class and a No. 20 class, thus affecting the level of expectations accompanying them. One might think it's almost better to avoid the No. 1 tag, but the benefits are simply too great to ignore.

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=310 align=left border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=300><!--tablemaker--><TABLE class=cnnTMbox cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=cnnIEBoxTitle>SI.com's past No. 1 recruiting classes</TD></TR><TR><TD class=cnnTMcontent><!-- tabled content area --><TABLE class=cnnTM cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR class=cnnIEHdrRowBG><TD class=cnnIEColHdrC>Year</TD><TD class=cnnIEColHdrC>Team</TD><TD class=cnnIEColHdrL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">Notable players</TD></TR><TR class=cnnIERowAltBG><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>1998</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>UCLA</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">RB DeShaun Foster, QB Cory Paus, OL Mike Saffer LB Robert Thomas</TD></TR><TR><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>1999</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>Texas</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">QB Chris Simms, DE Cory Redding, TE Bo Scaife, OL Derrick Dockery</TD></TR><TR class=cnnIERowAltBG><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2000</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>Florida</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">QB Brock Berlin, CB Keiwan Ratliff, TE Ben Troupe, OL Shannon Snell</TD></TR><TR><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2001</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>FSU</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">WR Cro Thorpe, QB Adrian McPherson, WR P.K. Sam, CB Dominic Robinson</TD></TR><TR class=cnnIERowAltBG><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2002</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>Texas</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">QB Vince Young, DT Rodrique Wright, TE David Thomas, OL Justin Blalock</TD></TR><TR><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2003</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>LSU</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">RB Alley Broussard, QB JaMarcus Russell, WR Craig Davis, DB LaRon Landry</TD></TR><TR class=cnnIERowAltBG><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2004</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>USC</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">WR Dwayne Jarrett, OL Jeff Byers, DE Jeff Schweiger, LB Keith Rivers</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><!--/tablemaker--><!--tablemaker--><TABLE class=cnnTMbox cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=cnnIEBoxTitle>What No. 1 should have been ... </TD></TR><TR><TD class=cnnTMcontent><!-- tabled content area --><TABLE class=cnnTM cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR class=cnnIEHdrRowBG><TD class=cnnIEColHdrC>Year</TD><TD class=cnnIEColHdrC>Team</TD><TD class=cnnIEColHdrL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">Notable players</TD></TR><TR class=cnnIERowAltBG><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>1998</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>Okla.</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">DB Roy Williams, LB Rocky Calmus, TE Trent Smith, CB Andre Woolfolk</TD></TR><TR><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>1999</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>Miami</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">RB Clinton Portis, QB Ken Dorsey, WR Andre Johnson, CB Philip Buchanon</TD></TR><TR class=cnnIERowAltBG><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2000</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>Miami</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">RB Willis McGahee, LB Jonathan Vilma, LB D.J. Williams, DT Vince Wilfork</TD></TR><TR><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2001</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>LSU</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">WR Michael Clayton, DE Marcus Spears, C Ben Wilkerson, CB Corey Webster</TD></TR><TR class=cnnIERowAltBG><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2002</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>USC</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">WR Mike Williams, TE Dominique Byrd, S Darnell Bing, P Tom Malone</TD></TR><TR><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2003</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC></TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">Too early to say</TD></TR><TR class=cnnIERowAltBG><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC>2004</TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtC></TD><TD class=cnnIEColTxtL style="BORDER-RIGHT: 0px">Too early to say</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

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"If you win the mythical recruiting title, it shows you're focused, you've got momentum and that you're a very appealing program," said Wallace. "It's a burden that every single coach in the United States would like to wear, whether they admit it or not."

On paper, Tennessee's 2005 haul has the potential to match or exceed any such previously lauded group. The 27-member class has all the pieces: Scout.com's third highest-rated quarterback (Jonathan Crompton), No. 7 running back (LaMarcus Coker), No. 1 cornerback (Demetrice Morley), No. 4 defensive end (Raymond Henderson), No. 7 linebacker (Rico McCoy), No. 9 offensive lineman (Chris Scott) and a top 20 receiver (Slick Shelly), tight end (Jeff Cottam), safety (Adam Myers-White), cornerback (Montario Hardesty), linebacker (Gerald Williams).

While Fulmer, the Vols' head coach since 1992, has always been known as a good recruiter, even he concedes this year's recruiting went better than most. Part of the credit goes to first-year assistant coach Trooper Taylor, formerly of Tulane, who formed a strong connection with many prospects and their coaches and was largely responsible for landing Morley, among others.

"It helped that we had some very dynamic players in our state," Fulmer told SI.com Wednesday evening. "We got on a roll this year, and it was kicked off a lot by those early commitments by Jonathan Crompton and LaMarcus Coker. Then we finished strong as well."

Fulmer will gladly accept the accolades his class is receiving, but he knows he can only rejoice for so long. The true measure of this year's class will be how many rings wind up on their fingers by the time they graduate, which will only happen if they develop to the best of their abilities, which, of course, will only occur with proper coaching. Which means anything short of absolute greatness and the blame will fall squarely on Fulmer's shoulders.

"It is a mythical and very subjective thing when you start rating young men from all around country," he said. "I am real happy with the class, I think we filled our needs for the most part, brought in some very dynamic players that can help us. But it will be a year or two before we can tell what kind of class we really have."

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