- RECRUITING - Battle for pledges still being waged

Wednesday, January 26
Updated: January 27, 7:27 PM ET
Battle for pledges still being waged

Last-minute decisions highlight the football recruiting rush as the nation's football prospects head for the first letter-of-intent signing day on Feb. 2.

"This year has been both brutal and refreshing," says one coordinator. "Kids are far more informed and far more aware of the situation at programs. They want and demand answers. The old days of 'we are a great school and sign with us' are gone. Now, it's a real war."

There have been some surprises among nationally rated prospects and Georgia Tech has moved up in the class ratings with key victories for top players.

One of the top prospects in the nation, defensive back Matt Grootegoed of Santa Ana-Mater Dei, Calif., has chosen the USC Trojans over UCLA. Both Michigan and Notre Dame had been dropped.

One of the top running backs in the country, Tony Johnson of State College, Pa., and defensive lineman Derek Wake of Hyattsville-DeMatha Catholic, Md., picked Penn State. Johnson, who rushed for 1915 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior, chose PSU over Michigan, Kentucky and North Carolina. Wake also considered Georgia Tech, Maryland and Virginia Tech.

Oklahoma has touted running back Renaldo Works of Tulsa-Booker T. Washington, Okla., over Oklahoma State, Notre Dame and Arkansas.

Offensive lineman Kwame Harris of Newark, Del., has chosen Stanford over Michigan, Wisconsin, Miami (Fla.), UCLA, Tennessee and Penn State.

One of the Top 3 linebacker prospects, Darrell Lee of St. Louis-Kirkwood, Mo, picked Florida over Missouri and Michigan. The Gators also added running back Willie Green of Kissimmee-Osceola, Fla., over Clemson and Maryland; defensive linemen Bennie Mills of Metairie-Rummel Archbishop, La., over Notre Dame; and Bobby Williams of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., over Notre Dame and Georgia Tech.

One of the nation's Top 5 tight ends, Alex Holmes, a 285-pound blocker from North Hollywood-Harvard Westlake, Calif., selected the USC Trojans over Michigan and UCLA.

Defensive back Dominique Simms of Minneapolis-DeLaSalle, Minn., will play for the Minnesota Gophers over Colorado. Others were Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin.

Highly rated defensive back Stuart Schweigert of Saginaw-Heritage, Mich., will play at Purdue over Michigan State. Others were Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

Super running back Diamond Ferri of of Everett, Mass., pledged to Syracuse over Iowa and Indiana.

In huge commitments for Georgia Tech, defensive back Nate Curry of Miami-Pace, Fla.; defensive lineman Keron Koon of Miramar, Fla.; and linebacker Hobie Holiday of Warner Robbins-Houston County, Ga., picked the Yellow Jackets. Koon considered Wisconsin, FSU, Minnesota and South Florida. Curry looked at Notre Dame, Boston College and Florida State.

Adding to a top class, Michigan State has nationally rated running back Tyrell Dortch of Hoboken, N.J., over Florida State, Florida, Michigan and Ohio State; top tight end Eric Knott of Detroit-Henry Ford, Mich., over runner-up Miami (Fla.), Florida State, Georgia and Ohio State; and outstanding defensive lineman Nautyn McKay-Loescher of Toronto-Central Tech, considered Canada's top prospect, over Miami (Fla.), Ohio State, Arizona, Boston College and Nebraska.

Notre Dame received commitments from outstanding receiver Ronnie Rodamer of Morgantown, W.Va., over Clemson and West Virginia; and Lorenzo Crawford of Patterson-Catholic, N.J., over North Carolina. Others were Michigan State, Boston College and Syracuse.

Linebacker Robert Reynolds of Bowling Green, Ky., will play for the Ohio State Buckeyes over Michigan, Miami (Fla.), Tennessee and Virginia.

National-quality offensive lineman David Baas of Sarasota-Riverview, Fla., committed to Michigan over Notre Dame. Others were Florida, Miami (Fla.) and Georgia.

Miami (Fla.) has one of the top receivers in the nation in Willie Dixon of Stockton-Brookside Christian, Calif., over Florida State and Michigan. Others were Oregon and UCLA. Dixon caught 56 passes for over 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. Offensive linemen Carlos Joseph of Miami-Edison, Fla., and Jonathan Colon of Miami-Central, Fla., are both expected to commit to the Hurricanes.

LSU added outstanding running back Derron Parquet of New Orleans-Archbishop Rummel, La., over Notre Dame, Colorado and Alabama;

Nationally rated quarterback Timmy Chang of Honolulu-St. Louis, Hawaii, selected the Hawaii Rainbows over Washington, California and Utah.

Clemson has a verbal from huge defensive lineman Donnell Washington of Beaufort-Battery Creek, S.C., over Florida State, North Carolina, Auburn and Tennessee;

In the Big 12, Kansas State added outstanding offensive linemen Chris Boggas of Irving, Tex., over Texas, Arkansas, TCU and Hawaii; and Jon Doty of West Des Moines-Dowling, Ia., over Minnesota, Iowa State and Iowa.

Oklahoma committed 310-pound defensive lineman Jammal Brown of Lawton-MacArthur, Okla., over Nebraska, Miami (Fla.), Tennessee and Kentucky.

More football commitments
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Notre Dame gained a commitment from linebacker Derek Curry of Sealy, Tex.

Central Florida added offensive linemen Tyewan Brown of Miami-Edison, Fla., over Iowa, Miami and Minnesota; and Norman Lewis of Port Charlotte, Fla.; plus defensive lineman Ben Brinson of Orlando-Evans, Fla.

Big Ten:
Michigan State has 320-pound offensive lineman Quentin Jackson of College Park-Clayton, Ga./Fork Union Military Academy, Va., who decommitted from LSU; quarterback Damon Dowdell of Detroit-Henry Ford, Mich., who decommitted from Cincinnati; and touted 305-pound defensive lineman Jesse Sias of Dallas-Kimball, Tex., over LSU and Oklahoma State.

Iowa has commitments from linebacker Charles Bodiford of Homestead-South Dade, Fla., over interest from Florida, West Virginia and UConn; 345-pound offensive lineman Mike Allen of NW Mississippi CC, Miss., over South Carolina; running back/linebacker Jon Babineaux of Port Arthur-Lincoln, Tex; and linebacker George Lewis of Fort Lauderdale-Dillard, Fla. Officials at East Mississippi CC, Miss., confirm two prospects have decommitted from Iowa, including defensive lineman Rashaun Jones to Southern Mississippi; and defensive back Torry Hale to UAB.

Indiana has a verbal from running back Rashon Myles of Dallas-Christian, Tex., over Iowa State and Syracuse. Others were Missouri and Oklahoma State. The Hoosiers also have verbals from outstanding linebacker Brandon Baker of Houston-Westbury, Tex., over Nebraska, LSU and Oklahoma State; receiver Prince Pack of Detroit-Martin DePorres, Mich; offensive lineman Bill Newton of Merrillville-Andrean, Ind., who will first attend prep school; offensive lineman Jacob Wagner of Springfield-Kenton Ridge, Ohio, who also will first attend prep school; and offensive lineman Reggie Poole of Gulf Coast CC, Miss.

Northwestern added receiver/defensive back Roger Jordan of Houston-Clear Creek, Tex., who decommitted from TCU; and defensive lineman/tight end Rolf Reinalda of Fair Haven-Rumson, N.J., over interest from Duke and Maryland.

Receiver/defensive back Gilbert Gardner of Angleton, Tex; offensive lineman Tyler Moore of Freemont, Mich; punter Aaron Levin of Casper-Natrona County, Wyo; and receiver Taylor Stubblefield of Yakima-AC Davis, Wash., committed to Purdue.

Wisconsin has defensive back Chuckie Cowans of Oak Lawn-H.L. Richards, Ill., over Colorado and Illinois.

Big 12:
Kansas State added defensive lineman Jerry Togiai of Ricks College, Idaho.

Texas Tech pledged offensive lineman Jon Rodriguez of Pasadena-South Houston, Tex.; linebacker/running back Geremy Woods of Andrews, Tex., who had decommitted from Texas A&M and had also considered Purdue; offensive lineman Daniel Loper of Bellaire-Episcopal, Tex.; offensive lineman Cody Campbell of Canyon, Tex.; and running back Foy Munlin of Dallas-Kimball, Tex.

Texas A&M verballed defensive lineman Linnis Smith of Tyler-John Tyler, Tex., who decommitted from Tulane.

The Oklahoma Sooners verballed top defensive back Terrance Simms of Hutchinson CC, Kan.

Oklahoma State gained tight end Mark Milosevich of Lewisville, Tex., over Tulane and Kansas State; quarterback/athlete Andre McGill of Ft. Myers, Fla., over Iowa State.; defensive lineman Tyrone Saterfield of Milton, Fla., and running back Johnny Bizzell of Midwest City-Carl Albert, Tex.

The Texas Longhorns verballed big running back Will Matthews of Round Rock-Westwood, Tex.; and defensive back Nathan Vasher of Texarkana, Tex.

Kansas committed defensive back/linebacker Leo Bookman of Dickinson, Tex., over Texas Tech and New Mexico; defensive lineman Ervin Holloman of Garden City CC, Kan.; and Mario Kinsey, a quarterback from Waco-LaVega, Tex.

Missouri gained Octavious Jackson, a receiver from Pahokee, Fla., over Miami (Fla.) and West Virginia; and running back Eugene Sweazie of The Woodlands, Tex.

Colorado gained defensive back Corey Alexander of Houston-Forest Brook, Tex., who decommitted from Oklahoma State.

Baylor has a commitment from receiver Robert Quiroga of San Antonio-Holmes, Tex.

Iowa State added receiver Karl Paymah of Los Angeles-Culver City, Cal; and defensive lineman Paul Jerrett of Lincoln-Pius X, Neb., over Nebraska, Kansas and Nebraska.

Florida has running back/defensive back Gus Scott of Jacksonville-Trinity Christian, Fla., over interest from Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Tulane; quarterback O.J. Small of Jacksonville-Englewood, Fla., who decommitted from Syracuse; and offensive lineman Chad Tidwell of Tallahassee-Lincoln, Fla.

Receiver/defensive back Tim Meyer of Barrington, Ill./Milford Academy, Conn/Harper JC, Ill., committed to Vanderbilt over Iowa, Virginia, Northwestern and Toledo. Vanderbilt also has a verbal from running back/defensive back Raymond Perkins of Fort Lauderdale-Dillard, Fla., over South Carolina, Marshall and South Florida.

Mississippi State has defensive lineman/linebacker Robert Spivey of Clarksdale, Miss.; defensive lineman/linebacker J.J. Grant of Clinton, Miss.; defensive back Dale Hall of Garden City CC, Kan.; plus defensive back Gabe Wallace and running back Darnell Jones, both from Greenwood, Miss. Mississippi State also added defensive back Jonathan Bell of Tupelo, Miss.; and running back DaShaun Fields of Amory, Miss., over interest from Tennessee, Mississippi and Marshall.

Linebacker Cornelius Wortham of Calhoun City, Miss., receiver Tarry Givens of Tallahassee-Godby, Fla.(will attend Butler CC, Kan.); and offensive lineman Reggie Cordy of Dublin, Ga., committed to Alabama.

Georgia has a verbal from defensive back Horace Willis of Georgia Military College, Ga., over Clemson, Mississippi State and Clemson. Tight end Andre Zellner of Forsyth-Mary Persons, Ga., also picked Georgia

Auburn verballed linebacker/defensive lineman Corneice Hoke of Marietta, Ga., over Florida, Mississippi and Tulane; defensive back Donnay Young of College Park-North Clayton, Ga.; tight end Jay Ratliff of Valdosta-Lowndes County, Ga.; and receiver Joe Walkins of Fort Lauderdale-Dillard, Fla.

LSU added defensive back Eric Alexander of Port Arthur-Austin, Tex.; defensive lineman Chris Henry of Houston-Jones, Tex., over Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Indiana; defensive lineman Jarvin Armelin of Sulphur, Ga; running back Mewelde Moore of Baton Rouge-Belaire, La., who decommitted from SMU; and receiver/defensive back Jack Hunt of Ruston, La.

Receiver Gerad Parker of Louisa-Lawrence County, Ky., and defensive back Charis Dottin of Texas City, Tex., committed toKentucky.

Tennessee is the final choice of defensive back/linebacker Kevin Burnett of Carson, Calif., over California and Colorado. Defensive back Corey Larkins of Opelika, Ala., will play for the Vols.

Defensive lineman Adonis Forrest of Chabot CC, Calif., selected Arkansas.

Running back Mikal Lundy of Florence-Memorial, N.J., committed to Kent State.

Marshall has running back Ernest Pitts of Copiah-Lincoln CC, Miss., and kicker Anthony Pisano of Alpharetta-Milton, Ga.

Defensive back Mark Dorsey of Jacksonville-Bolles School, Fla., committed to Louisville.

Defensive lineman Bryan Hill of Dodge City CC, Kan., signed with Houston. Defensive back Kevin Mangum of LaMarque, Tex., also chose the Cougars.

Tight end Jimmy Kosienski of Baton Rouge-Redemptorist, La.; receiver/defensive back Lyneris Elpheage of New Orleans-Carver, La.; and linebacker Marvin Jones of Hammond, La., will play for Tulane. Jones decommitted from LSU after the coaching change.

Big East:
Miami (Fla.) has linebacker Darrell McClover of Coconut Creek, Fla.; and quarterback Derrick Crudup of Deerfield Beach, Fla., announced for Miami. Crudup had earlier verballed to Miami and then Auburn. He also looked at Syracuse, LSU, Georgia and West Virginia.

Syracuse committed defensive lineman A.J. Xhudo of Lodi, N.J; and offensive lineman Brad Leyenaar of Tarpon Springs-East Lake, Fla. Quarterback O.J. Small of Jacksonville-Englewood, Fla., decommitted from Syracuse and will sign with Florida

Rutgers added offensive lineman Rob Dinsmore of Scotch Plains-Fanwood, N.J; defensive back Jason Grant of Queens-Bayside, N.Y; defensive lineman Travis Mills of Garden City CC, Kan.; and defensive lineman Benson Hawkins of Jacksonville-Bolles School, Fla. Receiver Khari Sharpe of Voorhees-Eastern, N.J., has switched his commitment from Rutgers to Duke

Virginia Tech added receiver Eric Green of Clewiston, Fla., who decommitted from West Virginia.

West Virginia has a reported pledge from linebacker Quentin Swain of Miami-Northwestern, Fla.

Temple pledged linebacker Rafael Fernandes of Fairfax-Robinson, Va.; receiver/defensive back Germaine Grandberry of Navarro JC, Tex.; and 6-8 quarterback in Dan Bosnic of Uniontown-Laurel Highlands, Pa.

Georgia Tech added defensive lineman Alfred Malone of Frisco City, Ala.

Linebacker Jamahl Cockran of Morristown, N.J; offensive lineman Clinton (CJ) Brooks of Morrow, Ga.; and defensive lineman/linebacker Kevin Eli of Deptford, N.J., verballed to Maryland.

Clemson has verbals from kicker Aaron Hunt of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; defensive lineman/linebacker J.R. Grant of Winter Haven, Fla.; linebacker Brandon Jamison of Hopkins-Lower Richland, S.C; offensive lineman Cedric Johnson of Thomasville-Thomas County Central, Ga., who decommitted from East Carolina; and quarterback Brian Carr of Conyers-Heritage, Ga.

North Carolina State added defensive back Kerrick Sanders of New Mexico Military JC, N.M., who had originally planned on Clemson (brother is a quarterback for the Wolfpack); defensive lineman Ricky Fowler of Columbus-Kendrick, Ga.; linebacker Chance Moyer of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; and receiver/defensive back Tee Alford of Charlotte-Butler, N.C./Hargrave Military Academy, Va. Kicker Austin Herbert of Cary, NC., recommitted to the Wolfpack. N.C. State also gained defensive back Victor Stephens of Webster-Clear Brook, Tex./Hargrave Military Academy, Va; plus receiver Jerricho Cotchery and linebacker Corrie Dawson, both from Birmingham-Phillips, Ala.

Wake Forest has verbals from running back Tyrek White of Statesville-North Iredell, N.C., over North Carolina and North Carolina State; offensive tackle Seth Houk of Garden City CC, Kan.; receiver Carlos Ousley of Jacksonville-Ribault, Fla., over Syracuse, Florida and North Carolina; defensive back Eric King of Owings Mills-McDonough, Md; and receiver/quarterback Anthony Young of North Augusta, S.C.

Quarterback Darryl Scott of Kirwood-Eastern, N.J., picked Duke. Duke added receiver Khari Sharpe of Voorhees-Eastern, N.J., who decommitted from Rutgers; linebacker/tight end J.T. Cape of Watkinsville-Oconee, Ga., over Stanford, Clemson and South Carolina; and defensive back Johnnie Mullins of Belle Glade-Glades Central, Fla., over West Virginia and Indiana.

Florida State is set for receiver/linebacker Michael Boulware of Columbia-Spring Valley, S.C., over Clemson, Georgia Tech and Ohio State. FSU has enrolled all three top prospects from Class 1999 lost to entrance problems, including linebacker Kendyll Pope of Lake City-Columbia, Fla., quarterback Fabian Walker of Americus, Ga., and defensive back Brandon (B.J.) Ward of Dallas-Kimball, Tex.

North Carolina verballed touted quarterback Darian Durant of Florence-Wilson, S.C., over South Carolina; and linebacker Devellen Bullard of Purnell-Sweat, N.C.

Arizona has a pledge from offensive lineman Perry Thomson of Sacramento-Grant, Calif., over Colorado and Oregon.

Oregon verballed receiver Paris Warren of Sacramento-Grant, Calif., over Arizona State and Colorado; Kenny Washington, a running back from Brea-Brea Olinda, Calif.; defensive back Charles Favroth of Concord-De La Salle, Calif.; and defensive back Eddie Smith of Berkeley-St. Mary's, Calif.

Defensive lineman/tight end/linebacker Connor Banks of Berkeley-St. Mary's, Calif.; offensive lineman Adrian Ayala of Ventura-St. Bonaventure, Calif.; and linebacker Lacy McDonald of Denver-Jefferson., chose Arizona State. Also joining the Sun Devils are All-Colorado kicker Travis Cloyd of Englewood-Cherry Creek, Colo.; and receiver R.J. Oliver of Escondido, Calif., over Nebraska, San Diego State and Hawaii.

Oregon State verballed running back/linebacker Paul Soto of Palmdale-Highland, Calif.; and running back Jonathan Ward of Poway, Calif., over Colorado State. Others showing interest were Michigan, Virginia and Kansas State. The Beavers also pledged receiver Eric Williams of Diamond Bar, Calif.

Washington State has commitments from running back/linebacker Brian DeMaestri of Denver-Thomas Jefferson, Colo; defensive lineman Stephen Cook of Kirkland-Juanita, Wash.; and defensive lineman Norvell Holmes of Bellflower-St. John Bosco, Calif., over Iowa, Kansas and Colorado.

Washington has a pledge from defensive lineman Graham Lasee of Bellingham-Sehome, Wash. Notre Dame showed interest. Washington also added defensive lineman Khalif Barnes of Spring Valley-Mount Miguel, Calif.; and defensive back Roc Alexander of Colorado Springs, Colo., over Kansas State.

UCLA saw defensive lineman Scott Parkhurst of Long Beach CC, Calif., decommit to UNLV.

The USC Trojans have offensive lineman Travis Watkins of LaMesa-Helix, Calif., over San Diego State, Oregon, Washington and UCLA.

Stanford gained defensive back Leigh Torrance of Atlanta-Marist, Ga., over Duke and Vanderbilt.

Mountain West:
Offensive lineman Iosefa Robins of Honolulu-St. Louis, Hawaii; and defensive back Bo Nagahi of Salt Lake City-Skyline, Utah, verballed to Utah. The Utes also verballed defensive back Yohance Scott of Eastern Arizona JC, Ariz; offensive lineman Talo Tavale of Palomar JC, Calif.; and linebacker Zach Tune of Fullerton-Sunny Hills, Calif.

BYU has a pledge from linebacker/defensive lineman Jordan Hill of Pocatello-Highland, Idaho.

Colorado State gained defensive back Keith Lander of Denver-Manuel, Colo.

San Diego State added linebacker Blake Lobel of Diamond Bar, Calif.; and linebacker/running back Fale Poumele of Oceanside, Calif.

UNLV gained defensive lineman Scott Parkhurst of Long Beach CC, Calif., who decommitted from UCLA; defensive lineman Adrian Watson of Glendale JC, Ariz.; and defensive back Zach Bell of Tustin, Calif. Offensive lineman Jimmy Zoll of Santee-Santana, Calif., and linebacker Michael Crowder-Jones of Carson, Calif., are also headed to UNLV.

Defensive lineman Brandon Johnson of Dallas-Newman Smith, Tex.; and defensive back/receiver Reuben Randle of Wortham, Tex., verballed to TCU.

Running back Howard Boye-Doe of Keller, Tex., verballed to SMU over Wisconsin, Texas Tech and Colorado State.

The Hawaii Rainbows have verbals from defensive back Tyson Hampton of Sacramento-Florin, Calif., over interest from Oregon State and Arizona; quarterback Chad Kapanui of Honolulu-Roosevelt, Hawaii, over offers from San Diego State and Utah; receiver Gerald Welch of Honolulu-St. Louis, Hawaii; offensive lineman Uriah Moenoa of Honolulu-Iolani, Hawaii; defensive back Kelvin Millhouse of Mt. SAC, Calif.; offensive lineman Michael Littlefield of Mt. SAC, Calif.; and kicker Justin Ayat of Honolulu-Kamahameha, Hawaii. Hawaii added offensive linemen Chad Kahale of Honolulu-St. Louis, Hawaii, and William Jackson of Detroit-Cass Tech, Mich.

Fresno State has pledges from receiver Chris Sims of Clovis, Calif.; and receiver Lenny McCormick of Clovis, Calif.

Big West:
Defensive lineman John Younkins of Jacksonville-Bolles School, Fla., is headed to Idaho.

Basketball signings/commitments
Men's database search, Women's database search

The Big East dominated the Class of 2000 men's early signing period (Story). UConn headed the women's recruiting battle (Story).

Bill Hodge is the executive editor and director of recruiting coverage at For daily columns on prospects, commitments and signings, plus databases, go to's recruiting index.


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