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October 18, 2005

Big Ten Blitz: Irish still impress visitors

Losing to top-ranked Southern Cal over the weekend may not have helped Notre Dame in the wins column, but their long list of official visitors didn't seem to be unimpressed.

The Irish were hosting a slew of nationally ranked prospects like Rivals100 members Matt Carufel, Gerald McCoy, Butch Lewis and commit Darrin Walls. From all reports it appears that within the next week, chapters could be closing on the recruitment of several of these elite players.

Though no commitments were reported, they may not be far off. According to his high school coach, the four-star rated Carufel was close, but will wait to announce at a later date.

Three-star linebacker Toryan Smith liked his visit so much that he decided to cut his list down to Florida and Notre Dame. Smith is unsure if he will take an official visit to Florida in November. His planned official trip to Michigan appears to have gone by the wayside.

Rivals250 member Anthony Lewis has never guaranteed taking all four of his planned official visits. After the trip, sources say he may not get past three.

Atlanta linebacker Morrice Richardson took pictures of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush for nostalgia's sake, but the trip was for more than sight seeing. He could now be deciding after his visit to Virginia Tech this weekend.

McCoy and Lewis, both Southern Cal targets, also gave glowing reports of their trip to South Bend. The visit has not changed McCoy's mind about taking the rest of his trips, including one to USC, but the trip scored a "nine out of 10."

California prospect Terrence Austin also has the Irish sitting in great position.

"Overall, Notre Dame definitely gave me a lot to think about," Austin said. "It's still UCLA and Notre Dame at the top. I've been to a lot of games at USC and UCLA, but the crowd at Notre Dame was the loudest I've ever heard."

Prospects such as wide receiver Richard Jackson and defensive back LaRon Moore appear to be winding down their recruitment as well. A decision from either of those two players in the next few weeks is not unlikely. Jackson has yet to set up his official visit to Miami. Many were surprised that Moore has not yet committed and could be very close.

So despite the close loss, it appears Notre Dame is on the verge of picking up several important pieces towards the future of the Irish puzzle after their big weekend.

PSU about to shoot up the list?

In the first edition of the 2006 Rivals.com Team Rankings, Penn State came in at No. 49 with five commitments on board. After coming in at No. 14 in 2004 and No. 25 in 2005, many were wondering what a winning season would do to push PSU back into the top 25.

Monday could be the turning point for the Nittany Lions to make a big move.

Three-star defensive end Aaron Maybin was rumored to have committed to PSU on his visit for the Ohio State game. The guessing game continued until he publicly announced Monday afternoon that he was in fact headed to State College.

If that wasn't enough, Rivals100 wide receiver Chris Bell took his final official visit to Virginia this past weekend, but it wasn't enough to keep him from joining Maybin with his commitment.

Last year's top commitments, Derrick Williams and Justin King boosted PSU into the top 25 and that formula may push them in again.

Several visitors take in Ohio State win

The quantity may not have been the theme for Ohio State's recruiting weekend, but the quality of official visitors was certainly there for the Buckeyes' win over Michigan State.

On the visitor list was four-star Navorro Bowman, three-star Wesley Lyons, and three-star McKenzie Mathews. The only odd thing about it was that many were expecting high marks from Lyons, who had his brother as his host.

"I still would say Boston College and West Virginia are my favorites, but Ohio State is up there," Lyons said. "I had more fun hanging out with my brother at Ohio State than I did on my visit to Boston College. As for West Virginia, I don't know how to compare them because I had fun at both."

Bowman intends to continue on with his visits to Virginia Tech on Nov. 5 and Tennessee on Dec. 10 before making a decision. Matthews will continue to take and schedule more trips.

Michigan's upset victory opens Hornsby's eyes

Being present for a big win over rival Penn State in the final seconds helped Michigan get their foot in the door for four-star athlete Jamar Hornsby.

In the beginning Hornsby was expected to make his announcement on Oct. 5 with Florida being the very clear leader. After postponing that to head to Ann Arbor, he returned with a very open mind about his recruiting.

"Trust me, they have a real good chance," Hornsby said. "It was a crazy game and it pushed Michigan up a lot on my list."

The visit went well, but Florida is still considered the team to beat for Hornsby. His official visit is set for the Gators on Nov. 25. Georgia, Alabama, and USC are also visit possibilities.

Edds commitment keeps Iowa rolling

Iowa finished their 2005 campaign with the No. 11 ranked recruiting class in the country and questions were being raised about if that would be duplicated in 2006. October has brought two commitments with the latest coming from three-star linebacker A.J. Edds last week.

Over offers from Georgia Tech and Purdue, Edds picked the Hawkeyes because of the direction of the program and big things expected in the future.

"I think coach Kirk Ferentz and his whole stuff run one of the most respectable, highly regarded programs in the country," Edds said after his press conference. "I picked Iowa because the football program is doing real well and I think they're going to continue to do well."

After wide receiver James Cleveland's decision earlier in the month, it appears Iowa is on track to make another run at a high national ranking for their class.

Etc.

Northwestern picked up a commitment this past weekend from three-star Boilingbrook, Ill., wide receiver Carl Fisher…Texas quarterback prospect Joe Mauro also made his commitment just days before Fisher this past week…Illinois could be having their biggest weekend visit list of the year this coming weekend that includes three-stars Travon Bellamy, Vontae Davis, possibly four-star Anthony Jones…Indiana hosted three-star offensive tackle Chris Bush and three-star defensive tackle Quencey Patrick this past weekend…Both prospects reportedly enjoyed their visits respectively.

More Recruiting Blitzes:
SEC: LSU gets two linebackers
Pac-10: Duck coming back

Editor's note: The Big 10 Blitz is a weekly look at recruiting among the 11 conference schools and Notre Dame.


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