Southwest Recruiting Notebook
Chancey Aghayere is one of the top defensive ends.
Chancey Aghayere is one of the top defensive ends.
Posted Jun 6, 2007

In this edition of the Southwest Recruiting Notebook we take a look at one of the top uncommitted targets in the region, a sleeper prospect who has exploded on the scene with some big offers, and hear from two of the top players from Louisiana who just made their college choices.

The Texas Longhorns have made it no secret that Chancey Aghayere is their top remaining target, and rightfully so. Without a defensive end commitment in the 2008 class and the controversy surrounding Henry Melton, the depth at the position is looking pretty thin. Aghayere talked visits with Inside Texas. His junior day visit may have been his last to Austin.

Last month, Garland defensive end Chancey Aghayere said that he was planning on attending Texas’ summer camp on June 10th, but the visit is now up in the air.

“I was planning on it, but it just depends on if my mom is able to bring me down there or not,” Aghayere replied when asked if he was still planning on attending summer camp at UT.

For Longhorn fans, this is not particularly good news, but it gets worse. Aghayere’s junior day visit back in February may have been his last to the 40 Acres.

“I’m going to try and make it, but if I don’t, I’m just going to go off what I saw when I went to their junior day,” Aghayere added.

Aghayere recently narrowed his list to Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, Louisville and Notre Dame. He has already visited UT and OU on junior day visits and has set up an official visit to Florida from September 7th through the 9th. He hasn’t planned any more visits at this point in time but may try to take a couple trips with Garland teammates.

“Me and Jacques (Caldwell) are planning on going to Louisville, and me and Casey (Walker) are planning on going to one of the OU camps,” Aghayere said.

Lately, it’s been tough for college coaches to get in touch with Aghayere because of his work schedule. However, he has talked to several members of the SEC coaching community recently.

“Nobody really,” Aghayere replied when asked who had been in contact the most. “I’ve been working the last few weeks, but I did talk to LSU and the Florida coaches last weekend.”

D’ Anton Lynn
D’Anton Lynn, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound athlete from Celina high in Texas did not play much as a junior, but that has not stopped college programs from taking notice of his talents.

Arkansas, Iowa, UCLA, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Penn State, Nebraska, Louisville, North Texas and Oklahoma State have already stepped up to the plate with an offer, and schools like Ohio State and USC are continuing to show extremely strong interest in the “Lone Star State” standout.

Lynn plays quarterback for Celina, but will likely be a defensive back or wide receiver on the next level. He believes on of his biggest assets is the fact that playing the QB position has allowed him to learn more about all of the positions he may play in college.

“I think playing quarterback has definitely helped me to become a more complete player,” Lynn explained. “I am able to understand the reads and what the safety or the wide receiver is supposed to do.”

“I do not really have a favorite position, I think that right now I would probably be a little more comfortable as a safety in college. Every school that has offered has offered me as a safety.”

Lynn has not had a huge opportunity to take an abundance of unofficial visits at this point in the process, but he did take a memorable trip to Columbus for the Ohio State spring game. The Buckeyes are continuing to stay in contact with Lynn, and would be one of his favorites with an offer.

“That spring game was amazing,” Lynn said as he admitted he was trying to search for a word to explain it. “I go to a lot of NFL games, and there were probably more people at the Ohio State spring game than any NFL game. It was very impressive.”

“After the game I go to take a tour with Coach (Taver) Johnson. We got to look at all of the dorm rooms, class rooms and football facilities. It was a really nice campus. I enjoyed it.”

Lynn is not ready to start narrowing down his choices at this point in the process, but still has a general timeframe for his commitment.

“I am trying to keep it open to all of my choices right now,” Lynn said. “I would like to have a decision before the start of my senior season.”

One school grabbed his attention by being the first program to offer him a scholarship. “Arkansas was the first school to really start recruiting me and they were the first school that offered me a scholarship,” Lynn informed. “They will always be high up on my list because of that.”

“They are one of the best teams in the SEC, and they I really believe that the SEC is probably the strongest conference in the country.”

When looking at Lynn’s list it is easy to see that he has opportunity all over the entire nation. Would he consider playing in the Midwest or on the West Coast?

“I could definitely see myself playing at for a school in the Midwest or on the East or West coast,” Lynn reported. “I have not really lived anywhere longer that two years, so it is not like Texas is my home. I could play anywhere and be comfortable.”

Lynn plans to attend camp sessions at Louisville, USC and Penn State in June, as well as competing in a healthy seven-on-seven schedule. In July, he reports he will try to attend six or seven more camps, but has not made the final call on exactly which ones.

Matt Branch
LSU fans have been waiting for a new commitment to break and the wait is over. Sterlington (La.) tight end Matt Branch traveled to Baton Rouge with his father on Friday so that he could tell Les Miles in person that he was ready to be a Tiger.

"Matt and his Dad are at LSU so Matt can make his verbal commitment in person" said Matt's mother, Brenda.

Branch took unofficial visits to several schools during the spring so that he could have something to compare LSU to but he knew where his allegiance lied.

"As you know, LSU has been his pick from the start but he did want to take the opportunity to visit some other schools before making his verbal commitment," said Brenda. "He also wanted to make his commitment in person which is why he's in Baton Rouge today."

LSU now has seven commitments for 2008 but Branch hopes that number will soon rise.

"Matt feels that by committing early he can help LSU as far as the recruiting process goes in our part of the state by talking it up and encouraging other LSU targets," explained Brenda. "Hopefully this will jumpstart some other early commits."

Jelani Smith
Abbeville (La.) prep linebacker Jelani Smith (6-1, 210, 4.54) becomes the University of Arkansas' first defensive pledge of the 2008 class and the sixth overall when he commits to the Razorbacks on Friday. After getting started with five offensive commits, the University of Arkansas football program got a little defensive on Friday.

That’s when Abbeville (La.) High linebacker Jelani Smith (6-1, 210, 4.7) switched his commitment from Louisiana Tech to the Razorbacks.

He did so after visiting Arkansas the past few days and leaving out on Friday morning.

"Really I started to fall in love with Arkansas when I was going through the mountains - which is not a landscape we have down here in Louisiana," Smith said. "Then I got up to the campus, go to see the facilities - which are unreal - and got to meet the coaches and just know it is the right place for me."

Smith, who has knocked his 40-yard dash time from 4.7 to 4.54 in the past year, was especially mpressed with defensive coordinator Reggie Herring.

“Coach Herring is not only the defensive coordinator, but my position coach as well and I think that is going to be big for me," Smith said. "He is a no nonsense guy that will not let you be a slacker and push you to your limits. With the experience he has had in the NFL and in college, I know I am going to get great coaching and become the best linebacker I can be."

Smith is coming off a junior season in which he had 136 tackles and recovered four fumbles after bursting on a scene as a sophomore with 108 stops.

“I think the best part of my game right now is the way I am so explosive and can run down running backs, Smith said. I have been able to make plays from sideline to sideline and feel really good about my instincts.

"I know I need to put on some more weight and strength, but I know that will come, especially once I get to Arkansas," Smith said. "I'm very excited."

He had committed to Louisiana Tech earlier this spring, but made it clear at the time that it was a soft verbal and he would continue to talk to other schools.

Smith had offers from Oklahoma State. Louisiana-Lafayette and Tulane with several bigger schools beginning to sniff around him.

"I'm starting to get more interest as more people find out about me, but I am very solid to Arkansas," Smith said. "I am definitely going to be at Arkansas. Like I said, I have fallen in love with Arkansas and my recruiting is over with.

Smith hopes to make it back for one of Arkansas' football camps this summer.

"I really would like to do that," Smith said. "Other than that I am just going to be working out to have the best senior season I can and then be the best Razorback I can."

Related Stories
Could Junior Day Visit Be His Last?
 -by  Jun 5, 2007
Aghayere Talks Favorites
 -by  Jun 8, 2007
Smith Switches Commitment
 -by  Jun 1, 2007

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DE Chancey Aghayere (profile)
TE Matt Branch (profile)
WLB Jelani Smith (profile)
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