West Recruiting Notebook
Vontaze Burfict
Vontaze Burfict
West Recruiting Manager
Posted Jan 22, 2009


There are more big visits on tap for the weekend, while a surprising commitment is made for a Pac-10 school, and a pair of WAC commits change it up for the Mountain West and Pac-10, this week in the West...


Vontaze Burfict

It will be another big weekend of official visits for schools in the West.  USC and Washington will be hosting the largest contingent from the Western schools.

The headliners at USC include Vontaze Burfict, the #1-ranked middle linebacker in the country out of Corona (Calif.) Centennial.  Burfict committed to the Trojans early in the process but last weekend took an official visit to Arizona State and the Sun Devils are making a strong bid for Burfict's services.  But the Trojans have the coveted final visit and this weekend could seal the deal for Burfict.

USC will also be hosting four more commits in Patrick Hall, from Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure, Mt. SAC kicker Jacob Harfman, Los Angeles (Calif.) Jordan defensive end James Boyd and Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral athlete Randall Carroll.  The four-star Carroll has been on three official visits already, tripping to Cal, Arizona State and UCLA and will visit Oklahoma next weekend but USC will try to secure him this weekend.  Boyd, a four-star defensive end, visited Oregon State last weekend and will visit Washington at the end of the month

Washington, meanwhile, had a big recruiting weekend last week and will follow up with another starting Friday.  Expected to be in Seattle include committed tight end Marlion Barnett from Corona (Calif.) Santiago and West Seattle cornerback Aaron Grymes.  The newest verbal to the Huskies is defensive end Kimo Makaula from Punahou (Hawaii).  The longtime commit to the Warriors switched his commitment to the Huskies earlier this week.  Washington will host another soft verbal to Hawaii, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly defensive end Iuta Tepa, a soft verbal to UCLA in Mt. SAC lineman Eddie Williams and their own soft verbal, Semisi Tokolahi, who committed to Washington last month but is still taking other visits.  From the uncommitted ranks, Utah native L.T. Filiaga and Harbor City Narbonne linebacker Tim Tucker are expected this weekend.

Colorado will be hosting a pair of West Coasters in Las Flores (Calif.) Tesoro offensive tackle Evan Finkenberg and Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne.  Kahuku teammates Aulola Tonga and Jray Galea'i will be visiting homestate Hawaii this weekend.  Compton (Calif.) defensive tackle Justin Brown was supposed to visit Oregon this weekend but that has been moved to a midweek visit next week, and he'll visit Nebraska the day after.  Redlands (Calif.) East Valley safety Gary Walker will visit Oregon State.

Washington State will be hosting three visitors, including Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood offensive lineman Percy Taumoelau, Butte (Calif.) CC defensive end Brandon Rankin and Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill safety Johnny Millard, the son of former Washington State and NFL star Keith Millard.




Michael Philipp

The biggest news out West came in the form of Michael Philipp, the four-star, US Army All-American offensive lineman from San Bernardino (Calif.) Arroyo Valley.

Philipp surprised just about everyone, but himself, when he committed to Oregon State on Monday following an official visit to Corvallis.

"The coaches were genuine and I was real comfortable with the players. It was the place where I felt the most comfortable,” said Philipp.

When Philipp found out on his visit to Stanford that he was admitted into school, most felt Palo Alto would be his destination.  But Philipp had always maintained that he would take his five official visits then find the best fit for him.  That turned out to be Oregon State.

 “I’m solid to Oregon State. I’m ready to sign. It feels good to put an end to it all. I wont have all the coaches calling. I appreciate what all of the coaches did for me. But I just felt like Oregon State is the best place and I’m confident I made the right decision.”


 

Desmond Trufant

New Washington coach Steve Sarkisian and the Huskies hosted their first big recruiting weekend and the results were pretty encouraging in Seattle.

Washington received commitments from Tacoma (Wash.) Wilson cornerback Desmond Trufant, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco safety Will Shamburger and Tustin (Calif.) defensive tackle Chris Robinson

Meanwhile, Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West safety Nathan Fellner firmed up his commitment to the Huskies on his official visit.

Then, to further bolster things, Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou defensive end Kimo Makaula, a longtime verbal to Hawaii, switched it up and pledged to the Huskies.

"He decided to commit and accept and offer from the University of Washington," Kimo Sr. told Dawgman.com. "They were always on his radar, over the past year, but I guess with all the coaching changes and all that, they weren’t able to commit to my son. Now that they have the new coaches in, coach (Steve) Sarkisian, coach (Nick) Holt and coach (Jim) Michalczik they wanted my son to come over and he was excited to be a part of it.

 




Jamaal Burrell

Oregon landed a couple of commitments from the Golden State this week, one on each side of the ball.

Piedmont (Calif.) defensive end Keaton Arden was the first of the California natives to commit, choosing the Ducks on Monday after taking his official visit to Eugene.  He comes from the same high school as Oregon defensive lineman Tonio Cellotto. 

 I had no idea they would offer me,” said Arden. “I thought it would be like a week after. It was shocking. I wasn’t going up there expecting them to give it to me. It was pretty exciting. The linebackers coach said he sees me playing linebacker as well as defensive end. I’m 6-5, 220, but I’d like to add another 15-20 pounds by summer.”

Then later in the week, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez offensive lineman Jamaal Burrell committed to the Ducks.

"Jamaal felt comfortable with the coaches, the players and the school," said his uncle, Vada Boykins, a coach at Dominguez.


 

Kevin Greene
San Francisco (Calif.) Sacred Heart Cathedral defensive end Kevin Greene, may be new to football, but he knows a good program when he sees one.

And Greene will be joining one of the best, committing to USC at the end of his official visit.

“I told Coach Carroll (Sunday) that I want to commit,” Greene told SCPlaybook.com. “USC is where I want to go. Coach Carroll said ‘hold the phone everybody, I have an announcement to make. We have a new member of the Trojan Family.”

Greene has only played football for two seasons, having been a standout hoopster for the Irish.  But with his size and athleticism, has blossomed into a bigtime prospect.

His official visit sealed the deal.

"It was great to get a chance to see USC and everything that they have to offer as a school,” Greene told SCPlaybook.com. “I had only been down there once before and only saw the practice field, so just to get to see the school and everything was great.”

 




Gregory Smith

Perris (Calif.) Citrus Hill athlete Gregory Smith will get to realize his dream of playing in the Pac-10, after he committed to Arizona State.

"I'm real excited about it," said Smith. "The environment, and how they treated me, was what really stood out to me."

A versatile two-way threat, Smith said his offer came as an athlete, with his position to be sorted out later.

"They offered me as an athlete, so I could play tight end, fullback, d-end or linebacker," said Smith.

 

 


 

Stanjarivus McKay

Long Beach (Calif.) Poly safety Stanjarivus McKay (6-2, 200) finally went public with his commitment to UCLA, which he made over the weekend on his official visit.

“I just wanted to use this week to talk to all of the coaches of the other schools and let them know I was going to UCLA,” said McKay. “Colorado was the hardest to tell because I really liked them. But UCLA is my dream school and always my top school.”

McKay had visited Colorado during the fall, and the Buffs were one of the first to offer McKay. But when the Bruins offered him this month, then scrapped an initial plan to greyshirt him, it was clear to him that Westwood would be his destination.

“I talked to Coach (Rick) Neuheisel (Wednesday) and just let him know that I was telling everyone now and that I’m going to UCLA,” said McKay. “I talked to Coach (Reggie) Moore (Tuesday) and he’s excited that I’m coming.”

 


 

Austyn Carta-Samuels

Other News and Notes from out West

-Layton (Utah) tight end Thomas Bryson committed to BYU.

-San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels decommitted from San Jose State and committed to Wyoming.

-La Mesa (Calif.) Helix defensive tackle Anthony Larceval committed to San Jose State.

-Gardena (Calif.) Serra defensive tackle Sione Tuihalamaka committed to Arizona.

-Glendale (Ariz.) Cactus offensive lineman Zach Minter is headed to Montana State.

-Air Force landed a trio of commitments from Arizona natives, getting Lake Havasu running back Brent Michaels, Gilbert offensive tackle Drew Swartz and North Canyon cornerback Roland Pierce

 


Scout.com Southwest Recruiting Analyst Jason Jewell & Northwest Recruiting Analyst Chris Fetters contributed to this report



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