North Recruiting Notebook
Mike Edwards
Mike Edwards
Regional Recruiting Manager
Posted Jan 26, 2009
Bob Lichtenfels


The stretch run toward National Signing Day 2009 has begun. Over these next few weeks is when things get crazy and Scout.com will recap the latest news of the week in the North Region and bring you up to speed.

Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville four-star cornerback Michael Edwards confirmed with Scout.com that he has indeed committed to Tennessee.

“Yes, I did commit to Tennessee,” Edwards said via text message.

Danville (Pa.) quarterback Andrew Shoop has been run through the ringer this recruiting season and he has experienced all ups and downs that come with it.

On Sunday, Shoop finally found a school that he is ready to call home for the next four-five years.

"I just wanted to let you know that I have committed to Lafayette," Shoop said. "I made my decision this morning. I loved it there and I felt it was the perfect fit for me."

Mahwah (N.J.) wide receiver Jamal Clay was holding out hope that some of the FBS schools would come calling, but in the end he found a great fit for his skills. "I just wanted to let you know that I committed to the University of Maine," Clay stated. We had a slew of MAC commitments last week from the state of Michigan. Ron English and the new staff at Eastern Michigan have worked fast, pulling in several verbal commitments. Defensive ends Melvin Crews (Muskegon) and Orlando McCord (Detroit King) joined linebacker Matthew Boyd (Southfield Lathrup) and versatile athlete Kelip Goodwin (South Haven) as Eagle commitments all from the state of Michigan. Not to be outdone, Bowling Green secured a verbal commitment from one of Michigan's best, Adrian defensive end Dylan Farrington.

Michigan State pulled in a verbal commitment from Troy placekicker Kevin Muma, who cited head coach Mark Dantonio as a primary reason for his decision.

“He was very, very honest all the time,” Muma told GoSpartans.net's Joe Torok. “He told me exactly what the situation was and he built a trust with me no other coach has had. I think I can really trust him and I really like that in a coach.”

The junior days have started and several in the Midwest drew some big names. Notre Dame hosted a number of top recruits and offered a few in the process. Loyola Academy (Ill.) defensive end Chance Carter, Proviso West wide receiver Kyle Prater and South Bend (Ind.) Clay wide receiver Daniel Smith all received offers. Smith will announce his college decision today at 3pm at his school.

Ohio State and Michigan are known for their rivalry on the gridiron, but the Buckeyes and Wolverines often go head to head for recruits too. One junior who fits into that category is Inkster (Mich.) quarterback Devin Gardner. Garnder, a member of Scout.com's initial top 100 for 2010, was at the Wolverines' basketball game against Northwestern on Saturday and down in Columbus for junior day on Sunday. He did not receive an offer from the Buckeyes, but one could be forthcoming. Also attending the Michigan-Northwestern tilt was Detroit Southeastern defensive end William Gholston, who recently picked up offers from Miami-FL and Florida in addition to his standing offers from Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

Another junior making a lot of noise is Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edwards defensive back Latwan Anderson. Anderson received his first offers recently, when Michigan State, Iowa and Cincinnati all extended them. Anderson, who could play wide receiver as well at the next level, told Scout.com he is also interested in Ohio State and Illinois among others.

Steve Marck made the trip from Fairless Hills, Pa., to officially visit Miami(OH) this weekend and made his commitment to the RedHawks during the trip. He will now get to play with his brother C.J. Marck who recently transferred from Connecticut and join a new coaching staff with Mike Haywood. The 6-foot-3.5, 225-pound tight end from Pennsbury High School talked with Scout about his decision.

“I committed to Miami this weekend,” Marck stated. “It’s funny because when you drove up from Dayton to the campus there is this one road with fields around it and I started to get a little bit worried. Then we get to the end of the road and this whole city appears out of no where. It was just really cool as I liked the campus a lot once I got on there.”

“I got to spend a good amount of time with the new coaching staff and get to know Head Coach Mike Haywood,” Marck explained. “He’s a guy that I like a lot. He’s very knowledgeable and can also kick back and relax a bit with you. I’ll also have my older brother with me up there and I am excited to get to play on the same team as him. Everything just felt right about the school, so it really wasn’t hard for me to make my decision.”

Khalil Wilkes, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive guard from St. Peter’s Prep School in New Jersey gave his verbal commitment to Stanford on Friday and talked to Scout.com after today after letting the other coaches know about his decision.

“I picked Stanford because I think it will be best for my future,” Wilkes said. “When I talked to Head Coach Jim Harbaugh he talked to me about my college decision being a 40-year decision, not a four-year decision and I believe in that. I know this will be better for not only me, but my family as well over a lifetime. I can do a lot more with a Stanford degree even though I was being recruited by some other great academic schools.”

“When I talked to Shayne Skov and Terrence Stephens I felt I met guys just like me that were striving to do big things not only on the football field, but also academically in the future and that made me very comfortable,” Wilkes explained. “Then I got to know Coach Harbaugh well and found that I liked the way the schemes worked offensively and the role I would fit in.”

“When I took my first visit there I loved it and was ready to go, but on my second visit I really ended up knowing that was the end for me. I got to talk to all of the commits and they were all great guys with visions for their future similar to mine and I just knew I fit best with Stanford.”

Wake Forest, Boston College, Stanford, Duke and Maryland have all sent written offers to Aramide Olaniyan, a 6-foot-1.5, 195-pound linebacker from Woodberry Forest School and more could be coming soon according to the Bowie, Md., native.

“I was really excited about the Maryland offer because I’m from Bowie and have always followed Maryland and been a huge fan of the program,” Olaniyan said. “They are a great school and the coaches are all very cool, especially the defensive staff who I love.”

“Wake Forest offered as well and I’ll be there on February 8th for a visit,” Olaniyan explained. “They have told me that I remind them a lot of Aaron Curry in terms of the size he came into Wake Forest at and that’s a big compliment to be mentioned in the same sentence as a player of his caliber. They have an outstanding linebacker coach and I’m just excited to get there for junior day right now.”

“Duke also offered and they’re an amazing school that my parents also really love. I enjoy talking to the coaching staff a lot and am really looking forward to meeting Head Coach David Cutcliffe when I go to junior day.”

State College High School burner Alex Kenney picked up a scholarship offer from Pittsburgh on Thursday and now holds offers from the Panthers, Illinois, Boston College, Penn State, Stanford and Virginia. The 6-foot, 190-pound wide receiver has been hearing from plenty of other programs so far as well, including Notre Dame, Tennessee, Oregon and Virginia Tech.

The Pittsburgh Panthers landed a big-time recruit this week when Bernardo Nunez, a three-star defensive end from Hoboken High School gave a verbal commitment to play for the Panthers. We caught up with the 6-foot-3, 235-pound defensive lineman after the staff left his house and he told us why Pitt was his school of choice.

“I just committed to Pitt tonight when Coach Jeff Hafley and Coach Greg Gattuso were in my home speaking with me and my family,” Nunez said. “They did a great job explaining the academic side of things to my parents and making them comfortable with me going out there to play. By the end of the conversation you could see my mom and dad were both very happy with my decision. They just really liked what they had to hear.”

“I think the biggest reason I committed to Pittsburgh was that I always felt at home on campus there,” Nunez explained. “The city of Pittsburgh actually isn’t really that different than Hoboken, so I felt comfortable in that setting. I also clicked really quickly with the players on the team and felt like part of the crew from day one. The coaching staff was also great, treating me like a member of the Pitt family.”

Salisbury, Conn., native J. Forrest West will be traveling all the way to Colorado for his college career and at this point the 6-foot-2, 225-pound pass rusher couldn’t be happier with his decision to join Head Coach Dan Hawkins and the rest of the Buffalo family.

“It was a great visit,” West said. “When I first got there they had some academic presentations for us to watch and we got to talk to a lot of the tutors and meet with some professors. They talked a lot about the transition for high school seniors into college academically and showed how they support us. After that I went to see the business building which was really nice and talked to a professor there about my majors which will be finance or business administration.”

“After that I hung out with the players and my host Marques Herrod all night and we just met a ton of people on campus which made me extremely comfortable up there really fast,” West explained. “I just clicked immediately with the group up there and felt great about going to school there.”

“Before I left Head Coach Dan Hawkins brought me into his office with the defensive line coach and defensive coordinator and I told them I was committing to Colorado right there,” West stated. “They were all very excited; although I’m pretty sure they already knew from the vibes I was giving off during the trip.” Iowa picked up four new commitments this weekend as athlete Micah Hyde pulled the trigger after picking up a scholarship offer during his official visit with the Hawkeye’s. Hyde (Fostoria/Ohio) a 6-foot-0, 175-pound athlete will bring speed to the Hawkeye’s defense as he’ll be used as a cornerback.

The Hawkeyes also landed Macon (Ill.) Meridian tight end Dakota Getz and Clinton (Iowa) offensive tackle Matt Murphy. West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley tight end Connor Boffeli switched from Iowa State to the Hawkeyes.

Michigan State pulled in offensive lineman Henry Conway (Shaker Heights/Ohio). The 6-foot-6, 300-pound Conway picked the Spartans over Boston College and Cincinnati.

Miami (Ohio) picked up a few more verbal commitments this weekend but none bigger than that of quarterback Austin Boucher (Kettering/Ohio/Alter). Boucher had been a verbal to Toledo, but opened up the door after a coaching change in the Rockets program. Miami was quick to offer Austin and his brother Collin Boucher and despite an outside chance Ohio State would have offered Austin pulled the trigger with Miami after his official visit.

The RedHawks also picked up defensive end Anthony Shoemaker (Cincinnati/Ohio/Princeton) during the weekend. Shoemaker also had an official visit scheduled with Syracuse next weekend but cancelled it when he committed to Miami.

Scout.com has learned from several sources that Luke Swift (Center Grove/Ind.) has also issued his verbal commitment with Miami this weekend.

Akron picked up a couple of commitments as defensive end David Anderson (Cincinnati/Ohio/Purcell Marian) gave the Zips his commitment joining quarterback Patrick Nicely (Willoughby/Ohio/South).

Ball State picked up three commitments this weekend as offensive lineman Matthew Page (East Chicago/Ind./Central) joined a pair of Cleveland Glenville High School (Ohio) products in Travis Freeman and Theon Dixon.

Bowling Green picked up a verbal commitment from wide receiver Jordan Hopgood (Cincinnati/Ohio/Princeton) after his official visit last weekend.

Boston College pulled in kicker Nate Freese (Strongsville/Ohio) this weekend. Freese held offers from Air Force, Toledo and Kansas. The Eagles also picked up three-star running back Rolandan Finch (Louisville/Ky./St. Xavier) over home state Kentucky.

Western Kentucky picked up a big home state prospect as Courtney Dalcourt (Franklin/Ky./Simpson) pledged WKU. Dalcourt had several programs working hard to get his signature on signing day.

Louisville picked up Roy Philon (Lexington/Ky./Bryan Station) as a verbal commitment. The 6-foot-2, 270-pound Philon should line up at defensive end for the Cardinals.

Indiana held on as (Cincinnati/Ohio/Colerain) product Damon Sims listened to other offers. Sims issued his commitment following his official visit only to hold back and listen to new offer from West Virginia. Sims passed on taking an official visit to Morgantown and reconfirmed his commitment to Indiana.



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