By Stephen Spiewak
With school out for the summer and team camps in full swing, recruiting across the country is picking up. Nowhere is that more evident than at the University of Tennessee, which has landed a number of prized recruits in recent weeks.
The Volunteers recently received a verbal commitment from highly-touted California quarterback Josh Nunes. The 6-foot-3 Upland signal caller joins Bryce Petty from Midlothian (Texas), to satisfy Tennessee’s quarterback needs for the class of 2009.
Nunes’ commitment comes on the heels of the Vols garnering several key verbals. Tennessee managed to pluck Gaither (Fla.) running back Jarvis Giles out of the Sunshine State. They also nabbed St. Peter’s Prep (N.J.) defensive back Nyshier Oliver to add to a recruiting class that already featured Philadelphia star receiver Je’Ron Stokes and Stonewall Jackson (Va.) athlete Damien Thigpen among others.
The jewel of Tennessee’s recruiting class could be in-state target Marlon Brown, of Harding Academy in Memphis. Brown, a 6-5 wide receiver, would be an enormous addition for Phillip Fulmer, and head basketball coach Bruce Pearl would likely welcome Brown with open arms, as well.
Clemson is another school off to a fast start with the Class of 2009. The Tigers signed an impressive group last February – highlighted by Bamberg-Ehrhardt (S.C.) star defensive end DaQuan Bowers. The Palmetto State player of the year enrolled early, as did Bartram Trail (Fla.) quarterback Kyle Parker.
Clemson’s momentum has carried into this spring. Craig Loston, a 6-2 safety from Texas’ Aldine Eisenhower High School, committed to the Tigers and may follow Bowers’ lead by graduating in December and enrolling early.
Former Independence star Devonte Holloman is also heading to Clemson. He recently announced he’ll be moving to South Carolina and playing his senior season at South Pointe (S.C.). He and Loston give the Tigers two of the nation’s best secondary prospects.
Further down the line, Clemson has some work to do. In-state stud running back Marcus Lattimore, who will be a junior at Byrnes (S.C.) in the fall, seems to be leaning toward rival South Carolina.
Another option for Clemson could be fellow 2010 running back Mustafa Green, out of Irmo High School. Lattimore probably has the slight edge over Green, but many in South Carolina think the two are 1 and 1A when it comes to the state’s young rushers.
The class of 2011 in South Carolina could have even more top-shelf talent. Quarterbacks Everett Golson (Myrtle Beach) and Robert Smith (Woodland), and wide receiver Cheron Peake all had impressive freshman seasons and could be huge recruits down the road.
Rich Get Richer?
Georgia will be led this season by talented junior quarterback Matthew Stafford. Next fall, the Bulldogs welcome two of the nation’s top quarterback recruits, Oconee County’s (Ga.) Zach Mettenberg and Plant’s (Fla.) Aaron Murray.
And more talent behind center could be in the pipeline. According to sources close to the situation, it appears that Georgia may be out to an early lead the recruitment of Oscar Smith (Va.) star quarterback Phillips Sims.
Sims has started for the Virginia power since his freshman season. He is on pace to challenge Ronald Curry’s state records for passing yards and touchdowns. He will only be a junior in the fall.
Malcolm in the Middle
Oaks Christian rising junior Malcolm Jones has made a name for himself.
The younger brother of former Lion Marshall Jones, Malcolm gave fans a glimpse of the future in the 2006 Division III state championship bowl game.
While many predicted a blow out, Cardinal Newman gave Oaks Christian all it could handle. The younger Jones had a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown to help the Lions pull out the win.
Jones followed up with an outstanding sophomore campaign, rushing for 25 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards. He also excels at linebacker, the position he may play in college.
Schools from across the country are trying to lure Jones, including USC and Notre Dame.
Jones has ties to both schools. Older brother Marshall is a safety for the Trojans. Former teammate Jimmy Clausen is the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish.
While Georgia, Florida, Boise State and others are in the mix, it could be a tug of war between older brother Marshall – along with Pete Carroll – and Charlie Weis and Clausen, who no doubt would love to reunite with Malcolm.
Holding Down the Fortt
Khairi Fortt of Stamford High School in Connecticut is one of the top prospects in the Northeast and should be a national level prospect by the time he’s a senior.
The 6-3 Fortt has been in contact with schools in the Big East, Big 10, ACC and SEC.
Although is not a usual stop on recruiters’ paths, it should receive a lot of traffic from colleges hoping to land one of the top defensive ends in the class of 2010.
Things Heating Up for Horton
As reported previously by MaxPreps, USC leads for rising junior wide receiver Markeith Ambles out of Henry County (Ga.).
Julian Horton, another Georgia wide receiver from the class of 2010, is also being targeted by Troy. However, it’s the UCLA Bruins, not the USC Trojans, who have made a good impression with the Greater Atlanta Christian (Ga.) standout. Alabama and Georgia are also involved.
Horton is the teammate of Stephen Atwater, a talented defensive back, who’s also drawn interest from SEC schools. His father, Steve, was a star safety for the Denver Broncos from 1989 to 1998 and finished his career in 1999 with the New York Jets.