February 6, 2007

National recruiting notebook: Toliver can't wait

Even though National Signing Day is still several hours away, there has been plenty of news in the recruiting world one day before the nation's top prospects ink their letters of intent.

Two five-star prospects who were expected to make their big announcements on Wednesday, receiver Terrance Toliver and running back Noel Devine, went ahead and pulled the trigger one day early.

Toliver, the 6-foot-4, 185-pounder from Hempstead, Texas, apparently couldn't wait for the Wednesday press conference at his high school. The nation's No. 2 wide receiver went ahead and let the LSU coaching staff know he was going to be a Tiger.

"Yes, I did commit to LSU," Toliver said earlier today. "It was where my heart has been forever. Both of them (Florida and LSU) are two good schools, but I decided that LSU needed me more than Florida did.

"(LSU) Coach (Larry) Porter said he didn't know whether to cry or just be proud."

Devine, one of the most publicized running backs in the country, was reportedly down to West Virginia, Florida State, and Alabama. The five-star prospect wasn't supposed to have an announcement at all this week and was expected to take a late trip to Florida State.

That all changed when Devine made a surprise commitment to West Virginia on Tuesday.

"He verbally committed today," Devine's coach, James Iandoli, said. "Unless something happens, I plan on him signing with the Mountaineers. Upon speaking with him - it's West Virginia."

Iandoli said even though Devine has committed, the No. 15 prospect in the country still has work to do in order to be academically qualified.

This is the second five-star running back that WVU has landed. Jason Gwaltney committed to the Mountaineers in the class of 2005.

Crimson Tide keeps Hoover duo on board

Good news arrived Tuesday when Alabama found out that Hoover High prospects Kerry Murphy and Josh Chapman were both committing to the Crimson Tide.

Murphy, the Rivals100 defensive tackle, had been committed to Alabama since Jan. 14. He was coach Nick Saban's first Tide commitment. However, a late visit to Miami on Feb. 2 had Murphy rethinking his decision. The No. 4 rated defensive tackle in the country, Murphy solidified his intentions to the Tide on Tuesday.

Murphy's high school teammate, fellow defensive tackle Josh Chapman, committed to Auburn in July. He was originally offered a grayshirt opportunity by the previous Tide staff. However, Saban and the new coaching staff offered him a scholarship that he accepted.

McKnight prepares for announcement

Five-star running back Joe McKnight relaxed this past weekend as he waited for his Signing Day announcement.

After official visits to Ole Miss, LSU and USC, the nation's top running back will make his announcement on ESPNU at noon (Eastern). Sources close to McKnight say that there isn't any clear leader between the three schools. However, many people believe the Tigers and Trojans are ahead of the Rebels.

One source close to the McKnight situation says that the star running back's college choice could go down as the "best held secret in the history of Louisiana recruiting."

LSU coach Les Miles, USC coach Pete Carroll, and Ole Miss coach Frank Wilson all visited McKnight this week.

Huskers lose four-star commitment

Late Monday evening, KSAT-TV in San Antonio reported during their 10 p.m. sportscast that four-star linebacker Travis Lewis had withdrawn his commitment from Nebraska.

Lewis' coach, Jimmy Ramos, confirmed those reports. According to Lewis' sister, Oklahoma looks like his new choice.

Lewis is rated as the nation's No. 20 outside linebacker prospect in the country. He originally committed to Nebraska on Nov. 20.

Van Dyke expected to be a Hurricane

Former Florida commitment and four-star athlete Demarcus VanDyke told his coach this morning that he'll be heading to Miami.

VanDyke, a Rivals250 member and the nation's No. 16 athlete, originally committed to Florida in December. However, the Miami (Fla.) Pace prospect said that he was going to have a "Signing Day shocker." VanDyke's coach, Joe Zaccheo, said that all signs pointed to VanDyke signing with Miami.

"He told me this morning that it's Miami," Zaccheo said. "He told Florida that, too. I got a call from the Florida coaches yesterday and they said the mom told them he's going to Miami."

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