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April 19, 2006

Texas tidbits: Quarterbacks leaving home

The state of Texas has several top quarterback prospects in the class of 2007, but many of those signal-callers may not choose to keep their playing days in-state.

Aside from athletes such as Brandon Williams and John Chiles, classic quarterbacks from border to border are considering their out-of-state options. San Antonio Churchill quarterback Nick Fanuzzi was first in giving his commitment to a distant program when he gave the Miami Hurricanes his pledge.

Fanuzzi committed before any in-state offers came his way, but the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder also didn't mind leaving the Lone Star state with a very early decision.

"I've been down there growing up," Fanuzzi said about Miami. "My grandfather had a condo in the Keys. I'd go down and get a feel for Miami. I've had a very good comfort level."

Beaumont (Texas) Westbrook dual-threat quarterback Joe Chaisson has a family member who attends Texas A&M, but has yet to pickup an offer from the Aggies. His only in-state offer at this point is Baylor.

However, out-of-state teams such as Tennessee an Oklahoma have peaked his interest. His first cousin, Kelvin Chaisson ended his recruiting process several years ago with a commitment to the Sooners.

"He's been trying to recruit me for a while," Chaisson said. "He had told me all these great things and I saw what he was talking about when I was there."

One of the bigger stories around the state has been about Rivals100 gunslinger Ryan Mallett. Since the Longhorns received commitments from two future quarterbacks, the 6-foot-7, 235-pounder has turned his attention elsewhere.

Michigan and Florida State are just two teams that he's been linked to when talking about leaders.

Another possible out-of-state quarterback commitment could happen with Brenham quarterback Jarrett Lee. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has high interest in both Texas A&M and Texas Tech (with offers in hand from both), but his recent trip to Nebraska has him thinking about a distant college career.

"Honestly, it took three hours to get from Houston to Omaha," Lee said. "Other than getting on a plane and spending money on a ticket, it wasn't that bad."

Lee's five leaders are a good mix of in-state and out-of-state programs including the Huskers along with A&M, TCU, Arizona, and Oklahoma.

Austin (Texas) Westlake quarterback Nick Foles holds offers from Duke and Ole Miss. Allen, Texas quarterback Nathan Dick has high interest in Arkansas with his brother, Casey Dick, there.

Lemon has fresh ties to Cowboys

It wasn't too long ago that Houston Yates running back Eli Lemon watched his brother, Orie Lemon, sign his letter of intent to Oklahoma State. Now, the younger Lemon definitely has OSU in good position with a family connection to the school.

"Yes sir, [Orie] wants me to end up there too so we can be together," Lemon said about his brother.

OSU is not only his favorite but is the school recruiting him the hardest at this time according to the talented runner. He is being recruited by Cowboy assistant Gunter Brewer who landed the elder Lemon and top Houston product Terrance Anderson.

Lemon also holds an offer from Houston.

Stephens still committed to Aggies, for now

The door doesn't look completely shut on the Longhorns for Texas A&M linebacker commit Derrick Stephens.

Though he told Rivals.com recently that he's not "looking around," it appears that Texas is still slightly in the picture.

"I wouldn't phrase it like that," Stephen said. "I'm committed to Texas A&M, that's where I want to go, and but in this process you just have to stop and think a little bit. I would say at this point, I'm pretty sure about it (A&M)."

UT appears to be still a bit on his mind even though he doesn't have any plans of making any other visits.

"It's more about just being a fan of Texas than anything," he said.

It looks like Aggie fans don't have anything to worry about with Stephens for the time being.

Setting them up, knocking them down

It's hard to believe that in only April, there are only three in-state prospects with Texas offers that have yet to commit. With the recent commitment of Tray Allen this past week, only Richetti Jones, Lennon Creer, and Derrick Stephens hold Horn offers.

Jones, who was originally supposed to announce with Allen, told the latest Longhorn commit that he wants to take some visits and to proceed on without him. Though Richetti still talks highly of Texas, many believe that he's still somewhat open to all other possibilities.

Creer recently took in the Oklahoma spring game and has the Sooners in his top four with Texas, LSU, and Miami. Though the Horns still look like the team to beat, many expected Creer to be committed by now and set for Austin. Many wonder how long UT will wait on his decision.

Stephens continues to talk about Texas, but says that, at this time, he is committed to Texas A&M and plans to stay that way.

Allen's commitment to Texas also brought with it an interesting tidbit. The Horns have offered six offensive linemen and have received commitments from all six.

Things seem to be moving along quite well for the defending National Champions.

Northwestern going to the Lone Star state, again

Big 12 schools aren't the only ones that consistently make the state of Texas a focus on the recruiting trail. In the 2006 class, Northwestern hauled in three commitments from the state including quarterback Joe Mauro, offensive center Connor Smith, and safety Justan Vaughn.

The Wildcats have already sent several offers to Lone Star products. Two recent recipients include Houston running backs Jack Freeman and Marcus Mendoza.

La Porte, Texas fullback Quentin Castille also holds an offer.

Mendoza has Northwestern in his top five while Freeman and Castille hold the Big Ten team high as well considering the Wildcats were the first to send an offer their way.

Houston wide receiver Roger Holland also has good things to say about the out-of-state program.

"We run a spread offense at Cy Falls," Holland said. "I can really see where I fit into Northwestern's offense."

Don't be surprised to see Texans leaving for the distant program in the 2007 class like they have in years past.

NIKE Camp coming to Texas

Past performers such as Vince Young, Wes Simms, Marcus Spears, and Drew Tate have made a name for themselves at the NIKE Training Camp in the Lone Star state. So, it's not surprising that this weekend's event could be one of the biggest so far in the country both by quality and quantity.

As the NIKE Training Camp heads to College Station, Texas this weekend, top players at almost every position are planning to be on hand. Quarterbacks Joe Chaisson, Jarrett Lee, Brock Mansion, and G.J. Kinne are just a few signal caller expected to be on hand for the camp and the Elite 11 workout following.

Running backs like speedster Jamarion Cavness, who recently committed to TCU, Joseph Reese, Marcus Mendoza, Eli Lemon, Jack Freeman and others are planning to make the trip.

Wide receivers won't be short on talent either. Lufkin's Dez Bryant, Round Rock's James Kirkendoll, Cedar Hill's William Cole, and possibly Rivals100 star Terrance Toliver are planning to head to College Station.

Offensive and defensive lineman will be lead by heavily recruited prospects such as Jarvis Jones, Jonathan Rush, Lonnie Edwards, Mickey Okafor, and Russell Carter. Rivals100 defensive end Richetti Jones said early this week he's also planning on making the trip.

Defensive backs such as Derrius Bell, Shawn Sullivan, Curtis Thomas, Tejay Johnson, Lionel Smith, and James Thomas are all expected to be on hand for the event among several others.

Athlete Billy Chavis is not sure where he'll work out position-wise though he projects all over the field. Several other athlete prospects like Chavis including Christian Scott or Ron Brooks are possibilities for Saturday's camp.

Stay tuned to StudentSportsFootball.com for the updates from this weekend and all the latest on the NIKE Training Camp in College Station.


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