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June 1, 2006

Maddox, Trattou set to announce

Two very highly sought-after prospects are making their announcements as to where they'll be heading to college Friday.

Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep's heralded defensive end Justin Trattou and Anderson (S.C.) T.L. Hanna star running back Brian Maddox will let everyone know their college choices Friday. Maddox will announce his decision at 6 p.m. EST at his high school. Trattou will make his pick at 3:30 p.m. EST on cable television.

Maddox said Thursday that he has his list narrowed down to five teams South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Florida and Florida State. The 6-foot, 215-pounder says that all five are even leading up to his announcement.

Both Carolina schools definitely have been under consideration for some time with the talented runner.

"I've been to North Carolina once before, but this time I got to meet a lot more of the coaches and people around the program," Maddox said about his recent trip to UNC. "They felt like I could play right away.

"Coach Robert Gillespie (South Carolina) would be my position coach there and he's a great person that I know I can trust. I've built a great relationship with him. Also, it's close to home and they have great in-state fan support."

Virginia Tech was another recent visit for Gillespie and he said that he "liked it a lot."

"They told me they really need running backs, and that they thought I could play early if I came there," Maddox said.

Farrell's Forecast
Two top players are set to make their college announcements on Friday, June 2. Anderson (S.C.) T.L. Hanna running back Brian Maddox and Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep defensive end Justin Trattou, both clear candidates for the soon-to-be-named Rivals250, are ready to end the process. And while Trattou's decision is far from suspenseful, figuring out where Maddox will go has been a challenge.

Trattou, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound strongside defensive end, has been linked with Notre Dame for months and has likely been a silent commitment for weeks. His final list includes the Irish, Penn State, Ohio State and Boston College, but Trattou and family have been hooked on South Bend since the spring game according to sources. Trattou is expected to be the third and last piece of the New Jersey puzzle for Charlie Weis and his staff, joining wide receiver Duval Kamara and tight end Mike Ragone. Trattou is solid against the run and a pretty good pass rusher, but he has the frame to grow into a defensive tackle if needed as well. Trattou's commitment will complete the message Weis wants to send to others who recruit his home state of New Jersey. That message? This is my house.

Forecast: Notre Dame
Confidence Level: High

Maddox is a big back at 6-foot-0 and 215 pounds but he has excellent quickness and straight-line speed. He's also very powerful and can wear down a defense and move the chains. Earlier this week he looked to be a lock for South Carolina over his other top schools, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. However, UNC has made a strong push recently and his final decision will be a tough one. The guess here is that the Tar Heels will continue their recruiting momentum and steal Maddox away from his home state. The depth chart seems favorable and UNC is selling him on the idea of becoming the next Ronnie McGill in their offense.

The addition of Maddox to a recruiting class that already includes five-star wide receiver Dwight Jones and top quarterback Mike Paulus gets John Bunting off to the best recruiting start at UNC since his arrival.

Forecast: North Carolina
Confidence Level: Medium
-- Rivals.com National Analyst Mike Farrell

The Florida schools are also schools that the highly touted running back has been looking at seriously and has a lot of interest in.

"Both of them have great facilities and they both play big-time football," Maddox said. "I like the running back coaches at both places. They've both been great to me during this process."

Maddox rushed for 1,353 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior. On defense, he picked up two interceptions while totaling 36 tackles.

New Jersey defensive lineman Trattou also has things somewhat narrowed down going into his decision on Friday. The top three teams left on the board appear to be Penn State, Ohio State, and Notre Dame.

While Trattou feels that all three schools offer great education and competition for national championships, he likes each of them for different reasons.

The Irish have not only recruited great players over the last few years, but Trattou has taken notice of the ones they've picked up from his home state.

"It's always good when a school is getting great players," Trattou said. "It builds a basis for my class. It's a big-time place. I talked to all of the coaches. I really think highly of all of them."

Penn State is a team that Trattou also visited for a junior day. There he got to see what kind of team he possibly could be playing with and came away impressed with what he saw.

"I was able to attend a practice scrimmage where the offense went against the defense," Trattou said. "It was pretty cool. They look like they have a real tough team and it seemed like all of the guys were having a lot of fun out there."

Ohio State is a team that has been less talked about by Trattou, but it appears they have set themselves in the top group along with his other two favorites. His only visit there was several years ago for a basketball tournament. Apparently that trip has kept the Buckeyes in the race.

Trattou registered 96 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior. That earned him first-team all-county, all-league, and all-state honors as a junior.

Stay tuned to Rivals.com for the latest on these two top players and their commitments Friday.

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