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January 2, 2009
UA recruiting notes: Loston gets ball rolling
With six announcements scheduled to take place at Sunday's Under Armour All-American Game, the excitement kicked off on Friday with perhaps the least surprising of the bunch.
Aldine (Texas) Eisenhower safety Craig Loston, the No. 1 safety prospect in the country, committed during the taping of the skills competition. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound five-star prospect made known what many had assumed for quite some time when he gave his verbal to LSU over Texas A&M, Alabama and Oregon. It is the third commitment for Loston, who has previously been committed to both Texas A&M and Clemson.
Despite Loston saying that this was his final decision, he is still planning to officially visit Alabama next weekend.
SIX MORE SET TO ANNOUNCE
Six other prospects are scheduled to announce their commitments during Sunday's live game broadcast. They include the Sanford (Fla.) Seminole trio of five-star athlete Andre Debose, four-star athlete Ray Ray Armstrong and four-star defensive end Dyron Dye as well as Atlanta Booker T. Washington five-star cornerback Branden Smith, Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood four-star center John Martinez and Somerville (N.J.) four-star center Mark Brazinski.
Debose lists his finalists as Florida State, USC, Florida, Miami and LSU. Some think that LSU may be the team to beat, but it appears as if he will stay in state with the Florida Gators. Armstrong is down to LSU, Miami, Florida and Georgia while Dye has whittled his list to South Carolina, LSU, Florida State, Miami and Florida. Look for the two teammates to both announce their commitments to Miami on Sunday.
Smith has said publicly he is down to Georgia, Florida State, Florida and Alabama. In the end, expect the in-state Bulldogs to keep him there.
Martinez has a final three of LSU, USC and UCLA. He says he came into the week undecided and hoped to speak to other players about why they chose each of those three programs. He seems a bit hesitant to announce on Sunday, but if he does it seems like the choice will be USC. It will likely not be the end of his recruitment, though.
Brazinski has a different set of criteria in that he is looking for a very solid business school. He has a final five of Florida State, Cal, Boston College, North Carolina and Penn. While Cal, UNC and Boston College would not be too shocking, some expect him to spurn the Football Bowl Subdivision teams to sign with Penn, where his brother also played.
UNCOMMITTED FIVE STARS
In addition to Debose and Smith, two other five-star prospects in the game remain uncommitted. Honolulu Punahou linebacker Manti Te'o has officially visited Notre Dame and UCLA and has two January trips scheduled to Stanford and USC. He says he is unlikely to officially visit BYU, his fifth finalist, because he has been there frequently already. Te'o says he is working on paring his list down but it will be a signing day decision.
Also uncommitted is five-star Wheaton (Md.) Good Counsel linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who has taken an official visit to Florida and has another set up for Penn State. USC, Illinois, Boston College and Notre Dame are also in the running for visits. Jenkins says a decision will not be made until after he completes his trips.
REID OPENS IT UP
In somewhat surprising news, Valdosta (Ga.) Lowndes athlete Greg Reid, who has been the most impressive defensive back this week, decommitted from Florida on Thursday evening following a team meeting at the team's hotel. The four-star prospect is considering the in-state Bulldogs but is still keeping his eye on Florida.
PATTERSON WANTS TO STICK WITH STANFORD
McDonough (Ga.) Henry Co. wide receiver Jamal Patterson says he is 100-percent committed to Stanford, but is keeping a close eye on the coaching situation with rumors of Jim Harbaugh looking to the NFL. He could make an official visit to Clemson, a school that has picked up its recruitment of the big receiver as of late.
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