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November 4, 2009There's been a changing of the guard in the Jayhawk Conference.
With Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College's 14-10 victory over Butler County (Kan.) Community College on Saturday, it ended Butler's reign of two consecutive national championships and eight conference titles.
The victory also has significant recruiting ramifications because both programs often go head-to-head for prospects. Division I schools want to place their prospects with the top program in the region.
"It means that we are continuing to move forward as a program," Fort Scott coach Jeff Sims said. "As a coach you want improvement in your program, and winning the championship is another measure of improvement over the last three years. On the road recruiting it helps as we are now able to talk about what we have done compared to what we plan to do. It makes it proven."
In the preseason Sims said he thought this could be the season that Fort Scott knocked off Butler. The Greyhounds had a good defensive group returning, highlighted by four-star linebacker Lavonte David. LSU-bound offensive tackle Jermarcus Hardrick is also one of the nation's best.
But Sims predicted the difference-maker was going to be quarterback Dominique Davis, and he was right.
After starting in several games last year at Boston College, Davis transferred to Fort Scott and has developed into the extra weapon Fort Scott needed to win a game like this. Against an extremely stingy Butler defense, Davis completed 50 percent of his passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. On the season Davis has thrown for 1,243 yards, but Sims said Davis has been more valuable in ways that don't register on the stat sheet.
"Dominique has exceeded expectations," Sims said. "As a player, he is exactly what we thought we were getting. But as a leader and mature person, he has way exceeded what we expected. He, from day one, has bought in, never talking about where he has been or where he was going. He has taken pride in himself and the Greyhounds every step of the way."
Along with the big week on the field, Davis also made headlines off of it with his commitment to East Carolina.
"I personally don't know very much about East Carolina, but it will be a good fit because of what I know about Dominique; he will make the fit right," Sims said. "Also, his commitment to them came after a lot of research from his family. They have been a great support system for Dominique and if they endorsed it, which they did, I'm very confident in his decision."
DUCKS DOMINANCE OPENS UP EYES
Oregon dominated headlines nationally after the Ducks blasted Pac-10 rival USC on Saturday. The game did enough to help Oregon score a significant commitment and push the Ducks up the school lists of several high-profile prospects.
The commitment came from three-star defensive end Tony Washington of Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos. Washington picked the Ducks over Arizona, Oregon State and UTEP. He said the USC game wasn't the deciding factor, but it definitely had a role in his decision.
"I always just kind of had a feeling ? and after this weekend it just hit me," Washington said. "The performance they had against USC was by no means the deciding factor, but how can you pass up playing in an environment like that?"
Oregon also made up ground with elite players such as five-star defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa of Portland (Ore.) David Douglas. Odighizuwa had been favoring Cal heading into his unofficial visit to Oregon. He also set up trips to Florida, Nebraska and UCLA, but he said the Ducks' play definitely made a positive impression.
"I loved the visit. I thought it was one of the best visits I've been on this year," he said. "The atmosphere was great and they just played a really good football game. It was a really great trip."
Other top-flight recruits that were on hand included Tyson Coleman, Erick Dargan, DeMarcus Smith, Greg Townsend Jr., Gabe King, Chris McCain, Trovon Reed, Tyler Stephenson, Curtis White and Dontae Williams.
One star who didn't make the official visit as expected was Temple, Texas, five-star running back Lache Seastrunk. Seastrunk has taken official visits to Cal and UCLA, with USC and Auburn also expected to receive officials. An official visit to either Oregon or LSU is still possible. Seastrunk has taken an unofficial visit to LSU for the Florida game.
NAVARRO DEFENDERS DO DAMAGE
Blinn (Texas) College four-star quarterback Cameron Newton has shredded opponents this season, including a 564-yard performance against Tyler.
But he ran into a buzz saw Saturday when Navarro (Texas) Junior College's defense held in him check. Navarro repeatedly put Newton on the ground with big hit after big hit and helped the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs defeat No. 1 Blinn 23-20.
"He's going to dream about us," three-star defensive end Brandon Joiner told the Corsicana Sun. "Nightmares about us."
And Joiner will be playing the role of Freddy Krueger.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Joiner had six tackles, four quarterback pressures, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup. His play this season has definitely elevated his stock with recruiters. He has offers from Utah, Colorado State and Southern Miss. But after terrorizing Newton, don't be surprised if SEC and Big 12 teams show more interest.
Brad Graham is also quickly becoming a target worth watching on the Navarro defense. He finished the game with 12 tackles, three tackles for loss and a quarterback pressure. He also put a hit on Newton that changed the momentum of the game for Navarro. Graham has added several FCS offers but is also receiving interest from the FBS level.
After visiting Oregon this past weekend, Thibodaux, La., four-star receiver Trovon Reed will announce his decision at 1:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 during his U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection ceremony. Reed said he was hoping to visit Tennessee this weekend officially, but he is thought to be leaning to Auburn over LSU, Oregon and Tennessee.
Four-star defensive tackle George Uko has scheduled what he calls a "surprise visit" to UCLA for this weekend. After checking out Cal a month ago, Uko has three more Pac-10 visits set up this month. The Bruins have been on and off Uko's list multiple times since last spring.