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March 22, 2006Filling certain needs was a priority for the Texas A&M staff early in the 2007 recruiting process. That was quite evident when the fifth commitment came across the wire from Beaumont (Texas) Central quarterback Brandon Williams.
Standing at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, the talented young man can play a number of different positions. However, with past Aggie quarterbacks like Reggie McNeal who could change the game with running ability, Williams will get a chance to follow in those footsteps. That wasn't the only reason the in-state prospect decided to pull the trigger early.
"They have good facilities and a good school," Williams said. "I talked to coach Kenith Pope and coach Dennis Franchione. They were real excited. I'm pretty relieved to get the process over with."
Central coach Donald Stower said it was only a matter of time before his Aggie offer would be joined by many. Williams' highlight tape was making the rounds and things were about to really go through the roof.
However, the early attention from A&M that started giving right after his junior season was a difference-maker.
"They specifically targeted Brandon and it stuck out," Stower said. "They will stick with him and they are willing to wait on his academics. Plus, it's not far from home and he's kind of a quiet kid.
"He's in a situation where he will be comfortable and he will come out ahead."
Stower added that Oklahoma and Ole Miss were also showing interest. The Sooners had just requested his film before his commitment.
Horns add No. 13, more visitors
Brenham, Texas tight end Ahmard Howard was patient after the Texas junior day. Several prospects picked up scholarship offers in late February during the Longhorn event, but Howard was not one of them.
Then some big news came just weeks ago when head coach Mack Brown made a phone call to coach Glen West about the offer. Monday, Howard took another trip to Austin and this time he left as a Longhorn.
"They showed me everything I needed to see and they answered all of my questions," Howard said. "The coaches were really excited. They said they were glad that I got the chance to come meet them and they wanted me to be a Longhorn."
The visitors didn't stop there. Tuesday, Rivals100 quarterback John Brantley made his way to Austin to check out the campus. While it's very likely he'll leave with an offer, a commitment doesn't look to be in the cards just yet.
So far, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and several others have added their name to the offer list. A big part of Brantley's interest in the Horns has to do with UT defensive coordinator Gene Chizik who played at Florida with Brantley's head coach Kerwin Bell.
"I've always been drawn to Texas," Brantley said. "I just want to go on the visit, see what they're trying to do. Everything I've heard from people is that they like Austin."
Athlete/quarterback John Chiles is one player that is expected to commit on his visit this weekend. Top target Lennon Creer is also a possible visitor but it will depend on whether or not his family can accompany him to Austin.
Perry not having offer problems
Keller (Texas) Fossil Ridge offensive guard/defensive tackle prospect Chris Perry certainly doesn't feel left out of the group of players with early interest.
So far, the 6-foot-3, 319-pound two-way player has picked up several scholarship offers from teams such as Arkansas, Baylor, Colorado State, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M just to name a few.
Perry told HuskersIllustrated.com staff writer Bob Dean that he is expecting more.
"Texas Tech is going to offer pretty soon too," Perry said. "At least they make it sound like it anyway. Nebraska was one of the new ones I got in the last two weeks. Texas A&M, Baylor, Arkansas, Colorado State, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss - all of them (came) just in the last two weeks.
"It's all pretty amazing."
Miami, who has yet to offer, holds the early lead for Perry. After that, the Texas prospect says everyone else is even. A decision could be coming as early as the summer. His coach has told him he'd like for him to get things out of the way early in order to concentrate on his senior year.
Thomas making the rounds
Over spring break, La Marque, Texas defensive back James Thomas did little resting and a lot of traveling.
The Lone Star product, who has offers from Kansas, Missouri, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State used the time to visit schools in four different states. Thomas started in Baylor, went to Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Kansas before ending his trip at Missouri.
Though he enjoyed each visit and rated them equally, he's not about to make a quick decision just yet.
"Well I want to wait to see if I get anymore offers really," Thomas said. "I'll make my decision probably later on in the year."
Where his former and current teammates have chosen to play their college ball may have an effect on his decision. However, it's hard to find just one school that has pulled players from La Marque.
Texas has already grabbed a commitment the school's big offensive guard Aundre McGaskey. Last year, wide receiver Jared Perry signed with Missouri, defensive tackle Richard Jones headed to Texas Tech, while athlete L.J. Castile signed with Houston.
Houston area holding it's own
While North Texas prospects are coming out of the wood work, many believe that the city of Houston is having a lower year than normal for top high school prospects. Don't tell that to a handful of talented prospects that hold early scholarship offers.
Houston Yates holds two prospects already with offers in standout running back Eli Lemon, the brother of 2006 Oklahoma State signee Orie Lemon, and defensive tackle Patrick Dorsey. Both hold offers from the hometown team Houston but Lemon also holds one from his brother's school - OSU.
Chavez High School is also home to top prospects that is highlighted by tight end Harold Turnage. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder can play on offense as a pass-catcher or even a lineman.
Spring Woods running back Marcus Mendoza is one of the fastest rising prospects in the state. Offers trickled in early but turned into a flood over the last few weeks. Kansas State, Iowa, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech are just a few of his offers so far.
Houston Lamar holds two top prospects in dual-threat quarterback Demetrius Woods and athlete Eric Eiland. Both are expected to have big recruiting processes and early offers this spring.
Houston Westbury defensive end Russell Carter drew early offers from Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Arizona. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound pass rusher jumped on an early offer from Texas and gave the Horns his early commitment.
Pearland running back Foswhitt Whittaker was also an early commitment for Texas. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound running back picked up an early offer from Oklahoma State as well, but couldn't turn down UT. He rushed for 1,608 yards and 18 touchdowns as a junior. Pasadena Dobie transfer Sam Proctor (now at Pearland) has a pair of offers as well.
Cypress Falls linebacker Derrick Stephens was an early commitment for Texas A&M, but the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder didn't stop there with offers picking up scholarship offers from Houston, Missouri, and Texas as well.
La Marque, as usual, has several prospects including James Thomas, Texas commit Aundre McGaskey, Michael Ray, and Raphael Guidry who all were early offered prospects.
Rosenberg is on the map again in 2007. Top offensive tackle prospect Jarvis Jones already has offers from Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Baylor. Aldine safety Curtis Thomas holds two offers from Nebraska and Baylor.
Other Houston prospects to keep an eye on include the Jersey Village pair - Jacoby Reed and Desmon Marrs, Sterling defensive tackle Jarvis Bernard, Cy Falls wide receiver Roger Holland. Humble running back Reggie Brown and linebacker Charles Hines are expected to get early looks.
Garland wide receiver Malcolm Williams has added two more offers to his first that came from Texas A&M. Kansas and LSU recently got into the mix The Tigers have also reportedly sent an offer to Cedar Hill wide receiver William Cole Dallas Madison running back Shawnbrey McNeal isn't having trouble picking up offers either. He totals four now from Florida, Kansas State, Ole Miss, and Oklahoma State A&M Consolidated now has three prospects with offers or committed. Kicker Matt Szymanski committed early to A&M while receiver Detron Lewis and linebacker Drew Dudley hold offer of their own. Both have been offered by OSU.