What I learned this weekend


Edwards impressed with LSU

If there was anyone who appreciated the defensive struggle between LSU and Alabama Saturday night, it was Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas/Ryan).

The No. 1 player in the ESPNU 150 watched from home LSU’s 9-6 overtime victory over Alabama in a clash of the country’s top two teams. Edwards, a five-star defensive end, is committed to Florida State, but he has openly admitted his interest in Oklahoma and LSU. Saturday’s game gave the 6-foot-4, 285-pound standout additional information about the Tigers, which shut down one of the nation’s most potent offenses.

“The defense stopped [Alabama running back Trent] Richardson, and that’s their go-to guy,” Edwards said. “The defensive line did a great job of keeping him in check. They made some plays.”

Edwards has said on several occasions that while he is still committed to the Seminoles, he is using the time before February’s signing period to explore other options. One thing he was a fan of Saturday was LSU’s resiliency and refusal to quit. Alabama led, 6-3, in the fourth quarter.

“They showed good work ethic,” Edwards said. “When Alabama went up by a field goal, they stayed in it. They showed me a lot.”

Missouri recruits ready for SEC

With the official introduction of Missouri as an SEC school beginning in the 2012 season, Missouri recruits, who once looked forward to playing Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas State, are now getting ready for LSU, Alabama, Georgia and Arkansas.

The move to the SEC is welcomed by four-star linebacker Donavin Newsom (St. Louis, Mo./Parkway North) and four-star running back Jonathan Williams (Allen, Texas), two of Missouri’s 15 commitments from the Class of 2012. Both players are looking at the move as a positive not only because of better football competition but also as a recruiting edge of playing in arguably the best conference in college football.

“I take the invitation as a big deal. It’s a good conference, and I think it’s good for us to be there,” Newsom said. “This will show that Missouri can keep up with everybody else in the SEC.”

Williams added: “The SEC is the toughest and most respected league in all of college football. For the school, it’s a good move. For us, we’ll be playing the top competition in college football.”

Five of Missouri’s 15 commits are four-star athletes. Three-star offensive tackle Jordan Williams (Denton, Texas/Ryan) was the latest to commit to the Tigers two weeks ago.

Oklahoma recruits out for playoff opener

As the Oklahoma state playoffs kick off this weekend, some of the state’s highly-touted players may be on the sidelines for the first week – and perhaps longer.

Two three-star players, running back Donovan Roberts (Norman, Okla.) and defensive end Quintaz Struble (Oklahoma City, Okla./Heritage Hall) went down with significant injuries in their respective regular-season finales on Friday. Roberts sustained a leg injury in Norman’s 31-20 loss to Jenks (Okla.). Struble sustained a torn MCL in Heritage Hall’s 35-27 win over Kingfisher (Okla.).

Roberts, an Arkansas commit, has more than 1,300 yards and has scored 19 touchdowns this season. Struble has 63 tackles and five sacks on the year and has offers from Colorado State, Arizona and North Texas.

Jenks is still awaiting the green light to play four-star running back Alex Ross (No. 38 in the ESPNU 150) in the first round of the playoffs. The Oklahoma commit and Under Armour All-American has been out with a collarbone injury since last month.

Texas Fab 50 quartet dominating

Of the top 20 teams in the Fab 50, four come from Texas. No. 3 Allen (Texas), No. 4 Katy (Texas), No. 8 Trinity (Euless, Texas) and No. 18 Lake Travis (Austin, Texas) all close the regular seasons with undefeated marks, combining for a 40-0 record.

Allen beat Flower Mound (Texas), 59-30, behind 417 total yards and six touchdowns (four passing) from quarterback Alec Morris, an Alabama commit. Katy’s defense has been solid all season, and the Tigers scored another victory over the weekend where it allowed single digits. Katy beat Cinco Ranch (Katy, Texas), 38-7.

Trinity downed MacArthur (Irving, Texas), 34-7, and Lake Travis edged Cedar Park (Texas), 24-21, to stay undefeated. Trinity features Oklahoma-bound defensive end Polo Manukainiu and the UCLA-bound duo of offensive lineman Hiva Lutui and safety Ilaiu Moeakiola. Lake Travis is led by athlete Colin Lagasse, an SMU commit, and tight end Griffin Gilbert, a TCU commit.

All four teams will participate in the Texas state playoffs, which kick off this weekend. Allen, Katy and Trinity will play in Class 5A, while Lake Travis will play for its fifth consecutive Class 4A title

Valor Christian going for 3rd Colorado title

Two-time defending Colorado state champion Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) will open this year’s state playoffs as the top seed in Class 4A. With three BCS commits and a couple others expected to commit soon, Valor Christian is a favorite to earn its third straight title.

The team features a defense that includes Arizona-bound defensive end Michael Mann and Boise State-bound linebacker Andrew Pint. The offense includes Duke-bound receiver Max McCaffrey, as well as highly touted uncommits in quarterback Cody Thibault and lineman Alex Kozan.

Of those players, Kozan may have the most name recognition. The four-star lineman holds offers from more than 20 schools, including LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Arkansas, South Carolina and Oklahoma State. Kozan is back in Colorado after taking an official visit to Ohio State over the weekend.