USC stocks up

Originally Published: January 9, 2006
By Tom Luginbill | Scouts Inc.

I had been looking forward to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl all week, and the game showed a few things, namely some dominant defensive frontline players and some quarterbacks and receivers who needed more practice to work on their timing. Those things are common in football all-star games on all levels.

Here's my take on the verbal commitments that happened during the game.

ESPN 150 RB Emmanuel Moody verbally committed to USC

I've talked about DeMarco Murray being a Reggie Bush-type back, well, so is Emmanuel Moody. I've referred to him as a "jackrabbit in cleats," and as with most USC running backs, the versatility in the passing game is key -- it's a big part of the Trojans' offense.

ESPN 150 ILB Brandon Spikes verbally committed to Florida

In the mold of former Florida LB Channing Crowder, he has the size and physical style to hold up against the run yet still possesses the athleticism to make plays on the perimeter. This only bolsters an already strong Florida class that is mostly offensive-oriented, meaning the Gators are happy to get some more defensive help.

ESPN 150 CB Jai Eugene verbally committed to Michigan

Here's the secondary help everybody is clamoring for on the Wolverines. He might be the player in this class who has to make the biggest adjustment. He'll be making the move from quarterback/cornerback to full-time corner. He also might be the one guy with enough football instincts and athleticism to pull it off. He potentially could be a shutdown, man-to-man corner. He pairs well with Steve Brown, regardless of whether Brown moves to safety.

DT Joseph Faifili verbally committed to Utah

Utah always has done a great job of recruiting the islands for Samoan and Polynesian players. If Faifili doesn't end up staying on defense, he could move to the offensive side of the ball as a center. We'll have a full scouting report on him early next week.

ESPN 150 DT Derrick Hill verbally committed to California

He is a stocky, one-gap penetrator who could develop in a couple of years and become a competent run stopper with added weight. Hill becomes Cal's top recruit on either side of the ball.

OG Matt Carufel verbally committed to Notre Dame

He's a blue-collar, yard-dog type who will fight you to the whistle. He has the versatility to play multiple positions. He might not be the athlete others in this class are, but Carufel makes up for it with his solid play. He's the Irish's fifth offensive line commitment.

ESPN 150 DE Maurice Evans and ESPN 150 CB A.J. Wallace verbally committed to Penn State

As we said in our blog, Evans is a great fit at Penn State. The Nittany Lions lack depth at defensive end, and with Evans' talent and ability to rush the passer, he can play right away. He also showed in this game why Craig Haubert has been touting him for so long.

As for Wallace, not only does he have the skills to be a premier cover corner but he has the size to move back to safety and the offensive ball skills to contribute in the kicking game. I know Myron Rolle will be disappointed with Wallace's decision -- he was recruiting him hard to Florida State.

ESPN 150 DE Robert Rose verbally committed to Ohio State

Rose really stood out this week in practice and continued to excel during the game. He was a mismatch all week and has all the physical tools you look for in a defensive end.

ESPN 150 WR Terrance Austin verbally committed to UCLA

Austin is going to be an excellent slot receiver and returner in the kicking game. He's quicker than he is fast, but he knows how to separate.

ILB Jarrell Miller verbally committed to North Carolina

Miller played both ways in the All-American Bowl, playing linebacker on defense and fullback on offense. Miller is an upside guy at this stage and might be a little bit of a late bloomer. Redshirting certainly would benefit him.

ESPN 150 OT Butch Lewis and ESPN 150 OLB Allen Bradford verbally committed to USC

As we've said before, the value of a recruiting class should be predicated upon need and filling holes. When you get closer to signing day, you can make some preliminary assumptions and rankings on the recruiting classes, and USC certainly is filling needs on defense. With Taylor Mays, Antwine Perez and Bradford, USC is putting together quite a defensive class. Lewis will fit in nicely on an offensive line that will be blocking for some good talent.

ESPN 150 DeMarco Murray verbally committed to Oklahoma

Oklahoma continues to quietly put together a very good class, and Murray makes it that much better. He's ESPN's No. 1 RB for a reason, and that's because he's fast, explosive and dangerous every time he touches the ball. People will be very surprised to know he could also play defense at the college level.

ESPN 150 WR David Ausberry verbally committed to USC

Looks as though USC came away from the All-American Bowl in pretty good shape. We've been saying for months that the Trojans would get their share of the top players, and they did. Ausberry fits the mold of a big, physical USC receiver. He might not run quite as well as last year's top receiver prospect, Patrick Turner, but he's every bit the physical presence.

Tom Luginbill is the national director of recruiting for Scouts Inc. Tom will be a studio analyst on ESPNU every Thursday and Saturday, talking college football and giving updates on the latest recruiting news.