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April 14, 2009

National Notes: Five-star RB looking for more

After watching his brother, Marshall Jones, go through the recruiting process, five-star running back Malcolm Jones of Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian is an old pro.

His offer list of USC, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Colorado and Arizona reflects that. But Jones knows sometimes a player has to recruit a school, so he's sending his film to programs in the Midwest and SEC.

"I just made a new highlight tape, and I plan on sending it out to more schools," said Jones, the No. 11 player in the nation. "I'm mainly going to send it to schools in the Midwest and then some of the SEC schools. Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida State all of those schools I will send my film to."

The pitch has already paid off as Jones picked up an offer from the Sooners on Monday. One school definitely in his plans is Texas.

"I wish they would show a little more interest," he said. "If they started looking at me more, I would be really excited."

Most observers believe Jones likes USC or Stanford. But he insists he's approaching recruiting with an open mind, which is something he learned by watching his brother go through the process.

"You can't rule anybody out this early because you never know what situation might strike you as the perfect one," Jones said. "My brother taught me that you have to keep your options open, and that when you find that perfect school you'll know. I've learned that you can't go into this with your mind already set on a school because you could be shutting the perfect situation out.

"Everyone is still even right now. I'm going to start narrowing everything down here pretty soon, though. I still want to get my tape out to everyone and then see who starts taking a look at me."

Jones plans on attending USC's spring game and likely will attend the Trojans' Rising Star Camp. He's already taken unofficial visits to UCLA and Stanford. He said he's not really sure what he's looking for in the perfect school but he says he'll know when he knows.

"If it feels right and I'm set on it, I will make a decision," he said. "There really isn't a specific type of offense that I would like to play. I guess I do know I don't want to play for a school that passes the ball a whole lot. But I probably won't make any type of decision like that until the end of the season."

GEORGIA ADDS TWO

After watching SEC foes rack up commitment after commitment, Georgia scored two solid pledges late last week from Buford (Ga.) High defensive tackle Kolton Houston and Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola linebacker Marc Deas.

Houston (6 feet 5/270 pounds) was emerging as one of the most heavily recruited players in the state. He picked the Bulldogs over offers from Georgia Tech, Florida State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Clemson, among others.

"It's a great honor to be a Bulldog," Houston said. "I cannot wait to play in front of 92,000-plus people between the hedges."

Deas, who chose the Bulldogs over Kentucky, Ole Miss, Rutgers and Vanderbilt, said he will bring a lot to the program.

"They are getting a humble player who always gives 100 percent," Deas said. "A quote I always remember is, 'Never satisfied.' That is how I always feel. I have put in a lot of hard work to get where I am, but in no way do I feel I am near where I need to be. I am going to always work hard to improve."

GOOD TIMES IN BAY AREA

Stanford and California reeled in a string of impressive commitments over the past week.

Cal's catch included four-star athlete Cecil Whiteside of Newport Beach (Calif.) Harbor and highly regarded defensive tackle Cassius Marsh of Oaks Christian. Whiteside is a four-star prospect who is the No. 91 player in the nation. Marsh was one of the most heavily recruited defensive linemen in the West and has been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

"I'm going to be playing the stand-up end at Cal," said Whiteside, who had more than 150 tackles as a junior. "I'll be able to get after the quarterback, and then also drop back into coverage, too. In my opinion, that's the best position you can play in football. I love it, and that's exactly where I want to develop as a football player."

Along with his football accolades, he's nationally ranked in the discus. He's on track to win the state title this year and has a personal best of 179 feet.

Marsh picked the Golden Bears over offers from USC, Tennessee, UCLA, Oregon and others. He said that while he likely will take some visits, he is solid on his Cal commitment.

"I just absolutely love the place, and my mom gave me the go-ahead, so I went ahead and committed," Marsh said. "I like the setting, the campus and the coaches."

Across the Bay, Stanford also has been busy. The Cardinal have seven commitments, with the latest from Lexington (Ohio) High cornerback Courtney Avery and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman linebacker Evan Palelei. Avery had offers from Army, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan and Toledo and was on track to land several Big Ten offers this spring. Palelei picked the Cardinal over offers from UNLV and Colorado.

ALL-POLY CAMP EXPANDING

Over the past eight years, the All-Poly Camp has become one of the most nationally renowned camps. That success has allowed the camp to expand and host two events this summer, one in Utah, where it's been since its inception, and another in Hawaii.

The camp traditionally has been focused on helping garner attention for prospects of Polynesian ancestry, but now is open to students of all nationalities. Founder/director Alema Te'o said the event in Hawaii will feature Hawaii coach Greg McMackin, UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, Colorado linebacker coach Brian Cabral, Arizona defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo and some other assistants.

Te'o said he started the All-Poly Camp eight years ago with eight coaches and about 40 athletes. Last year's camp attracted 300 athletes, with 73 coaches from 38 colleges attending.

ETC.

Lache Seastrunk, the nation's No. 1 running back, called his unofficial visit to Auburn this past weekend "the best experience I ever had."

Konrad Zagzebski, a linebacker from Schofield (Wis.) DC Everest, has de-committed from Minnesota and given a pledge to Wisconsin.

Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus running back Stephen Hopkins committed to Michigan, turning down offers from Texas A&M, Stanford, SMU, Kansas and Kansas State. He rushed for 1,689 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior.

Cincinnati added a commitment from athlete Jorian Hudson from Cincinnati Roger Bacon.

Kansas State scored a solid recruiting victory over Big 12 North rivals Kansas and Missouri when Wichita (Kan.) Northwest running back DeMarcus Robinson committed last week. Robinson, who also had offers from Louisville and BYU, rushed for 1,901 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior and projects as one of the top running backs in the Midlands.



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