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September 22, 2005

C-USA Blitz: Cougars havings ups and downs

The month of September was looking like another breakout month in recruiting for the Houston Cougars when one of the early gems of the class made a switch to a Big 12 school.

After a spring game visit to Houston, Kilgore (Texas) defensive end Wayne Daniels made an early commitment to join the Cougars' 2006 class. However, after thinking things over decided to make a switch to Kansas State after numerous schools started piling up more scholarship offers.

"I am going to switch my commitment from Houston to Kansas State the next time I talk to coach (Bob) Elliott," Daniels said. "I just think the environment and the surroundings in Manhattan are going to be a better place for me. I'm looking forward to being at Kansas State."

On the other hand, athlete Britton Maxwell was a verbal commitment for Houston in September bringing their total back to eight on the year. Heavily centered in Texas, all eight players are from the Lone Star state.

Houston is also still in on some impressive prospects to replace the recently gone Wayne Daniels. People believe that the Cougars have a good chance with three-star Baton Rouge (La.) Redemptorist defensive end Jonathan Hollins. Isiah Thompson and Wynne (Ark.) defensive tackle L.T. Walker are also on the board.

It looks like things are going to keep steaming ahead for the Cougars, despite the de-commitment.

Memphis attacking Texas for teammates

Memphis may have quite the fertile recruiting territory to recruit in the Southeastern region, but Texas seems like a new home for the Tigers. In fact, not only have they offered several Lone Star prospects, but are in good position with some of those as well.

One of the bigger sleeper prospects in the state that has risen up in a hurry is all-purpose back Toddrick Pendland of Newton (Texas) who is a 5-foot-9, 165-pound speedster who has been burning defenses since his junior year. That year he put together a 2,308-yard 32 touchdown performance which earned him an all-state mention.

Now, he has quite a few offers to look over including Memphis. They are considered to be the heavy favorite as the team to beat.

"Memphis is still at the top for me," Pendland said. "I mean, they're running game is great. I really don't mind coming out of the backfield for the pass, but you've got to have that run for me to really be interested and they've got my attention."

When visits are set up, Pendland is expected to set one up with the Tigers first and foremost. Don't be surprised if a commitment follows after because Memphis seems to be one of the most mentioned teams on his mind right now.

Another prospect that Memphis has offered and impressed is Pendland's teammate on the other side of the ball at defensive end in 6-foot-3, 225-pound defensive end Terrence Freeman. Other offers are there, but Freeman like his teammate, is very open about his interest towards the distant team.

"I really like the program Memphis has right now," Freeman said. "Memphis calls me every Friday and tells me to have a good game and good luck."

A package deal seems very likely right now if both teammates visit soon and like what they see.

UTEP ushering in visitors

In-state recruiting for coach Mike Price and the Miners is imperative for team success along with the state of California. In the 2005 recruiting class. 13 of the 31 commitments last year for UTEP were from the state of Texas and 15 were from California.

This year, the official visitors are starting to line up official visitors just as they did in a hurried fashion for the 2005 class. Starting with a quarterback and wide receiver isn't bad and that is the case with two Texas prospects on their list.

One, quarterback Andy Dalton took in the UTEP game as the Miners took on Houston and Dalton came away very impressed with what he saw.

"Everything was nice," Dalton said. "The game was awesome and it was really great to be there in that atmosphere. I haven't set up any other visits, but I'm still open for everything."

Dalton is expected to take other visits, but being his first official visit and the good performance by the Miners, all signs are pointing to UTEP. He also will decide whenever he feels comfortable with his pick, not on a certain date.

Sleeper receiver Da'Marcus Griggs will be the second known official visitor for UTEP on Oct. 22 and though the Miners are his only offer, it appears that as the season goes along, that could change.

Griggs apparently is also hearing from Memphis, but the offer from UTEP has them on top and coach Price is building quite the relationship. A good visit could seal the deal on this one for the West Texas team.

Four-star receiver keeps Tulane on the list

After narrowing things down to six schools, it appears that Tulane has remained an option for Rivals250 receiver/dual-threat quarterback Jared Mitchell. Tulane is only one of his three favorites that have offered which puts the Green Wave in excellent position.

It also looks as if distance will be a factor in his decision as schools such as Stanford have been pushed out of the mix even with an offer on the table. Tulane will probably give him a shot at any number of offensive positions which is one of his main characteristics that he is looking for in a team.

"I want a chance to player early and just as long as I can play on the offensive side of the ball, I'm happy," Mitchell said. "I'll play wide receiver or quarterback. It doesn't matter to me as long as I play."

Visits are up next and Tulane looks to make that list. They'll need to impress, but making the first cut of teams speaks volumes.


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