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January 27, 2011

Auburn recruits roll in following title

MORE NOTES: Tuesday | Wednesday | Full NSD coverage

Auburn's national championship has made an immediate impact on its 2011 recruiting class.

The Tigers, who beat Oregon for the title on Jan. 10, have been on a recruiting tear with National Signing Day looming Wednesday. Auburn has moved up to sixth in the latest team rankings and, if it keeps rolling, could score a top-five finish.

Auburn added four-star running back Tre Mason to its 2011 commitments list Wednesday, as the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder declared his intentions to sign with the champs. The Lake Worth (Fla.) Park Vista running back chose the Tigers over Ole Miss.

"I'm 150 percent positive this is where I want to be," he said. " Coach (Gene) Chizik, he doesn't make it seem like he's on a higher pedestal than everyone else. Seems like every coach is a head coach up there, and that's what I liked about it."

But that wasn't the only good news Wednesday, as the Tigers also landed three-star linebacker Devaunte Sigler. Meanwhile, four-star tight end Brandon Fulse will decide among Auburn, North Carolina, Miami and Tennessee on Thursday evening. Auburn appears to be the leader for Fulse.

Consider these latest commitments come on the heels of Auburn accepting a commitment from five-star linebacker Kris Frost and stealing four-star offensive lineman Christian Westerman from Texas, and it's easy to see how the national title already is paying off for the Tigers in recruiting.

Sankey finally makes switch

The tweet from Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, like many others from Sarkisian, could have had a hidden message attached.

"Woof, woof, woof!!!"

The timing was maybe a coincidence, maybe not, as Washington received a commitment from four-star running back Bishop Sankey, a former Washington State pledge, the same night as Sarkisian's Twitter message this week.

"I prayed about it and talked it over with my family countless times and what stood out to me was the academics and how UW gives tons of support to their athletes," Sankey said.

More recruiting notes

Throughout his recruitment, Mo Latu strongly considered staying close to home and being around his family during his college days. Other schools made good impressions: Oregon, Utah and Missouri were in the mix. But the four-star center from Gilbert (Ariz.) Perry committed to Arizona State on Wednesday night and cited his family as a big reason why he made that decision.

Ryan Nowicki has some thinking to do. The Glendale (Ariz.) Cactus offensive tackle committed to Penn State in early January, but that has not stopped colleges from recruiting him with Michigan as the latest to send an offer. The Wolverines are pushing for a visit this weekend but Nowicki's family and coach said there has been no decision made whether he'll go to Ann Arbor.

Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville four-star defensive end Andre Sturdivant enjoyed his official visit to Toledo over the weekend and felt very comfortable around some familiar faces. On Monday he was visited by Michigan State and more recently he has been visited by Toledo again. Penn State and Indiana are planning on paying him a visit on Thursday. Sturdivant said he has no favorites among those schools and he is targeting either Friday or Monday for a decision.

Cactus coach Larry Fetkenhier said he has a long-standing relationship with new Michigan coach Brady Hoke but promises he won't steer Nowicki to the Wolverines. Fetkenhier said he'll let his three-star standout make his own decision about which program best suits him.

Four-star quarterback Michael Eubank was expected to visit Vanderbilt or Tulsa this weekend but the Corona (Calif.) Centennial standout pulled somewhat of a surprise Wednesday when he said he'll visit Pittsburgh this weekend.

The Panthers have apparently come on strong in recent weeks for Eubank, who threw for 2,831 yards with 22 touchdowns and three interceptions this season. He also rushed for 1,329 yards and 19 scores. Eubank has been committed to Arizona State since December but visited Utah last weekend and is clearly exploring his options.

Texas has found itself with an open position at offensive lineman since Rivals100 prospect Christian Westerman switched to Auburn last Friday. Mack Brown's staff is looking all over the state for possibilities to take his place. Rockdale (Texas) offensive tackle Le'Raven Clark recently told the Longhorn coaches he planned to stick with his Texas Tech pledge so now Texas is looking to the commit list of another Big 12 South school.

Cedar Park (Texas) offensive tackle Spencer Drango has been a longtime Baylor commit but it appears Texas is trying to get the Rivals250 prospect in for an official visit this weekend. It is a tough choice for Drango, as he lives just miles from the Texas campus and grew up a big fan. However, he also has a strong sense of loyalty toward Baylor. He will not decide until Friday whether to take the visit to Texas. If he does, it would be hard to see him not switching to the Longhorns.

Brown also met with Brenham (Texas) defensive end Brandon Alexander on Wednesday, a day after the Texas A&M coaches did the same. The word around the small town is that the only uncommitted member of the Rivals.com Texas Top 100 is likely headed to the Texas. Right now, though, he still seems set on officially visiting Arkansas this weekend.

Dallas (Texas) Seagoville tight end Andrew Peterson was thought to be down to a final two of Arkansas and Texas A&M. However, Seagoville head coach Andy Gutierrez says his 6-foot-5, 250-pound prospect will visit Miami this weekend and have a decision soon after. Arkansas appears to have the lead at this point but Gutierrez says every team is still in it.

Nebraska did its final in-home visit with one of its top remaining targets, Miami Beach (Fla.) North Miami Beach linebacker Keeon Virgile.

Manassas (Va.) Osbourn athlete Dominique Terrell took an official visit last weekend to Virginia. The trip went well for the four-star prospect who noted he got plenty of time with the players and specifically coach Mike London on the visit. Terrell claims Miami, Virginia, West Virginia and Vanderbilt are his finalists, with Miami getting the final official this weekend before a decision on Tuesday. Most feel this will come down to Virginia (leader) and West Virginia, unless Miami pulls the surprise.

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