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Gators, Horns making early waves

Notre Dame commitment Chris Martin is one of the top prospects in the nation and will contend for the top spot in the California state rankings.

If he remains in California, that is.

There has been plenty of speculation that Martin, a 6-foot-4, 224-pound linebacker from Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.), could end up transferring to The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., for his senior year. Martin said Monday he's done all the paperwork to enroll at the school and he believes he would get accepted. But he's still waiting for approval from his mom.

"New Jersey is a weird situation because it hasn't been set in stone, pending my mother," Martin said. "But as far as anything goes, I'm staying at O'Dowd until further notice."

Martin, who also received offers from schools such as LSU and USC before he committed, said there is a chance he could end up at Hun, where he could go through the school's early enrollment program and end up at Notre Dame for the spring 2010 semester.

Martin said one of the main reasons he is considering transferring from O'Dowd is that the school doesn't have an early enrollment program.

"There is a chance that I might not be going, but that is up to my mother," Martin said.

There is also talk that the Irish might move Martin to defensive end.

Texas isn't the only team making early recruiting waves. Florida has gotten off to a hot start with a new emphasis on trying to secure commitments sooner than it has in the past.

The Gators landed commitments from offensive lineman Ian Silberman, quarterback Trey Burton and defensive backs Matt Elam and Demar Dorsey last fall; in the past week, the Gators scored commitments from defensive backs Victor Hampton of Independence (Charlotte, N.C.) and Jonathan Dowling of Southeast (Bradenton, Fla.).

Two years ago, Florida received its first commitment in mid-April and the Gators didn't receive their sixth commitment until late September. Last year, Florida could only claim one commitment in March and didn't get its sixth until early August.

"One reason you can get early commitments is because you've built a great relationship with the player and the coach," Florida wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Billy Gonzales said in an earlier interview with Rivals.com. "If you have a great relationship with the coach, he can give you an honest evaluation. Sometimes it was the player's dream coming up [to play at Florida]. I think it's good if a player is set on coming to that school and has made his mind up."

Another week, another seven commitments for Texas.

The Longhorns continue their unprecedented recruiting roll and are up to 19 commitments after adding seven players since late last week.

Running back Traylon Shead of Cayuga (Texas), offensive lineman Dominic Espinosa of Cedar Park (Texas) and wide receiver Ross Apo of Oakridge (Arlington, Texas) are the most recent blue-chip prospects to commit. All are in the Rivals250 to Watch for the class of 2010, and Texas now boasts commitments from 11 players on that list.

"It felt like a family when I committed," Apo said. "The atmosphere there is really something I want to be a part of. Everybody was having fun and getting along together. It was really like a family over there; that's what drew my attention to them."

Espinosa echoed Apo's thoughts.

"It's an opportunity of a lifetime," he said. "The coaching staff is great, and after seeing them up close, I just feel like everything is great. I'm not thinking about any other schools. This is my new family."

• It is almost becoming a daily occurrence that safety Sean Parker from Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) receives an offer. Thursday, Parker picked up his 14th scholarship offer overall and his ninth from a Pac-10 school (UCLA). The Bruins join Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Stanford, USC, Washington, Washington State, Colorado, Minnesota, Penn State, Georgia and Notre Dame as schools that have offered him.

Cody Ralston, a 6-2, 195-pound outside linebacker from Calhoun (Ga.), has become UCF's first commitment. Ralston also received some early interest from Purdue and LSU.

• Minnesota landed its second commitment, from cornerback Antoine Lewis of Proviso East (Maywood, Ill.). Arizona, Purdue and Northern Illinois have also shown interest in Lewis. Lewis joins Konrad Zagzebski of D.C. Everest (Schofield, Wis.) as Gopher pledges.

Nick Montana, son of Joe Montana, said last week he remains wide open after taking unofficial visits to Ohio State and Texas. The Longhorns no longer are after Montana, of Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.), after picking up two quarterback commitments. However, Ohio State is pushing hard along with Stanford, LSU, Alabama, Florida State and Arizona.

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