Last season, quarterback Tate Forcier attracted most of the attention at Scripps Ranch (San Diego, Calif.) High. The attention was well-deserved, but some observers said all-purpose running back Brennan Clay deserved credit for much of the team's great success.
Clay has been a varsity starter since his freshman season. As a junior in 2008, he rushed for 1,453 yards and notced 1,055 yards receiving. He reached the end zone 26 times on offense and scored two times on kickoff returns.
"Brennan and I are very close friends, so I have no problem saying he was one of the biggest reasons our offense was so explosive," Forcier said last fall before ending up at Michigan. "He's the real deal."
College coaches agree, and Clay -- one of the nation's top 250 players -- has received offers from Michigan, Oregon, Stanford, Wisconsin, Baylor, San Diego State, Connecticut and Duke. His latest offer, from Oregon, was a pleasant surprise.
"My coach kind of gave me a hint, and said he had heard I talked to Oregon and it went real well," Clay said. "So he told me to check my email. My heart started racing really fast and then I got to read the email from coach [John] Neal, U of O secondary coach. It meant a lot to me."
But many believe Clay will join Forcier at Michigan, and Clay is trying to find a way to attend the Wolverines' spring game this weekend.
"We are trying to figure everything out economically right now, but I'm really hoping I can make it there," he said. "Michigan, it's been there from the get-go and it is in my top five. They are definitely going to have a fair shot at me, and I'll be able to visit out there sooner or later."
At this point, Clay's top five, in no particular order, are Oregon, USC, California, Michigan and Stanford. Distance isn't going to factor into Clay's decision, but he said having a good relationship with his future coaches will.
"I'm open to going anywhere -- West Coast, East Coast," he said. "It really isn't important. I just want to find a coach that will be real with me, on and off the field. That's what's important with this whole thing."
The second Elite 11 Regional Quarterback Camp was held this past weekend in Fort Worth, Texas, and several out-of-state players caught Rivals.com analyst Barry Every's eye.
He was impressed with Parkway West (Ballwin, Mo.) quarterback Tyler Gabbert, a 6-foot, 190-pounder and younger brother of Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
"It didn't take long to see that he had one of the strongest arms in the camp, and he kept the velocity for two hours," Every said. "He is talented enough that college coaches will be able to look past his height."
Oklahoma State commitment Johnny Deaton of Charles Page (Sand Springs, Okla.) also impressed.
"His release was so quick; it reminded me of someone flicking a penny with his thumb and middle finger," Every said. "Oklahoma State may have a real steal. He's mobile, makes quick decisions and has the arm strength to go deep."
Luther Burbank (Sacramento, Calif.) cornerback Terrance Mitchell has developed into one of the state's best defenders. As a junior, Mitchell helped his team secure a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II championship, and now college recruiters are starting to pay attention.
"Terrance received his first offer from Washington State assistant Jody Sears," said Terrance Mitchell Sr., Mitchell's father. "We are also in close communication with Oregon and Washington."
Mitchell performed well at the U.S. Army Combine and also at the recent Oakland Under Armour Combine. Those performances have helped get his name out there even more with college recruiters.
Nick Saban again has proven he has the ability to go virtually anywhere in the country and land a highly coveted player. Chad Lindsay, a 6-3, 307-pound guard from The Woodlands, Texas, committed to Alabama on Monday, turning down more than 20 scholarship offers.
"I am excited about going to Alabama. It is smash-mouth football, which is what I love," Lindsay said. "My trip was great there. I got some time with the coaches and the players, and I felt right at home. The facilities are great as well.
"It's a relief to have this behind me. It's been crazy since last April, and now it's over. Now I can concentrate on getting stronger, quicker and faster."
• Iowa landed a major commitment from Fitzgerald (Warren, Mich.) inside linebacker Austin Gray on Monday. Gray (6-2/212) is one of the top defensive players in Michigan and racked up more than 200 tackles in the past two seasons. He also received offers from Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Central Michigan, Toledo, Illinois and Indiana.
• Seattle O'Dea offensive lineman Ben Riva is heading to Washington after turning down an offer from Washington State. Riva (6-7/285) also was getting attention from Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, USC, Stanford and UCLA.
• Potosi (Mo.) High running back Brandon Bourbon has added his second scholarship offer, from Harvard. After receiving an early offer from Stanford, Bourbon (6-2/205) picked up the academic offer from Harvard this week. As a junior, Bourbon rushed for 2,400 yards and 29 touchdowns. He's also getting interest from Iowa, Missouri, Vanderbilt and some other Big 12 programs.
• Ryle (Union, Ky.) tight end Tate Nichols (6-7/235) has committed to Stanford. He also received offers from Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky and Louisville. The pledge is the fifth known commitment for Stanford.