High School: Arizona Wildcats
Parish Episcopal School senior linebacker Rob Hankins, the nation's ninth-ranked inside linebacker by ESPNU, has committed to Arizona for the Class of 2011.
The 6-1, 215-pound Hankins recorded 136 tackles (25 for loss), 12 sacks, four fumble recoveries and one interception last season. He also considered offers from California, Boise State, Colorado, Miami, Texas A&M and UCLA.
Verbal commitments are nonbinding.
What the Allen quarterback found was a new front-runner.
Brown switched his commitment from Arizona to TCU in late January after the Horned Frogs showed him what they had to offer, and he signed with the school on Wednesday at a signing party at the Allen Activity Complex.
"It turned out my backup plan was a little better fit for me," Brown said. "It's like a big, huge family there. They are a team. They think being together will help them win games. They recruit players that want to play."
Brown committed to Arizona in part because of the school's prestigious meteorology school, but when offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes took the head coaching job at Louisiana Tech, Brown waited by the phone for reassurance from the Wildcats.
The call never came, and Brown hit the phone himself to find what options were still available. After calls to everyone from Notre Dame to Oregon, Brown found most schools had filled their need at quarterback, except TCU, which Brown thinks can expand on its breakout 2009 season.
And he can still pursue meteorology at TCU. The National Weather Service is right down the street.
"I want to win a national championship," Brown said. "I feel like TCU has a chance to do that. It's only a matter of time before TCU gets a BCS [title] berth. I really like the offense a lot."
Brown capped a highly decorated career at Allen with a strong senior season, throwing for 2,412 yards and 24 touchdowns while rushing for 1,166 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He lead the Eagles to 10 straight wins in 2009 before a double-overtime loss to Southlake Carroll in the second round of the playoffs in an instant classic at Cowboys Stadium. Allen won a state title in 2008, but Brown was injured in the playoffs and didn't play in the title game.
Two of Brown's offensive lineman also signed on Wednesday. Tackles Luke Burleson and Cedric Ogbuehi signed with Baylor and Texas A&M, respectively.
Walsh also had early scholarship offers from Arizona, Kansas and Houston. Regional powers Texas and Oklahoma were showing heavy interest.
He is the third Class of 2011 commitment for Oklahoma State, joining Plano West offensive lineman Travis Cross.
The path to a district title doesn't get any easier for Plano East's defense.
A week after shutting down Plano West's dynamic passing game, East (5-2 overall, 4-0 in District 8-5A) must do the same to defending 5A champion Allen (7-1, 4-0) on the road at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The game will decide the 8-5A champion.
While East's secondary came through against West by blanketing receivers, the onus is on the front seven against Allen. The defensive line will have its hands trying to contain QB Matt Brown, who has orally committed to Arizona.
The Eagles' offense is similar to East's. Brown is Allen's leading rusher with 699 yards and 14 touchdowns, much like QB Ryan Foster is East's leading rusher with 704 yards and seven touchdowns.
Luke Burleson (Baylor commit) and Cedric Ogbuehi (Texas A&M commit) lead Allen's offensive line, which features four returning starters that have no trouble opening holes.
"They're pretty much a complete football team offensively," East head coach Johnny Ringo said. "You definitely have to focus on ways to stop Brown but they also have other challenging people as well."
East's 34-25 win over West clinched the team's first playoff berth since 2006. Trailing 19-14, the game turned in East's favor early in the third quarter when WR Gabe Carter scored on a flea-flicker. The Panthers recovered the ensuing onside kick and scored on its next two possessions to seal the win.
"Momentum was on our side," Ringo said. "That's why we went to the onside kick. We were able to maintain momentum."
East's defense did the rest. West QB Michael Pruneau was held to a season-low 207 passing yards as the Wolves receivers had trouble getting open against the Panthers secondary.