WIR: Big week for Big East
Matt Simms' (Franklin Lakes, N.J./Don Bosco) verbal commitment to Louisville shouldn't have been much of a surprise.
Matt, son of former Super Bowl MVP and current CBS NFL analyst Phil Simms and brother of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms, will return to the state where his dad was born and played his college ball at Morehead State.
He chose Louisville over offers from Rutgers (more on that later), Boston College, Arizona State and Tennessee, which apparently didn't hold a grudge against the family. Remember, brother Chris had verbally committed to Tennessee before signing with Texas.
The younger Simms may not have the same talent as his brother, but he's a bright player who should thrive in Louisville's system. He led one of the best high school teams in New Jersey, Don Bosco Prep, to an 11-1 record last season. Plus, he's had the advantage of having his dad, always one of the more cerebral quarterbacks in the NFL, around while he has developed as a passer.
Simms and his Don Bosco teammates will take on St. Joseph's Prep (Pa.) on ESPNU on Sept. 8.
A lot of hoopla followed Rutgers' berth and decent showing in the Insight.com Bowl last December -- a 45-40 loss to a mediocre Arizona State team -- but has it translated to the recruiting front?
Yes and no. Like last year, when elite Garden Staters like Myron Rolle (Galloway, N.J./The Hun School of Princeton) and Antwine Perez (Camden, N.J.) never really considered Rutgers, this year's top New Jersey recruits don't seem to be paying the Scarlet Knights much attention.
Of the six ESPN 150 recruits who hail from New Jersey, three are headed to Notre Dame -- tight end Mike Ragone (Cherry Hill/Camden Catholic), wide receiver Duval Kamara (Hoboken) and defensive end Justin Trattou (Ramsey/Don Bosco) -- and one, safety Domonique Herald (Pennington), is headed to Maryland.
However, Rutgers has gotten a verbal commitment from Desmond Stapleton (Union, N.J.), rated the top offensive tackle in New Jersey. He's one of four in-state verbals Rutgers has picked up among the 10 it has received so far. Three of those 10 have come from Florida, a state head coach Greg Schiano still has some success recruiting.
Bottom line: It might take one or two more successful seasons before New Jersey's top players want to hang around for the cold New Brunswick winter.
• South Florida, maybe the quietest team in a BCS conference, picked up a nice verbal from quarterback Alton Voss (New Port Richey, Fla./Gulf). Voss is the fourth-ranked quarterback in Florida and stuck with South Florida, which started recruiting him early on.
• Iowa, which last year got off to a slow start in recruiting, is off and running this year. This week the Hawkeyes picked up their second ESPN 150 verbal, this one from inside linebacker Brian Smith (Overland Park, Kan./Saint Thomas Aquinas). They also received a verbal from cornerback Abe Satterfield (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep), who chose Iowa over Bowling Green.
• Want to read into Penn State's verbal from guard Quinn Barham (Durham, N.C./Hillside)? North Carolina has two verbals from Pennsylvania guards Mike Dykes (Pittsburgh/Woodland Hills) and Cameron Holland (Pittsburgh/Perry), so could it be that Penn State was sending a message by recruiting an offensive lineman from the Tar Heels' backyard?
• Simms' Louisville commitment seemed to push QB Larry Smith (Prattville, Ala.), who also had an offer from the Cardinals, toward his other option. He verbally committed to Vanderbilt.
Henry Gola is recruiting editor for ESPN.com and Scouts Inc.