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Nick Saban stocks up, Dorial Green-Beckham stays home

By Ralph D. Russo

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 1 2012 4:16 p.m. MST

With NCAA sanctions kicking in at USC, Lane Kiffin had 10 fewer scholarships to hand out this year.

While the quantity is down, the quality of the Trojans' class was not, and Kiffin's crew made a couple of big scores in Florida on signing day.

Defensive end Leonard Williams from Daytona Beach, Fla., and receiver Nelson Algholor from Tampa both chose the Trojans.

After announcing his decision on ESPNU, Algholor said he was looking forward to catching passes from Matt Barkley, who decided to return for his senior season.

Looks like Kiffin can thank his quarterback for that victory.

SNUBBING THE IRISH

Did Case Keenum get a seventh year of eligibility?

Maybe the most surprising signing day flip-flop came from receiver Deontay Greenberry from Fresno, Calif., who backed off of a long-standing verbal commitment to Notre Dame and signed with Houston.

"Out of left field," Farrell said.

Greenberry made a last visit to Houston, but was still considered a lock to end up in South Bend, Ind., as one of the top prizes of coach Brian Kelly's class. His cousin, cornerback Tee Shepherd, has already enrolled at Notre Dame.

Instead, Greenberry is off to Houston to play for new coach Tony Levine, whose Cougars will still use a pass-heavy offense even with Keenum out of eligibility.

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LONGHORN'S LATE PITCH

Signing day at Texas tends to be pretty boring. Mack Brown's classes are usually locked up airtight weeks, if not months, before letters of intent start setting off the fax machines.

This year, however, the Longhorns swooped in late to pick up linebacker Torshiro Davis, who is from Shreveport and had committed to LSU.

For the second straight year, Texas signed one of the most highly regarded running backs in the country, landing Johnathan Gray from Aledo, Texas, to go with last year's freshman sensations Joe Bergeron and the other Mack Brown.

COMMITTED, BUT NOT SIGNED

Quarterback Jameis Winston from Hueytown, Ala., said in an interview on ESPNU: "I'm a Nole."

But he also said he won't sign a letter of intent with Florida State until at least Friday. Winston seems intent on sticking with the Seminoles, but until it's official Jimbo Fisher will no doubt have to sweat it out.

Stanford has at least caught Winston's attention.

As for Florida State, Fisher signed a second consecutive class rated in the top 10 by the analysts — which should only make Seminoles fans even more eager for their team's long-awaited return to national championship contention.

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STAYING HOME

Dorial Green-Beckham, born in St. Louis and adopted by a family from Springfield, Mo., made the hometown fans happy by signing with the Tigers.

At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, the receiver already looks like an NFL prototype, comparable to stars such as Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson.

He whittled his choices down to Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri in January, and on Wednesday morning at Hillcrest High School he picked the Tigers.

"I felt like they've (Missouri) been there since Day One," Green-Beckham said.

Missouri first offered him a scholarship at the age of 15.

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RU SERIOUS? YES, RUTGERS

When Greg Schiano left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, the fear was that Rutgers would loss much of what was being touted as its best recruiting class ever.

In the end, new coach Kyle Flood and the rest of the staff kept it together.

Rutgers lost only one player that had previously committed and came away with a class that included most of the top players in New Jersey, a typically solid state for producing football players, though often those players don't go to Rutgers.

The cream of the class was Darius Hamilton, a defensive end from Ramsey, N.J., and the son of former NFL player Keith Hamilton.

"This shows you how good a job the assistant coaches did because in the end Schiano didn't matter," Farrell said. "These kids wanted to play for Rutgers."

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrusso

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