Notre Dame still has the numbers edge, but Florida State has the momentum as the national football recruiting scramble enters its final weekend before Wednesday's signing date.
The Fighting Irish lead the nation with 13 oral commitments among the nation's Top 100 players, selected for United Press International by Houston recruiting analyst Max Emfinger. Wednesday is the first day high school players can sign college letters of intent, and Notre Dame is the general favorite at this point to corral the nation's best recruiting class.Florida State, however, is closing fast. The Seminoles have seven oral commitments, as does Michigan. UCLA is next with four, followed by Auburn, Southern Cal, Nebraska, Ohio State, Florida, Louisiana State and Clemson with three each. Miami, Georgia, West Virginia and Texas each have two Top 100 commitments.
Notre Dame, as usual, is snapping up players nationwide. The national champion has commitments from Top 100 players in Indiana, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Texas, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Illinois, Georgia and California.
Quarterback Rick Mirer of Goshen, Ind., who broke the Indiana passing records of Jeff George, the nation's No. 1-ranked prospect of 1986, leads the Irish list.
Florida State, on the other hand, is sticking close to home. All seven of the Seminoles' Top 100 commitments are from Florida, which has the most representatives on the national team, and Emfinger said Saturday the Seminoles could challenge or pass Notre Dame for the mythical recruiting title.
One of the Seminoles' latest commitments came from defensive end Sterling Palmer of Fort Lauderdale, the No. 2-ranked player in the nation. Overall, Florida State expects to sign four of the top 25 players - Palmer, wide receiver Eric Turral of Tallahassee, quarterback Kenny Felder of Niceville and defensive end Eric Shaw of Pensacola - more than any other school.
Michigan also is enjoying nationwide recruiting success, with Top 100 players from Indiana, Colorado, Ohio, Massachusetts and Illinois in addition to Michigan. Tight end Tony McGee of Terre Haute, Ind., the No. 15 player nationwide, is the Wolverines' top commitment.
At least 74 players had given non-binding oral commitments as of Saturday, and a surprisingly large number - 42 - expect to sign with schools out of their home states. Three of UCLA's four Top 100 commitments, for example, are from Texas, and the fourth is from Missouri.
Four players in the national Top 10 remain uncommitted, led by No. 1-ranked Terry Kirby, a running back from Tabb, Va. Linebacker Rich McKenzie of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., defensive tackle Rich Sutton of Tucker, Ga., and linebacker Jessie Armstead of Dallas also are unsigned among the Top 10.
Armstead plans to announce his decision in style. The linebacker from Carter High School in Dallas has scheduled a Wednesday news conference at the Loews Anatole hotel, one of the city's finest, to announce his decision.