Posted by Bryan Fischer
It was a busy Thursday night for commitments at the Offense-Defense Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Four players committed to schools according to reports and each were major additions to their respective recruiting classes.
Westville (N.J.) defensive tackle Jamil Pollard was the first to put the hats on the table and picked up a Penn State one, according to multiple reports. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound interior presence makes up for the loss of Tommy Schutt to Ohio State earlier this month.
Pollard is ranked as the 10th best defensive tackle by MaxPreps in the class of 2012 and selected PSU over Boston College and also held offers from Alabama and Florida among others. He is the 14th commitment for Penn State's class of 2012.
"He shows enormous strength, burst off the ball, and an aggressive, take no prisoners style of play," analyst Tom Lemming said. "This young man never quits, never lets up, and he will chase until the whistle. He just fires off the snap and is an explosive violent tackler. He shows quick hands and surprising range for a 285 pounder. He's also considered a Division I prospect at the tackle position on offense but prefers to play DT."
That wasn't the only big lineman to commit at the game. Las Vegas (Nev.) offensive guard Cedrick Poutasi gave Utah's recruiting class a big boost when he committed to the Utes.
"This guy proves to be very explosive off the line and he's powerful, quick-footed, smart, and tough. Has a take no prisoners' attitude at the LT position and doesn't just like to block players, he likes to bury them," said Lemming. "He does a very good job of getting into position in both the run and pass game, sealing off defenders, and keeps his legs moving while he's finishing off his blocks. He runs exceptionally well for a 325 pounder and will do nothing but get better."
In a good year for linemen out West, Poutasi was one of the better interior linemen and is a notable pickup as the program continues to transition to the Pac-12. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound guard also held offers from Arizona, Oregon and Oklahoma State among others.
Poutasi is Utah's 17th commitment for the class of 2012 and sixth on the offensive line.
In addition, Lyndhurst (Ohio) tight end/defensive end Pharaoh Brown committed to Oregon.
"I was blown away by his pass rushing skills, instincts, and potential," said Lemming. "A tall, lengthy DE, he will gain 40 to 50 pounds over the next couple of years and develop into an All-American pass rusher. He's not yet there but he looks very good on junior film. He's as athletic as they come, can dunk a basketball with either hand, does a great job of playing off blocks, staying on his feet, and getting to the ball."
The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Brown was previously committed to Michigan but recently reopened his recruitment. Maxpreps ranks him as 25th in the class as a defensive end but he'll likely head to Eugene as the Ducks' second tight end in 2012.
Pleasant Grove (Utah) guard/tackle Brandon Fanaika continued the run of linemen committing at the game, pledging to Stanford over local school Utah State. The 6-foot-4, 310-pounder can play on either side of the ball for the Cardinal but will likely end up as an offensive guard.
"Shows very good feet, a passion for the game, and an aggressive style of play," said Lemming. "He performs very well at LT and OG and is exceptional at DT. He's one of those types of players with the attitude that he will not stay blocked. Shows exceptional initial quickness off the ball, strong hands, keeps his pads low, and knows how to split the double team. Very strong, he can dominate the point of attack and is known for his ability to stop everything up the middle."
Stanford is losing several offensive linemen so Fanaika will at the very least provide depth for the team. He is Stanford's 16th commit for the upcoming class and fourth to join the line.