With Las Vegas, the desert heat and big-time fights, football in Nevada is often an afterthought. The state has two FBS programs, but neither is in a BCS conference. The talent pool is not deep, but it does have good players and programs from all around the West and Midwest making sure to keep tabs on the state.
Oklahoma has proved their luck to be good in Nevada recently, and Pac-10 power USC currently has a commitment from a Nevada resident in athlete Torin Harris (Las Vegas/ Palo Verde). Arizona State and Arizona don't currently have any commitments from Nevada, but both have had success here. The state also boasts some uncommitted prospects garnering serious attention from a bunch of BCS schools, like defensive end Keenan Graham (Las Vegas/Silverado) and athlete Kyle Van Noy (Reno, Nev./McQueen).
Justin Chaisson, defensive end
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
Verbal Commitment: Oklahoma
For the second time in four years, the Oklahoma Sooners have hit it big in Las Vegas. In the 2006 class they landed the state's No. 1 prospect in running back DeMarco Murray. Now they once again seem poised to sign the No. 1 prospect in that state with a commitment from Chaisson. Both players are from the same high school, Bishop Gorman, and Sooners fans are likely hoping Chaisson can be as big a success as his former teammate.
The nation's No. 7 end certainly has the tools and attitude to succeed once he hits Norman. He has a great frame and should be able to continue to fill out and develop into a physical beast.
"I know my strength is up there with college athletes," said Chaisson.
Any improvement in that area should only make the 6-foot-5, 252-pounder tougher to contain. Don't take his statement as overconfidence though; he seems to realize things will get tougher when he hits the Big 12.
"In getting ready for college I need to improve every aspect of my game," he said. "College is a whole new world."
Chaisson is having a solid senior season so far with close to 10 sacks and over 50 tackles.
Recruit under the radar
Karrington Armstrong, guard
McQueen HS (Reno, Nev.)
Verbal Commitment: Oregon
It can be hard to get some recognition when you play guard wedged down in the heart of the trenches. Sometimes though those guys deserve a little love, and when paid attention to they can put a big smile on the face of football fans.
If you like high-effort, smashmouth football, then you need to check out Armstrong. This kid lacks ideal type height, but he loves to play and it shows. More importantly, it translates into production.
He can create running lanes as he plays with good leverage and drives his feet. On the move he can be fun to watch because at 6-2, 300 pounds, he is load and can pop defenders. He has good balance and body control and is an effective blocker pulling and leading ball carriers up-field.
It had to be tough for the hometown Wolf Pack to loss him, but it is no surprise a BCS program came calling and Oregon got a good piece to its 2009 class.
On the Trail
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UNLV, 3 commits (Oct. 2)
The Rebels enjoyed a little time in the spotlight this season when they came into Sun Devil stadium and upset Arizona State. They are off to a solid start with a 3-2 record, but things remain slow on the recruiting trail. All three commitments are from out of state; one is an athletic, but raw quarterback prospect Caleb Herring (Perris, Calif./Citrus Hills).
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Nevada, 3 commits (Oct. 2)
The Wolf Pack may have just beat their in-state rival, but they are not faring much better on the recruiting trail. Like the Rebels they only have three current commitments. Two of Nevada's recruits are in-state prospects, and the third is quarterback David Fales out of Palma High School in California.
ESPNRISE.com Nevada Game of the Week
Palo Verde-Las Vegas (5-0) at Cimarron-Memorial (3-2), Friday, 10 p.m. ET:
It appears Palo Verde is pushing for the Class 4A state title after falling in the semifinals last season. The Panthers need this one to remain tied with Legacy-North Las Vegas atop the Sunset Region-Northwest Division. The two meet in the regular season finale Oct. 30.
As for this week, the athletic Torin Harris (6-0, 175) is the principle player. According to ESPN, he's the No. 40 athlete and is headed to USC.
The C-M Spartans are young, with only eight starters back and first-year coach Rod Vollan. That inexperience was evident as the Spartans lost their first two games but have since rallied for three straight wins. Last week, the Spartans topped Arbor View-Las Vegas 29-19, but Palo Verde will be a different story. -- Christopher Lawlor