Pitt scores points with Middleton's Murdock

Recruiting Notebook

Published January 16, 2007

TAMPA - If Middleton cornerback Sherod Murdock's recruiting journey remains on its current track, he is bound to bump into Jimmy Johnson before the month is out.

Murdock just returned from his official visit to Pittsburgh, where ex-Miami Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt is cultivating his third signing class, and heads this weekend to the University of Alabama to meet another former Dolphins boss, Nick Saban.

Murdock visited Kansas two weekends ago and said Monday he has narrowed his college choices to those three. The Pittsburgh trip, he said, left a highly favorable impression.

"It was good, real good," he said. "They took us on the college tour, then we went around campus and downtown and everything. Then later on, we went to Heinz Field and ate at Heinz Field."

Murdock committed to Alabama last year, long before Mike Shula was fired, but said he was "really excited" about Saban's hiring. All three schools are recruiting him as a cornerback.

BOUND FOR BLUEGRASS COUNTRY: Following what his dad called a successful recruiting trip to VMI this past weekend, Armwood quarterback Justin Hickman makes an official visit to Division I-AA Morehead (Ky.) State this week.

The Eagles are recruiting Hickman, who ran for more than 600 yards and 16 touchdowns last season in Armwood's triple-option offense, as a running back and receiver. VMI is recruiting him as a quarterback.

JONES LIKES ELON: Wharton linebacker Josh Jones visited Division I-AA Elon (N.C.) University and said he was pretty happy with what he saw.

"The facilities are nice and getting improved," Jones said. "The (coaches) also said that I would have a real good chance of playing right away."

Jones said Elon offered him a scholarship, but he is weighing options that include Illinois State and Florida Atlantic. Jones visits Illinois State the weekend of Jan. 26. Florida Atlantic, he said, may be too heavy at linebacker.

EYES ON THE IVY: Two county standouts - Berkeley Prep defensive lineman Evan Eisenberg and Tampa Catholic quarterback Dickie de Lama - have drawn strong interest from non-scholarship Ivy League programs.

Eisenberg could be headed to Cornell, Buccaneers coach Frank Sullivan said, while de Lama confirmed Friday he is seriously considering Harvard. Both possess the academic credentials to qualify.

Times staff writer Scott Purks contributed to this report.