First, some breaking news: Notre Dame has offered Conor Hanratty, the son of former Irish All-American and NFL quarterback Terry Hanratty. The 6-4, 300-pound offensive lineman from New Caanan, Connecticut, also has offers from Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa, Stanford and Clemson.
Ironically, the nephew of former Notre Dame quarterback Coley O'Brien, who subbed for the injured Terry Hanratty in the famous Notre Dame/Michigan State game in 1966, is the top-rated quarterback in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. area. He is Kevin Hogan, a 6-4, 200-pounder at Gonzaga Prep in Washington, D.C. Hogan has offers from Maryland, Virginia and Rutgers.
Now let's resume my trip along the East Coast. North Carolina is loaded this year. The state boasts some of the leading prospects in the country, including tight ends Drew Owens of Charlotte and Eric MacLain of Fayetteville, nose guard Shawn Underwood of Fuqua and linebacker Stephone Anthony of Wadesboro.
MacLain, a 6-5, 248-pounder, had committed to Tennessee under former coaches Phil Fulmer and Lane Kiffin but has since de-committed and is considering offers from most of the ACC schools. He said Notre Dame is his dream school but the Irish haven't offered.
Owens, a 6-5, 230-pounder, is the best tight end in the state. He has offers from all SEC and ACC schools.
Underwood, a 6-2, 315-pounder has offers from every school in the ACC. I don't know if I have seen a better nose guard this year.
Anthony, a 6-3, 220-pounder, is among the three best linebackers in the nation. He and James Wilder of Tampa, Fla., are the two best I have seen. Anthony has offers from Texas Tech to USC to NotreDame to Stanford. He definitely is a first-team All-American.
Illinois has offered K.J. Brent of Waxhaw, the best wide receiver in the state. The 6-4, 180-pounder also has offers from Wisconsin and several ACC schools. Last season, he caught 47 passes for 800 yards and seven touchdowns.
Wisconsin has offered A.J. Willis, a 6-3, 180-pound wide receiver from High Point. He also has several ACC offers. He has 4.4 speed and averaged 29 yards per kickoff return last season.
Michigan has offered Kris Frost, a 6-3, 210-pound linebacker from Charlotte.
Other standouts are 6-0, 180-pound cornerback T.J. Thorp of Durham, 6-0, 195-pound running back Brian Riggins of Tabor City and 6-3, 200-pound wide receiver Nigel King of Raleigh.