Posted on: February 7, 2011 2:24 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 3:00 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Signing Day is over and now that there’s been a little time to reflect, we’re ranking the Big Ten recruiting classes (all 12 of them) and breaking them down at the same time.
1. Ohio State
Overview: Bringing in the top class in the Big Ten is nothing new for the Buckeyes. This group is filled with impact players, especially on defense. Linebackers Ryan Shazier and Curtis Grant and corner Doran Grant should be terrorizing opposing offenses for years to come.
Hidden gem: Offensive guard Michael Bennett is someone who could develop into an all-league type of lineman.
Pencil in for the fall: Quarterback Braxton Miller has enrolled early in order to compete for the starting job and could be the guy that fills in for Terrelle Pryor given his skill set.
Overview: The transition class to the Big Ten should have no problem coming in and helping the Cornhuskers win a bunch of games over the next few years. It will be interesting to see if star quarterback Bubba Starling chooses to actually enroll in Lincoln and not play professional baseball but for now, he’s part of this talented class.
Hidden gem: Athlete Jamal Turner can play all over the field but he could be best utilized as a game-breaking receiver.
Pencil in for the fall: Running back Aaron Green is one of the best backs in the country and should provide a nice complement to Rex Burkhead in Nebraska’s rushing attack.
Overview: Head coach Ron Zook is known as a terrific recruiter and once again he delivered with a very solid class after rumors swirled early that it would be his last season in Champaign. There’s a good number of players who can compete for playing time right away and the Illini did well in grabbing several out of state players.
Hidden gem: Dondi Kirby is a great athlete who was wanted by several powerhouse programs. He has the tools to become a great safety in college.
Pencil in for the fall: With the departure of Mikel LeShoure to the NFL, running back Donovonn Young could come in right away and get some playing time.
4. Michigan State
Overview: This class is headlined by Lawrence Thomas but there are several other very good players coming in. Wide receiver Juwan Caesar should be a favorite target of whoever is under center and Darien Harris has the tools to play special teams right away while eventually taking over at linebacker.
Hidden gem: Offensive tackle Donavon Clark has the frame to develop into a top flight lineman and is already very good in blocking for the run game.
Pencil in for the fall: Linebacker Lawrence Thomas is one of the best defensive players to head to East Lansing out of high school. He could play at defensive end and be a nice speed rusher or at linebacker.
Overview: The news of several Iowa players being sent to the hospital and the negative reaction to how Kirk Ferentz handled the situation didn’t seem to have any effect on this class. There were not a ton of highly rated guys but the ones they did get will fit in very nicely.
Hidden gem: Quarterback Jake Rudock is likely not going to start right away but he could develop into the signal caller of the future.
Pencil in for the fall: Given the attrition at running back, Rodney Coe should vie for early playing time as the next in the line of impressive freshmen running backs.
Overview: This class was hurt all year long by the rumors that Rich Rodriguez would be fired. Once the coach eventually was fired, several key commits went out the door as well, such as running back Dee Hart to Alabama. Nevertheless, new head coach Brady Hoke did a great job of keeping most of the class in the fold and even picking up a few kids.
Hidden gem: Corner Delonte Hollowell isn’t as highly regarded as fellow defensive back Blake Countess but he could still turn out to be a very good player in a secondary that needs all the help it can get.
Pencil in for the fall: The loss of Dee Hart and the lack of a big time tailback could mean Justice Hayes gets to line up next to Denard Robinson early in his career.
Overview: Another solid but not spectacular class for Wisconsin. Not getting quarterback Jacoby Brissett was a big loss but there are other pieces to build around. The coaching staff did do a good job of putting up a wall around the state and keeping the best players home.
Hidden gem: Jake Keefer is a very athletic player who should slide in at outside linebacker for the Badgers. He can put his hand on the ground if needed but should be a terror standing up and making plays.
Pencil in for the fall: A.J. Jordan is probably the most talented player in the class and should be able to provide a boost in the passing because he has terrific hands.
8. Penn State
Overview: Not expected to be a big class, the Nittany Lions still should have done better in terms of quality. They fill needs at offensive line with some great players but there just are not the athletes on defense that Joe Paterno needed to bring in.
Hidden gem: Bill Belton isn’t the biggest guy on the field but he can play a few different positions on offense and can be a threat just about anywhere.
Pencil in for the fall: Don’t be surprised if Angelo Mangiro is a quality backup who gets playing time early next season along the interior line. A few injuries could easily lead to a few starts down the road.
Overview: Like Penn State, not a large class but there’s some good underlying talent for the Wildcats. Linemen make up the bulk of the class but there are some talented skill position players mixed in as well.
Hidden gem: Quarterback Zach Oliver might have been a bit overlooked on the recruiting trail but he has all the tools to develop into a very good Big Ten signal caller based on his highlight reel.
Pencil in for the fall: Wide out Christian Jones would be a starter at a lot of programs and it wouldn’t be surprising if he makes an immediate impact in the Northwestern passing game once he steps on campus.
Overview: All things considered, new head coach Jerry Kill did a pretty good job making the recruiting transition from the MAC to the Big Ten. He kept most of the class intact and managed to fill several needs for the Gophers. They may not be four-stars but they’re solid nevertheless.
Hidden gem: Joe Bjorklund not only has a fitting name for a Big Ten offensive lineman but he could turn out to be a good one. A little on the skinny side for an interior lineman, Bjorklund has a very solid frame to add weight, which should only help his physical run-blocking style.
Pencil in for the fall: Tommy Olson is rated by many as the top lineman from the state of Minnesota so he should be somewhere on the two deep pretty quickly.
Overview: A very small class but one that should find a few contributors for the Boilermakers over the next few years.
Hidden gem: Tight end Robert Kugler is the son of Steelers offensive line coach Sean Kugler and you figure that acumen that comes from being the son of a coach will translate well in college, especially with the younger Kugler’s physical skills.
Pencil in for the fall: Linebacker Armstead Williams is one of the best defensive recruits to head to Purdue and it would surprise no one to see him playing significant time on defense by the end of the year.
Overview: Not exactly a huge surprise to see the Hoosiers on this list given their past recruiting history and the added burden of a staff change. Although they’re last in 2011, don’t be surprised if they make a climb on the rankings once Kevin Wilson has a full year to bring in recruits.
Hidden gem: Linebacker Kyle Kennedy does a good job reading a developing play and wrapping up when making a tackle. He’s also pretty good at shedding a block and seems like a very solid player going forward.
Pencil in for the fall: Athlete Shane Wynn is a playmaker and should be able to contribute at multiple positions on offense.
Tags: A.J. Jordan, Aaron Green, Angelo Mangiro, Armstead Williams, Big Ten, Big Ten Signing Day, Bill Belton, Blake Countess, Brady Hoke, Braxton Miller, Bubba Starling, Christian Jones, Curtis Grant, Darien Harris, Dee Hart, Delonte Hollowell, Denard Robinson, Donavon Clark, Dondi Kirby, Donovonn Young, Doran Grant, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Jacoby Brissett, Jake Keefer, Jake Rudock, Jamal Turner, Jerry Kill, Joe Bjorklund, Joe Paterno, Justice Hayes, Juwan Caesar, Kevin Wilson, Kirk Ferentz, Kyle Kennedy, Lawrence Thomas, MAC, Michael Bennett, Michigan, Michigan State, Mikel LeShoure, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Prudue, Rich Rodriguez, Robert Kugler, Rodney Coe, Ron Zook, Ryan Shazier, Shane Wynn, Terrelle Pryor, Tommy Olson, Wisconsin, Zach Oliver
Posted on: February 7, 2011 9:52 am
Edited on: February 7, 2011 10:14 am
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Another great Super Bowl, congrats to all of the Packers fans. Unlike the NFL however, college football knows that there will a game played when the calendar turns to fall.
- The PARADE All-America Team was announced yesterday, a terrific honor for all of the athletes selected.
- Interesting note about Iowa’s class of 2011 compared to a few other Big Ten classes, the new Hawkeyes live twice as far from Iowa City than Ohio State’s do from Columbus. That’s notable considering some of the out of state recruits the Buckeyes picked up this year.
- Good look at the recruitment of Isaiah Crowell and how the freshman might be ready to make an impact early at Georgia.
- Jadeveon Clowney has set his announcement time for Valentine’s Day and it’s still a three horse race between Clemson, South Carolina and Alabama.
- An update about some 2012 prospects for Michigan and who Brandy Hoke’s staff might target.
- It flew under the radar but the dates and locations for the Elite 11 quarterback camps were announced for 2011.
Posted on: February 2, 2011 3:50 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It couldn't have been easy for Arizona State on the recruiting trail this year, coming off of back-to-back disappointing seasons and with many of their Pac-12 rivals seemingly on the upswing. But on the plus side, they could at least rely on the fact that none of their potential recruits would choose a different school because some higher power showed them a license plate the night before Signing Day.
Well, we thought they could. But not according to new Nebraska defensive tackle Todd Peat Jr. :
“I was down to ASU and Nebraska," said Peat, Jr. "I was pretty much going to choose ASU, but was driving home last night and saw a Nebraska license plate, something I’d never seen before and took it as a sign that I should become a Cornhusker.”We're hoping Peat was joking around. Because it would be painful enough already for the Sun Devils to miss out on the Maxpreps No. 12 defensive tackle , doubly so when he's a hometown recruit from Corona Del Sol High School, right there in Tempe. To miss out because a random Nebraska driver happened across Peat's path would be just about unbearable.
Then again: it's National Signing Day. And anything goes. (At least the Devils will be able to console themselves with quarterback Michael Eubank, the No. 17 Maxpreps pocket passer. Eubank chose ASU over Utah and Pitt.)
Posted on: February 2, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: February 2, 2011 10:58 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Darian Cooper, a 6'1", 290-pound defensive tackle from DeMatha High School, just gave Iowa's recruiting class a boost by committing to the Hawkeyes this morning. Cooper was expected to select between Iowa, Michigan, and Georgia Tech. The story was first reported by Washington Post reporter Josh Barr.
Cooper was one of our three uncommitted players to watch in the Big Ten, considering the amount of help both Iowa and Michigan need on their respective defensive lines. Cooper should have a good shot to play as a true freshman, though his physical similarity to top returning DT Mike Daniels means that barring injury to Daniels, Cooper shouldn't expect to start in 2011. Still, he's got a bright future in Iowa City and Iowa coaches are undoubtedly thrilled to have this late addition to the class.
Posted on: February 2, 2011 12:42 am
Edited on: February 2, 2011 12:47 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
With Nebraska joining the already tradition-rich Big Ten, the pressure's going to be on the conference's best teams to keep producing more than ever. Here are some key factors coming into National Signing Day.
Players to Watch
Curtis Grant - With the news on Tuesday night that Ohio State was out of the running for Aundrey Walker, Curtis Grant is one of just two uncommitted prospects left on MaxPreps' Top 100 that's still considering the Buckeyes. If the Buckeyes do land Grant, however, he'll be the trophy of the class; Grant is a beast of a linebacker, with the size and speed to play inside or outside. Ohio State loses star linebackers Brian Rolle and Ross Homan this season, and the depth in the LB corps isn't great; between that and the value a fast, hard-hitting safety brings to special teams, it'd be a shock if Grant didn't get on the field immediately for OSU. The Buckeyes' main competition for Grant's services is Florida, though UNC or Virginia could potentially come into play here.
Andre Sturdivant - One of the top remaining prospects in Big Ten country is Andre "Tank" Sturdivant, who played linebacker this year but looks like a classic convert from MLB to DE; he's big and strong, and plays better north-and-south than in space. He could be a multiple-year starter at DE for most Big Ten teams, and he's still weighing his options for next year. Michigan State and Penn State appear to be neck-and-neck for the defender, while Toledo is the default "close to home" option for the Cleveland, Ohio native. Thing of it is, though, if Ohio State starts missing on its several last-minute prospects once the LOIs start rolling in and still has a scholarship open, we could easily see the Buckeyes make an offer to Sturdivant and let him stay close to home with a better program than MSU or PSU. There's really no telling where this commitment goes.
Darian Cooper - DT Darian Cooper is yet another legitimate D-I prospect from the football factory that is DeMatha HS in Baltimore, and it's easy to see why; Cooper is a cannonball of a defensive lineman, standing at 6'1" and weighing close to three bills. He's still fast enough to have lined up at end at times for DeMatha, and that first step quickness combined with his low point of leverage should be enough to give larger, slower offensive linemen nightmares. Cooper will choose between Michigan, Iowa, and Georgia Tech tomorrow, and considering the lack of depth on both Michigan and Iowa's defensive fronts, it seems like Cooper would find immediate playing time if he went to the Midwest.
Teams to Watch
Penn State - The Nittany Lions have the capacity to to fill up just about all of their 25 allotted signing spots this class. What they don't have are the commits themselves; only 15 players have announced verbal commitments to PSU thus far. Joe Paterno's age is obviously limiting the amount of recruiting he can do, and it can't have helped that defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was thisclose to heading to Pitt in the middle of recruiting season. If opposing teams are citing imminent instability in their negative recruiting against PSU, they're wise, and it's working; this class has no business being so small. Let's see if JoePa can work some magic and bring in some late names to help coax the 2011 freshman class into respectability.
Indiana - Yes, Indiana. Incoming head coach Kevin Wilson has an uphill battle ahead of him, but if his job keeping commitments on board is any indication of how much recruits like the guy, we could see a turnaround in Bloomington. Wilson kept four-star LB Zack Shaw (an April '10 verbal) in the fold, and just this past weekend TE Jake Reed canceled a visit to Iowa and rebuffed offers from Stanford and Louisville -- where Charlie Strong is recruiting like crazy -- to reaffirm his commitment to the Hoosiers. Those two have set a good example; Wilson now needs the rest of his class to follow suit when it comes time to put pen to paper.
Michigan - Coming into Tuesday, the Wolverines had six known offers out and room to accommodate them all; so far, one has committed and the other five are still available. They're no slouches, either; one is the aforementioned Darian Cooper, and the other five all have several major college offers. Brady Hoke could use a strong finish to an otherwise lackluster first recruiting class (hardly his fault, of course), and what better day for such a finish than Signing Day?
The Below-the-Radar Storyline You'll Need to Follow
It's obviously foolish to grant much immediate importance to recruiting rankings; only rarely do true freshmen substantially contribute to a team's success, and by the time most guys in a recruiting class find their way to the field, it's two or three years later and the work they've put in with the program generally outweighs their recruiting bona fides by then. And yet, it has to be pointed out that despite their recent BCS bowl berths, neither Wisconsin nor Iowa is recruiting at a level that's substantially higher than that of incoming Nebraska. Yes, Iowa and Wisconsin are both on the MaxPreps Top 25, but their inclusion over Nebraska may be due to little more than the fact that the Huskers only have 18 players committed, a relatively small class compared to the Hawkeyes and Badgers. Any illusions Big Ten foes may have harbored about a mediocre Nebraska program should be out the window by now.
Tags: Andre Sturdivant, Aundrey Walker, Big Ten, Big Ten Prospects, Big Ten Recruiting, Big Ten Recruiting 2011, Big Ten Signing Day, Big Ten Signing Day 2011, Charlie Strong, Curtis Grant, Darian Cooper, Darian Cooper, Florida, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa, Jake Reed, Joe Paterno, Kevin Wilson, Louisville, MaxPreps Top 100, MaxPreps Top 25, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Toledo, Tom Bradley, Top 100 Recruits, Top 25 Classes, Top 25 Recruiting Classes, Virginia, Wisconsin, Zack Shaw