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Tag:Jerry Kill
Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:33 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 1:12 pm
 

Big Ten Signing Day Overview



Posted by Bryan Fischer


National Signing Day is almost here and recruits across the country are gearing up for plenty of last-minute pitches and school visits as head coaches look to shape their program for years to come. The Big Ten used to be like the football on the field against SEC opponents, a step slow and a little behind. That's no longer the case thanks to recent hires Urban Meyer at Ohio State and Brady Hoke at Michigan. They say the rivalry between the two schools is everyday and based on how the two newcomers are hitting the recruiting trail, the Midwest is suddenly one of the top battlegrounds in the country.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings, Big Ten
College Commits Top 100 Moving
3. Michigan 24 4
5. Ohio State 23 5

Top storylines

1. Who else does Urban Meyer flip?

Big Ten meet Urban, he's a good recruiter. Some would call him relentless. In just a short time since his hiring, Meyer has taken the Buckeyes from middle of the back in the conference to one of the top five classes nationally. He's flipped several players and seems to have targeted what was Penn State's recruiting class in particular. Not everybody was spared, including Michigan State who lost Se'Von Pittman. Although scholarship reductions will put a crunch on the numbers, the current group isn't a finished product and the Buckeyes are still in the running for players like Armani Reeves so it's possible Meyer scores another big time player.

2. Does Michigan win the head-to-head battle with Ohio State?

At one point, Michigan was lapping the rest of the Big Ten when it came to recruiting but with Meyer in Columbus, the equation has changed slightly. The Wolverines have undergone some defections in the last month but the group of current commitments still adds depth at much needed positions and gives the program what might be the best incoming offensive line group in the country. It's possible to call the two schools' classes equal on the home stretch even if Michigan is ahead in the latest Maxpreps team rankings. The Buckeyes have more star power and are loaded along the defensive line, will that be enough to overtake a deep group of UM commits come Signing Day? Should be interesting to find out.

3. Does anyone else come close?

There's only two conference teams listed in the top 25 classes and that about sums up the situation in the Midwest. To be in an analogous mood, Ohio State is like a Ferrari and Michigan is a Lamborghini while the rest of the Big Ten is driving Yugos. It's not that there's bad players coming in, it's just that there's not enough of them. Indiana, Minnesota and others appear to be set in terms of recruiting but they are not filled with elite players. Michigan State, Wisconsin and others have gone for quality but haven't come close to getting any quantity. It should make for an interesting conference reset come February 2 to see if anybody can cobble together a top 25 class and even come close to what Michigan and Ohio State have done on the recruiting trail.

4. What does newcomer Nebraska's class look like?

It's not big, it's not spectacular and it's left many fans wondering what the heck is up. We're not talking about the latest menu addition at Jack-in-the-Box but Nebraska's recruiting class. Although the season fell short of expectations not many expected the Cornhuskers to struggle this much in terms of recruiting. There's some solid players among the commits, such as wide out Jordan Westerkamp and linebacker Michael Rose but there doesn't appear to be a huge name to be found among the bunch that can come in and leave an impression. The overall number of commits, 13 a week away from Signing Day, is also concerning. It's very possible that Bo Pelini ends up with a decent class of 2012 but, at the moment, it's going to take a lot of work to do so.

Most impressive class: Ohio State

Most underrated class: Wisconsin

Work left to do: Nebraska

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
3. Noah Spence DE Ohio State
14. Stefon Diggs WR Uncommitted
26. Josh Garnett OL Uncommitted
34. Vince Biegel LB Wisconsin
40. Phillip Nelson QB Minnesota
 47. Tommy Schutt DT Ohio State
49. Adolphus Washington DE Ohio State
52. Chris Wormley DL Michigan
54. Greg Garmon RB Iowa
55. Jordan Westerkamp WR Nebraska
 

Assistant recruiters of note:

Mike Ekeler, Indiana
Eric Johnson, Iowa
Fred Jackson, Greg Mattison and Mark Smith, Michigan
Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
Matt Limegrover, Minnesota
John Papuchis, Nebraska
Matt MacPherson, Northwestern
Luke Fickell, Tom Herman and Everett Withers, Ohio State
Larry Johnson, Mac McWhorter and Ron Vanderlinden, Penn State
Gary Nord, Purdue
Mike Markuson and Matt Canada, Wisconsin

Head coach under pressure: Bill O'Brien, Penn State

Top Big Ten class prediction: Ohio State

Top Big Ten signee: Noah Spence

Big Ten school-by-school
Legends Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
19 DE Faith Ekakite
RB Greg Garmon
DT Jaleel Johnson
A solid class that is heavy along both lines, Ekakite and Johnson are two top pick ups for the Hawkeyes. Given depth issues and his talent, Garmon has a chance to start right away.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
OL Kyle Kalis
OL Erik Magnuson
DB Terry Richardson
The Wolverines held the top spot in the class rankings for most of the year and still have a chance to finish there on Signing Day. This is a great group, especially on the o-line, that fills most of the team's depth needs and should make defensive coordinator Greg Mattison very happy.
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 WR Aaron Burbridge
LB Jamal Lyles
QB Tyler O'Connor
A solid but not spectacular class, the Spartans have several diamonds in the rough (so to speak). O'Connor might need a few years but he's got the talent to develop into a very good Big Ten signal-caller.
- Team page
- Commitment list
28 QB Phillip Nelson
OL Jonah Pirsig
 It's not often the Gophers land one top 250 player so it's impressive that Jerry Kill was able to snag two of them. Nelson is a local kid who should adjust well after a redshirt year. There's plenty of Juco transfers to help provide an immediate boost.
- Team page
- Commitment list
13 DE Greg McMullen
OL Paul Thurston
WR Jordan Westerkamp
Needless to say, Bo Pelini still has a lot to work on with this class. The size stands out first and it remains to be seen if the Huskers close strong or just fill out spaces this year. Westerkamp is a good pick up who should play early.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 RB Malin Jones
DE Ifeadi Odenigbo
OL Ian Park
It's always difficult to project where Northwestern's class ends up but there a lot of solid contributors in this group mixed with some impact players like Jones. Odenigbo is a huge boost and should be a situational pass rusher from the start.
Leaders Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 DB TaJarvis Fuller
DT Teko Powell
DT Vontrell Williams
Ron Zook didn't exactly get this class off to a flying start and once he was fired, it took a further nose dive. There's some solid players committed so far but it remains to be seen what becomes of this essentially lost class.
- Team page
- Commitment list
24 LB Jacarri Alexander
WR Kevin Davis
Kevin Wilson has gone after a few guys that fit his system and though they might not be as big or fast as others, might work out just fine in Bloomington.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 RB Bri'onte Dunn
DT Tommy Shutt
DE Noah Spence
DE Adolphus Washington
This class was dead in the water for most of the year but has quickly gone from so-so to top five nationally thanks to Meyer. There's a few offensive contributors but the real star power in this group is along the front seven.
- Team page
- Commitment list
18 TE Jesse James
RB Akeel Lynch
DB Armani Reeves
It's amazing this class is as big as it is given all that has happened in State College and the fact that the new head coach hasn't done any in-home visits. James is the best of the bunch and has the potential to be an all-conference tight end.
- Team page
- Commitment list
25 QB Austin Appleby
QB Bilal Marshall
OL Jordan Roos
DE Ryan Watson
The Boilermakers got themselves a steal in the strong-armed Appleby. Watson and Roos will be two solid contributors along each line too.
- Team page
- Commitment list
11 LB Vince Biegel
QB Bart Houston
OL Dan Voltz
OL Walker Williams
Quality not quantity is the phrase used for the Badgers class. While there's not a breakaway skill position player in the group, the OL is one of the best in the conference and Houston is a perfect fit for the offense at quarterback.

Posted on: October 27, 2011 10:14 am
 

10/27 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

- Realignment is becoming a recruiting issue for some Big East coaches.

  Wide receiver Jehu Chesson will visit Michigan this weekend.

  2013 offensive lineman Austin Bland was offered by Purdue.

  Michigan State hosted cornerback Ezra Robinson and the visit went well.

  How will Randy Edsall recruit more speed and athleticism to Maryland?

  In-state recruiting is vital for Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill.

  Kyle Murphy is playing the recruiting game at his pace and recently returned from Oregon.

  Nebraska is hosting several notable visitors this week.
Posted on: August 12, 2011 11:01 am
Edited on: August 12, 2011 11:04 am
 

Ranking the Big Ten recruiting classes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

1. Michigan

Not much to say about the top class in the country other than to say you have to be impressed with what Brady Hoke has done without coaching a game. He's landed the elite Midwest talent and also gone to Utah, Tennessee and California to fill out the rest of the spots. There's plenty of players who should see early playing time as Hoke transforms the program in Ann Arbor.

2. Penn State (#20)

This is a meat and potatoes group for Joe Paterno as eight players are offensive or defensive lineman. There's no elite skill position player but quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg is a good pick up and tight end Jesse James was impressive this summer in 7-on-7. There are still some elite prospects the program could add but it's doubtful they can move up to the top spot.

3. Michigan State (#23)

The Spartans are seeing a little bit of a bounce from their big season last year with this class, landing players such as end Se'Von Pittman and Elite 11 quarterback Tyler O'Connor. They've gone out of region more and while they're not doing as well as in-state rival Michigan, there's a lot of solid, building block players.

4. Ohio State

Buckeyes are facing the double barrel of having their head coach gone and the possibility of NCAA sanctions, both of which are, without a doubt, effecting the program's recruiting. There's no true elite prospect, running back Brionte Dunn is as close as the school gets and he's has the weakest commitment in the class.

5. Indiana

Why is Indiana in the top half of the recruiting rankings? Number one quarterback and number two overall prospect Gunner Kiel is the biggest reason why. Head coach Kevin Wilson has done a good job overall of getting Midwest talent beyond the crown jewel too.

6. Wisconsin

A small but talented class, Wisconsin has the best bang for your buck in the Big Ten. Bart Houston is an Elite 11 and top 100 quarterback who is a perfect fit for the Badgers offense and linebacker Vince Biegel should be able to get into the lineup sooner rather than later.

7. Northwestern

An under the radar but solid effort from the Wildcats this year. Running back Malin Jones and guard Adam DePietro are both very good pickups. There's a little bit of a mix of in-state players and because of Northwestern's academic reputation, some national players in there too.

8. Iowa

The Hawkeyes are used to evaluating late and closing their class strong the past couple of months. This year they have a pretty solid start as cornerback Maurice Fleming is a good get from Chicago and offensive lineman Jaleel Johnson is a very good lineman.

9. Minnesota

Who wouldn't want to play for a coach named Kill? This class surprisingly has several players from the state of Florida (5) and the staff has locked up most of the in-state talent this year. Altogether a solid effort this year for the Gophers.

10. Nebraska

What's Nebraska doing down at number ten? Well it's a numbers game and the Cornhuskers just don't have them. They have a good group with linebacker Michael Rose and end Greg McMullen but they'll need to step up the number of commits soon.

11. Purdue

The headliner is quarterback Austin Appleby who has the size of a college signal-caller while still in high school. He impressed at the Elite 11 and has two targets in the pair of tight ends committed. Anytime a third of your class is kickers however, there's a reason why you're near the bottom of the conference.

12. Illinois

Also a smaller class, Ron Zook has recruited all over the country without focusing on one area in particular. There's potential in this group but the Illini still need to build some momentum.

Posted on: February 7, 2011 2:24 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2011 3:00 pm
 

Big Ten Recruiting Breakdown

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.

2. Nebraska

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.

3. Illinois

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.

5. Iowa

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.

6. Michigan

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.

7. Wisconsin

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.

9. Northwestern

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.

10. Minnesota

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.

11. Purdue

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.

12. Indiana

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.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com