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Tag:Joe Paterno
Posted on: January 23, 2012 11:30 am
 

Three-star Akeel Lynch set for Penn State

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Although it was with heavy hearts, Penn State recruiting was productive over the weekend. In addition to landing three commitments, the Nittany Lions also snared a late night pledge from Buffalo (N.Y.) running back Akeel Lynch.

"I always had an admiration for Penn State growing up, so I just had to give it a chance and see it up close and personal," Lynch told Lions247. "It was a very great place."

The 6-foot, 205-pound back also held offers from Boston College, Duke, Iowa and others. It didn't appear that Penn State was a serious contender for Lynch's pledge until recently, with a visit over the weekend sealing the deal.

"Definitely like the direction they're headed in, and the coaching staff that they have there now," he said. "Also what Joe Paterno built there will never be destroyed, only added on to."

Lynch becomes the 18th commitment for Penn State's class of 2012. He rushed for over 2,100 yards and had nearly 25 total touchdowns last season as a senior.

"He brings good size, speed, balance, and vision to the recruiting table," analyst Tom Lemming said. "He excels at running between the tackles but can also flash the outside speed the scouts are looking for."
Posted on: January 22, 2012 1:58 pm
Edited on: January 22, 2012 2:04 pm
 

Curt Warner's son, two others commit to Penn St.

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It was a somber Sunday in Happy Valley with the passing of legendary head coach Joe Paterno but Penn State fans did receive some uplifting news when word surfaced that Camas (Wash.) wide receiver Jonathan Warner and Baltimore (Md.) teammates Trevor Williams and Da'Quan Davis all committed to the Nittany Lions.

"I just talked to Coach (Bill) O'Brien over the phone, he was getting ready for his game against the Ravens, I sat down with my family and the rest of the coaching staff and we talked to him over the speaker phone," Davis told Lions247. "We basically just got it done. He said he was happy to have me."

Davis, a defensive back, and Williams, a wide receiver, are both former West Virginia pledges who recently re-opened their recruitment and just picked up offers from the new staff. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Warner, who is the son of famed Penn State running back Curt Warner, didn't hold any other offers but the wide out had also recently picked up one from the Nittany Lions and wasted no time in committing after a visit to the program his family name has been associated with for a long time.

"I just officially committed!" an excited Warner told the site.

The trio gives Penn State 17 commitments for the class of 2012 with just over a week left until Signing Day. Davis is one of the top corners in the Northeast and provides a nice boost to O'Brien's recruiting efforts.

"He shows good quickness and overall athletic ability to go with good technique and big-time instincts," analyst Tom Lemming said of Davis. "Physical in coverage, he's exceptional in man to man defense, he can accelerate quickly to full speed, and has a smooth backpedal. Known for his ability to lock down the opposing team's top receiver, he put together an outstanding junior campaign."



Posted on: December 12, 2011 11:22 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 11:24 pm
 

Urban Meyer lands two big-time defensive linemen

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It was only a matter of time.

As soon as Urban Meyer became the head coach at Ohio State, it was only a matter of when - not if - his impact on the recruiting trail would be felt. He landed his first two recruits since taking over in Columbus and they are big ones: Glenbard West (Ill.) defensive tackle Tommy Schutt and Canton (Ohio) defensive end Se'Von Pittman.

"My reasoning was just to follow my heart," Pittman told Rivals. "I wanted to be a Buckeye so I went with that feeling."

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound end is ranked 63rd overall in the class of 2012 by MaxPreps and was committed to Michigan State. All it took was an official visit to Ohio State and some face time with Meyer however and he was ready to flip his commitment.

"Honestly, I probably would have (stuck with Michigan State)," he said. "Coach (Mark) Dantonio is a great coach and he's a great person, period. For me to leave a coach like that, (Meyer) had to be a great coach and a great person too and everything he told me was what I wanted to hear to be comfortable enough to leave."

"A physical specimen who plays on one of Ohio's more storied programs," analyst Tom Lemming said of Pittman. "He's a legitimate DE prospect who can get up field in a hurry."

Pittman wasn't the first player to flip for Meyer however, as top 100 tackle Schutt was already wavering on his verbal to Penn State and all it took to make things official with Ohio State was a visit to Columbus this past weekend.

“I had a great visit and got to know some of the commits,” Schutt told 247Sports. “They were great guys and guys I look forward to playing with, and it’s a great coaching staff, and the whole environment of Ohio State is unbelievable.” 

Ranked as the 5th-best interior lineman in the country, the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Schutt had been thinking about changing ever since Joe Paterno was forced out of State College. He held offers from just about every program in the country and you understand why when watching his film.

"Tommy dominates from start to finish," Lemming said. "Aggressive, tough, and instinctive, he's also very productive. Very fluid in his movements, he can redirect in the blink of an eye, is exceptionally quick off the ball, dominates the point of attack, and can split the double-team and apply pressure on the QB. He has the uncanny knack to play off blocks and find the ball."

The pair gives Ohio State 18 commitments for the class of 2012, now including three interior linemen ranked in the top 10 at their position.

Posted on: November 17, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 7:16 pm
 

Recruiting is a difficult task for Penn State



Posted by Bryan Fischer


Recruiting in and of itself is extremely difficult. The stakes are high, jobs are at risk and the payoff at the end might be one kid making one play years down the road to win a game. Add in the amount of time college football coaches spend on the trail - recruiting is not a sometimes thing, it is an all the time thing - and one quickly understands why plenty of coaches will privately say that what they do leading up to Signing Day is one of their least favorite things about the job.

Some schools have a built-in advantage when it comes to players, others have to work extremely hard just to get a recruit to visit. For the most part, Penn State has been in the former category - a big state school, fertile recruiting ground in Pennsylvania, a legendary head coach, unmatched tradition and, literally, generations of players committed to play for the Nittany Lions since birth.

Now, following the shocking allegations involving former assistant Jerry Sandusky and involvement (or lack thereof) of Penn State officials, all of the factors the school had going for it have been shown the door just as quickly as Joe Paterno was pushed out. One of the men at the center of the scandal, Mike McQueary, was the recruiting coordinator (he's on administrative leave) and it's very likely nobody from the current staff will be retained. The house is going to be cleaned but the only problem is the people still inside it are going to have to cobble together a class of 2012 first.

"Penn State's reputation, especially in the Northeast part of the country was second to none," CBS Sports analyst Rich Rodriguez said last week. "If there was a player in that quadrant in the country, they had a chance to get them. ... They'll take a little hit and they'll recover and still be the choice in the Northeast part of the country."

The current recruiting class for the school is led by Glen Ellyn (Ill.) defensive lineman Tommy Schutt and totals 15 players. There has only been one public decommitment since the scandal broke but keep in mind that it is very early and plenty of the players have barely had time to think about recruiting with teams in the middle of playoff runs. The commits that have made public comments all generally have said they're taking a 'wait and see" approach and that's pretty consistent with other places that have seen a cloud hover over the program.

But soon, there won't be a time to wait and players will have to see what Penn State is offering and what others are. Don't be surprised if most of the class takes at least one visit to another school and continues to open the phone lines up to other staffs. There will be recruits among the 15 in the current class and others out there that simply want to go to Penn State and will likely end up signing in February. For those that aren't fully committed to the university, those that wanted to play for Joe Paterno and the current staff or those that are simply uneasy with the whole situation, it's going to be extremely tough for them to fax their letter of intent to State College.

Some uncommitted players who had been considering the school have already dropped them from consideration and that is the area the staff will have the most difficult time with. Athlete Joel Caleb, defensive end Noah Spence and defensive tackle Jamil Pollard are among the prospects that have decided to drop the Nittany Lions down on their list or take them off all together.

Can Penn State rebuild their reputation and recruit as good, if not better, than they were before? It depends on who they hire as head coach. The school is not going to receive NCAA sanctions from all indications so there will be no bowl bans or scholarship reductions to speak about. The most difficult thing going forward is the current group of coaches going into the living rooms of recruits across the country and convincing them and their parents that things will be ok in State College and Penn State is still a great place to get an education and play football.

It will get easier as time goes on and especially once a new head coach and staff are hired but for right now, recruiting players to become a Nittany Lion is the hardest sell in college football. Penn State should be back, some day down the road. For now though, it's tough roads ahead and an even tougher task on the recruiting trail.

Posted on: November 7, 2011 7:05 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 10:43 pm
 

National Notes: Alabama, Mizzou-SEC, Penn State

Posted by Bryan Fischer

If you were a recruit in the southeastern part of the country, chances are you were at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa for the game built up to be the biggest of the century.

There were over 100 official and unofficial visitors taking in Alabama-LSU Saturday and just about all of them used a synonym of the word "awesome" to describe the atmosphere. No doubt the defensive recruits were a little more impressed at the level and style of play than the offensive recruits but no matter who it was, there were nothing but positive vibes from the experience.

"It was a great game," cornerback and Alabama commit Geno Smith told TideSports.com. "It was a great atmosphere, and I enjoyed the game a lot even though it was a tough loss. It was a fun game."

Smith was one of several Tide commitments in attendance as an unoffiical visitor. With several five-star recruits in on their official visits, such as tackle Arik Armstead and defensive tackle Eddie Goldman, recruiting others to join Alabama's class of 2012 was going on by several commits despite the raucous atmosphere.

"It was so hard to talk to people," linebacker Reggie Ragland said. "It was that loud on the field, so I had to get up in people's faces just to talk to them. I know once the game got started, it was hard for the guys playing the game to even hear."

Yes Alabama lost a close game in overtime but there were plenty of positives to take away for those in attendance. Winning is the most important thing in recruiting but a loss to a team like LSU, in that atmosphere, with that head coach, means the Tide won't suffer on the recruiting trail. Come Signing Day, there will be plenty of players who forgot the outcome but remembered what it felt like being in the stadium and on the Crimson Tide sideline.

The biggest effect could be felt in the class of 2013. Five-star defensive end Robert Nkemdiche was among the double-digit number of underclassmen prospects in attendance and someone several coaches came over to talk to.

“Everything is still pretty much the same - Alabama and LSU are my top two," he told 247sports. "I liked the game and both teams have very good defenses. I haven’t been down to LSU yet. I really like Alabama, though.”

It wasn't the game of the century but it was Nick Saban's off the field given the quality and quantity of recruits looking on. It's some what early to truly digest if what happened in Tuscaloosa will have a lasting impact with some but we have plenty of time between now and February to figure it out.

Missouri moves to the SEC

The other big news over the weekend was Missouri's move to the SEC (finally, officially). It's important to note that the Tigers will be placed in the Eastern division and will have a game every year against West division "rival" Texas A&M. If you're on the MU coaching staff nothing could make you happier.

Without question, the move is a step up in competition but that doesn't mean Missouri can't compete. They'll still be able to go into Texas, which they have successfully under Gary Pinkel, just as often as they have. They'll also be able to make in-roads in talent rich states like Georgia and Florida with trips every other year. Like most schools, they're not going to be consistently recruiting five-star type players but playing in the SEC is something plenty of players value and will be a selling point.

One player the move could help with is top-ranked Dorial Green-Beckham. Though the talented wide receiver has kept pretty mum on his recruiting, he has talked glowingly about playing in the SEC and proximity to home is a huge factor for him. Though many consider Oklahoma and Arkansas the front-runners for his signature, the move certainly doesn't hurt the Tigers pursuit.

More than anything, winning some games next year will go a long way in the class of 2013.

Penn State issues already having an effect

As big as Alabama-LSU was this weekend, it paled in comparison to the story out of Penn State. We're at an early stage in all of this but no doubt that recruits are beginning to take notice of what is going on in State College.

The Nittany Lions currently have 16 commitments for the class of 2012 and many are taking a wait and see approach right now. As we've seen at other schools dealing with a big scandal, it will take some time to see what will happen with many of the players recruited by the staff at Penn State. Some players choose a school because of academics, location and what not - those will likely stick with their pledge. Others headed to school for a particular coach or Joe Paterno in particular, might find themselves taking additional visits and contacting other schools in order to have options on Signing Day.

Five-star and top defensive end Noah Spence appeared to be dropping PSU, tweeting that the school might not be for him Monday afternoon. It still too early to tell what's going to happen with Penn State's recruiting going forward but it's hard to say things will be ok given the news coming out of the area recently.

Video of the week

This week's spotlight is on running back Keith Marshall, who had quite the game on Senior Night with five touchdowns.





Posted on: September 22, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Recruiting & Realignment: How does it shake out?


Posted by Bryan Fischer

Peering into the crystal ball is something recruitniks do all the time. Which kid goes where? Is this recruit leaning toward school X or school Y? He talked about early playing time but he also wants to play with his friend in the Big Ten.

There are so many data points but it is still an inexact science. It's hard, but someone has to do it.

With all of the conference realignment news still swirling around college football, it's time once again to look into the future (The future? Yes, the future) and see - at least for the short term - what the landscape might look like. CBSSports.com has gathered up all of our experts on both the football side and the basketball side to project what all six of the current BCS automatic qualifying conferences will look like in 2014.

RapidReports: Up to the minute realignment updates
Eye on College Football: Conference Realignment Central

From the looks of it, no conference is going kaput. There is some shrinking and some bloating but all-in-all, it's just a few alteration from what the landscape will look like in 2012. Here are our projections for further conference realignment once the current wheeling and dealings are complete:

  • Big Ten -- remains at 12 teams
  • Pac-12 -- remains at 12 teams
  • SEC -- Adds Texas A&M and Virginia Tech
  • Big 12 -- Adds BYU to replace Texas A&M, but only in football
  • ACC -- Adds Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Loses Virginia Tech to the SEC
  • Big East -- loses Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Adds TCU, Houston and UCF; Navy and Air Force as football schools.

So we’ve got six conferences ranging in size from 12 to 16 programs. Which is strongest on the recruiting trail? Which is the deepest? Most top-heavy? Let’s take a look in alphabetical order.




Current picture: Four top 25 teams, 2-3 coaches on the hot seat.

#4 Florida State
#6 Virginia
#7 Miami
#17 Clemson

Future outlook: Jimbo Fisher appears to have the Seminoles back and recruiting like they were in the 1990's. Not only is Florida State attracting top talent, they're closing well and look to be a perennial contender with top five class after top five class. Clemson has recruited very well under Dabo Swinney but that hasn't translated into the bowl games the Tigers want to be playing in - which is one reason 2011 is make or break for him. One figures that Miami will get hit with serious NCAA sanctions that will hamper their recruiting abilities going forward. At the same time, the Hurricanes getting fewer players out of their own backyard could allow other schools in the conference to come in and grab better players - which could be a nice boost for schools such as Virginia or Maryland. The additions of UConn, Pitt and Syracuse don't do too much but do provide increased access to both states for the northern end of the conference.




Current picture: Three top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#2 Texas
#16 Oklahoma
#19 Missouri

Future outlook: The conference everybody is talking about will continue to be the conference everybody will be talking about. Texas and Oklahoma will still be Texas and Oklahoma as long as Mack Brown and Bob Stoops are on the sidelines for the Red River Rivalry every year. The Big 12 staying together means that schools such as Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri and others will continue to have access to a good number of Texas high school players - key in any success any of them have had over the years. Texas will still grab the best players in the state, that much won't change no matter what happens. There could be increased competition however, with Texas A&M being able to play the 'We're in the SEC' card. That probably hurts Oklahoma and Oklahoma State more than anyone. BYU will enjoy reaching into the Southwest even more than they currently do.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#18 Cincinnati
#24 Rutgers

Future outlook: The realignment shakeup is all about the survival of the fittest but the Big East is, without a doubt, the least fit. They have had schools make waves in the national picture before but they've done so largely by coaching up players, not grabbing five-star recruits. Cincinnati has done a good job in the Midwest and should be helped out by nearby powerhouse Ohio State being down slightly. Rutgers is on shaky ground if Greg Schiano is let go but, if he sticks around, they should be a program that is helped by the trickle affect of Miami being down since they recruit Florida well. Not much is lost with the three schools going to the ACC, a good number of programs will still continue to recruit in states such as Pennsylvania and New York for players. TCU and West Virginia will probably be the top dogs in the rankings with both having strong ties to Texas and Dana Holgorsen's reputation proceeding him. UCF is a hidden gem that adds the most since Orlando has really come along in terms of number of BCS players the area produces.





Current picture: Five top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#1 Michigan
#13 Penn State
#20 Indiana
#21 Michigan State
#23 Wisconsin

Future outlook: Oh how the tables have been turned (off the field) in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. No one in the Big Ten has taken advantage of the turmoil in Columbus than the Wolverines under Brady Hoke. Given the quick turnaround, national prominence of the program and Hoke's ties to California, don't expect to see much drop off in Michigan recruiting over the next few years if they continue to win. Joe Paterno figures to retire at some point but Penn State sits in the middle of a talent-rich state and will continue to a solid job on the recruiting trail going forward. New Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson has done good job early on in locking up in-state talent and landing the number one quarterback in the country is a giant block to build on with future recruiting classes. Ohio State has been hampered with all that has gone but if they hire a top flight coach - as one would expect - all bets are off. The recruits in the state of Ohio alone will be able to keep them in the upper echelon of the conference regardless. Also watch out for Wisconsin, which will likely start getting better quality recruits the next few years following their success on the field.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, five coaches on the hot seat.

#15 Arizona State
#25 Washington

Future outlook: A few strong years of West Coast talent will form the basis of a strong conference going forward. The biggest cause for concern is the number of coaches who are on the hot seat and can lose their jobs. For some programs, that means starting over in recruiting. For others, it could be an upgrade. With both Los Angeles programs each dealing with some issues, the amount of talent available to programs like Washington, Utah, Colorado and others has never been higher. NCAA issues at Oregon might hamper the Ducks a little but as long as they're wearing a crazy uniform and have Phil Knight writing checks, they'll be ok. USC has continued to get top talent despite and should rebound from sanctions quicker than most programs because of that. If anything though, California will become much more of a battleground state with more programs looking at the recruits coming out the next few years.




Current picture: Eight top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#3 Florida
#5 Alabama
#8 Texas A&M
#9 Auburn
#10 Virginia Tech
#11 LSU
#14 South Carolina
#22 Vanderbilt

Future outlook: The nation's best conference on the field and the recruiting trail will only get better with the additions of Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. It's scary, actually, to think about. LSU, the Mississippi schools, Florida and Alabama should all benefit to increased access to Texas and the Aggies won't be any slouch by telling recruits that they can stay home and play in the SEC. The same is true of the state of Virginia, which has annually produced plenty of great players. Other schools have taken advantage of Georgia's increase in FBS talent the past several years and even though UGA has a coach on the hot seat, they'll be able to recruit well because of who's nearby. Will Muschamp has shown there's no drop off in the state of Florida for the Gators going forward and the Alabama-Auburn rivalry is becoming just as fierce on the recruiting trail going forward as the Iron Bowl has been on the field. Bottom line, no one recruits like the SEC and they're only getting stronger with their recent additions.




Posted on: August 24, 2011 2:49 pm
 

10 teams that will rise or fall in the rankings

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Five teams looking up (in alphabetical order):

1. Arkansas

It's a bit surprising to see the Razorbacks missing from the MaxPreps Top 25 but that will likely change in the months leading up to Signing Day. They have just 12 commits halfway through August but are in the running for several top 100 players and landing one or two should boost them up when they do. Number one receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has the program on his short list and has already set an official visit to Fayetteville as well.

2. Notre Dame

The Irish are 18th overall in the rankings but expect Brian Kelly and staff to close strong like they did with last year's top five class. Official visits are a big deal for Notre Dame and it wouldn't be surprising to see a few players move the school up on their list after visiting South Bend. If they can beat Michigan on the road under the lights and have a good showing in a win against USC at home later in the season, the program should be in the top 10 by November.

3. Oregon

Has any team been to the national championship game and not seen a recruiting bounce? At the moment, Oregon has not but that should change if the Ducks get the season started. Obviously the NCAA investigation has hampered their recruiting efforts but there are still several players like Jordan Simmons and Zach Banner with Oregon on their short list. Skill position players will want to play in Chip Kelly's offense and it likely won't be long before several of them commit and the Ducks slide into the top 25.

4. Penn State

The Nittany Lions are sitting just outside of the top 25 but, given the uncommitted talent right in their backyard, it wouldn't be too surprising to see JoePa move up. Noah Spence and Rushel Shell are two of top players who could end up in Happy Valley. This class addresses the guys in the trenches more than the skill positions so grabbing a few impact players should push them higher as well.

5. Tennessee

Seems like forever ago that Tennessee had fewer than five commits. Actually it was about a month ago. With the recent news that there would be no further NCAA sanctions beyond what were already self-imposed, Derek Dooley can now go full bore on the recruiting trail with out any impediments or negative recruiting against him. They've been picking up players left and right and will keep sliding up the recruiting rankings throughout he season as they continue to hear recruits sing Rocky Top.

Five looking down:

1. Arizona State

There's a few shaky verbal commits in the Sun Devils' class and that's one reason why they're on this list. There's no doubt that Dennis Erickson is on the hot seat as well and with so many injuries to the team before the season has begun, an average-at-best year could result in a few players looking for a program on more solid footing.

2. Florida

The Gators land on this not because they're going to see some players leave their strong class but because they're simply going to move down the rankings as others move up. They have 17 players committed and a solid group of targets left on their board but it's hard not to see an Alabama or an Auburn to eventually move above them at the moment.

3. Miami

No surprise to see the Hurricanes on this list given the NCAA investigation and surrounding mess following the Yahoo! Sports report. The recruiting class has stuck together so far but it's hard for anyone to imagine that being the case through Signing Day. There's a good talent base around the school but they have not received multiple top 100 commitments before the big news and likely won't afterwards.

4. Rutgers

The team is one of the top classes in the Big East but it will be tough to see them in the top two come Signing Day. The season will be key; if 2011 is another sub-.500 campaign then recruits could start looking elsewhere. Plus, it's not hard to see West Virginia passing them at some point given the momentum they'll have under a first year head coach that is looking to do big things on offense.

5. Vanderbilt

The Commodores have done big things early in the recruiting cycle but it will be interesting to see how long it lasts as they begin the season and other schools start looking to fill out their classes once they end up missing out on other targets. Like others on this list, a bad year on the field could also cause some commits to look to other programs.

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.

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