Tag:Luke Fickell
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: December 5, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2011 11:36 pm
 

National Notes: Top assistants to keep an eye on

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Welcome to December, otherwise known as closing time. Bowl practices and holidays make things a little more complicated for some coaches but others enjoy the grind as they hit the home stretch two months out from Signing Day. Here's a list of four recruiters in each part of the country to keep an eye on in each part of the country.

West

Ed Orgeron, USC

Does any recruiter have a better reputation than Ed Orgeron? Probably not. The Trojans defensive line coach has been relentless in the recruiting trail and instrumental in helping manage the program's numbers situation with limited scholarships to hand out. He's hit SoCal hard and been a big reason why plenty of offensive (Max Tuerk, Jordan Simmons) and defensive (Ellis McCarthy, Noah Spence) are committed to, or looking at, USC. Also note that linebackers coach Joe Barry has done a great job with his position group, Orange County (Calif.) and Arizona during his time in LA.

Tosh Lupoi, California

It's been pretty amazing to see Lupoi's rise as a recruiter and coach at Cal but you can see why when looking at his handiwork. He's a younger Orgeron but is quickly becoming his equal after landing players such as Brennan Scarlett and Viliami Moala last year. As a Bay Area-native, he's done a great job of getting talent close to home while also going national and bringing players in. Though the Bears class is somewhat small, expect it to grow in a cover as Lupoi enters the home stretch. His top target right now is five-star Arik Armstead.

Demetrice Martin, Washington

The Huskies staff has lots of Southern California connections but Martin has been a great closer down the stretch with kids. He's relatable as a young guy and knows many of the high school coaches in the area. Don't be surprised if he lands some skill position talent for UW's class this year from the LA area.

John Neal, Oregon

One of the Ducks' ace recruiters, Neal has hit other areas of the country with success and does well in the cities. He landed nearby athlete Oshay Dunmore and had a hand in defensive backs Eric and Stephen Amoako committing from the Dallas-area. Several athletes from the East and Southern California are in contact with him and don't be shocked to hear his name come up some more.

South

Dameyune Craig, Florida State

Not sure anybody has gone into another powerhouse's backyard and raided it like Craig has Alabama's. The big star was quarterback Jameis Winston but he's also been instrumental in landing Chris Casher and Justin Shanks. There's a few more targets on the Seminoles board and don't be surprised if Craig is the one helping get them to Tallahassee.

Mike Bobo, Georgia

It's funny but Bobo's on the field duties have caused a few Georgia fans to want him out of the program but his time spent in recruits' homes and on the trail has been a big asset to the Bulldogs. He was one of the people behind last year's 'Dream Team' and has managed to sell stability at a program that only got it with 10 straight wins during the regular season. This year appears to be another time for him to shine with in-state recruits once again.

Tee Martin, Kentucky

That Martin has done a good job as a recruiter should surprise no one but given that he the former Tennessee star has done it at Kentucky is a little bit. He managed to get a huge surprise last Signing Day in wide out Daryl Collins and might be able to pull off the same magic again this year. Martin has done a great job in Alabama in particular and the only question seems to be if he can resist heading back to Knoxville with a staff opening there.

Frank Wilson, LSU

Last year he was a machine, with a hand in landing offensive tackle La'El Collins, defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and running back Kenny Hilliard among others (all three saw plenty of playing time in LSU's run to New Orleans). Easily the Tigers' best recruiter, Wilson has been one reason why there's a figurative fence around the state of Louisiana. Linebacker Trey Granier was one of his big gets with the 2012 group and don't be surprised if he gets a few others as well.

Midwest

Tony Alford, Notre Dame

Don't be surprised if Alford can snag a big fish for Notre Dame late in the process. He got a commitment from Justin Ferguson out of Florida and appears to be focusing his time on the state to land a few others. With some issues at Florida, he could be one person to take advantage given his ties in the northern part of the state.

Fred Jackson, Michigan

The Wolverines have put together the best class of 2012 in the country and Jackson is a big part of it. He's mainly an in-state guy and lucky for him he's got a great group coming out and done an even better job of keeping them home. He's plucked two out of Farmington Hills (Mich.) in Devin Funchess and Mario Ojemudia and played a role in Royce Jenkins-Stone's pledge. He's been at the school a long time and knows how to sell Michigan to players.

Adrian Klemm, SMU

Klemm is not a household name by any means but should be based on what he's done this year. Though SMU isn't exactly a powerhouse, June Jones has engineered a turnaround in Dallas and Klemm has been a big part as recruiting coordinator. Though the school is located in a talent-rich area of a talent-rich state, the former New England Patriot has done a great job getting talented Los Angeles-area players to come East. Six SoCal natives are committed to the Mustangs class of 2012 at the moment and more could be coming. With rumors of Jones taking the Arizona State job, expect Klemm to come along to really ramp up the LA ties.

Urban Meyer/Luke Fickell, Ohio State

Yes, Meyer's not an assistant coach. But he hasn't really assembled his staff at this point and thus is going a significant share of the recruiting himself. He has certainly been active and because Fickell is remaining on staff, we'll count these two as one super-recruiter. Though recruiting hasn't been up to Ohio State standards with the 2012 group, that was to be expected given the turnover at head coach and NCAA violations in Columbus. Fickell landed Curtis Grant and Ryan Shazier last year and did a good job with Adolphus Washington this year. The two are going to be a very good asset despite what amounts to a false start with the upcoming class. Things have already paid off dividends and the Buckeyes are in the running for defensive end Noah Spence.

Davis decommits from Florida

Been a wild few days down in the South. Stone Mountain (Ga.) running back Mike Davis was one of the recent invites to the Army All-American Bowl and had the jersey ceremony for himself and fellow teammate Raphael Kirby on Thursday. At the time, rumors started to surface that he was having issues with the staff and would soon decommit.

Over the weekend he went on an official visit to Tennessee and finally on Sunday night, he made the new official that he was no longer a Florida pledge.

"My mind right now is open," Davis told Rivals. "My recruitment has opened back up. I've talked to my parents, my mom, my brother, all my family. Right now it's Florida State, South Carolina, Alabama and Miami. But things can change."

From the sounds of things, the 5-foot-9, 190-pounder is completely wide open and will not be considering the Gators despite being in their 2012 class since February and one of their biggest supporters.

"I can't really talk about it," he said cryptically. "Some things happened that I don't want to comment on between me and the coaches. All I'll say is that it was a miscommunication between them, me and my brother. Some things that weren't supposed to happen." 

Ranked as the 10th-best running back in the country by Maxpreps, losing Davis is big blow to Florida as the new staff tries to remake the team using more of a pro-style offense. One of the central pieces of the class and expected to compete early on for some playing time as a change of pace guy, Charlie Weis is now down to just Matt Jones at running back in 2012. With their top 2013 target off the board to Georgia in Derrick Henry, Florida now has to scramble to get another player back into the fold at the position.

Busy week for Armstead

After decommitting from USC, the recruitment of Pleasant Grove (Calif.) lineman Arik Armstead has steadily picked up. He's been going on several official visits the past few weeks and has kept his phone close by.

USC and Notre Dame are among the schools that have already stopped by for an in-home and several more are lined up over the next few days. Among the scheduled ones this week are Washington, Oregon and Auburn. He'll be making the short trip to Cal at some point during the weekend. Also keep in mind that Armstead wants to play basketball and that will be a factor in his decision.

Video of the week



Posted on: July 14, 2011 9:28 am
Edited on: July 14, 2011 9:33 am
 

Buckeyes grab commitments from two Ohioans

Posted by Bryan Fischer

For most Ohio State fans, recruiting talk recently has mostly been about who has decommitted -- like top 100 offensive lineman Kyle Kalis -- and not who could commit. There was some positive news' however, for Buckeyes across the country late Wednesday: Word leaked that Pickerington (Ohio) offensive lineman Patrick Elflein and Lancaster (Ohio) linebacker Luke Roberts would commit to the school Thursday.

“I was real excited when I heard about the offer,” Elflein told Bucknuts.com. “That was the school I was holding out for and it happened.”

The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Elflein should soften the blow of losing Kalis at least a little bit. He held scholarship offers from Northwestern, Purdue and Indiana among others.

For Roberts, who also picked up an offer from Ohio State this week, the combination of playing for the school of his dreams and for someone like new linebackers coach Mike Vrabel was too much to pass up.

"Ohio State has a very good business school, and that's going to be my major," Roberts told The Columbus Dispatch. "And considering I'm a linebacker, the hiring of Coach Vrabel was a huge plus for me."

Even though the school is facing possible NCAA sanctions, that didn't seem to be a deterrent to either player from committing to the school and coach Luke Fickell.

"My thoughts on that are, I think what's being said in some parts of the media is as bad as it really happened," Roberts said. "I think it is being blown out of proportion a little. And at the end of the day, Ohio State is Ohio State. It has been one of the more successful programs and it will continue to be a successful program."

The verbal pledges give Ohio State 11 commitments for the class of 2012 with both players becoming the second commitment for the Buckeyes at their position.
Posted on: June 26, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Bogard keeps Glenville pipeline open to Ohio St.

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville High has sent at least one player to Ohio State every year since 2002, when the powerhouse program sent future Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Troy Smith to become a Buckeye. Despite a coaching change and looming NCAA sanctions, the pipeline remained open with the commitment of cornerback Devan Bogard Sunday afternoon.

“I called coach (Luke) Fickell and told him," Bogard told Bucknuts.com. "He was excited – really excited. I’m excited too. It feels good.”

Holding scholarship offers from schools such as USC, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin, Bogard was a heavily pursued athlete and a big pickup for Ohio State as they look to get back some momentum following the decommitment of MaxPreps Top 100 offensive lineman Kyle Kalis.

“I know Ohio State is going through a little tough spell right now,” Bogard said. “But I had to stay loyal to the school."

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Bogard has played linebacker and defensive back in high school but will wind up playing the latter for the Buckeyes in college. He racked up 55 tackles and four sacks last season.

Bogard is the ninth commitment for Ohio State in 2012 and second defensive back. His highlights are below.

Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:16 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 3:33 pm
 

On the hot seat: How some coaches are recruiting

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd rolled out his annual Hot Seat Ratings, giving every FBS head coach a grade from 0 (can't be touched) to 5 (it's time to win now). Only one head coach is burning up on the seat with the maximum rating of 5 but there are plenty of others who begin the season feeling some heat. Being on the list puts a lot of the coaches in a tough position on the recruiting trail as they look to turn things around while battling the perception that they won't be there when the recruit steps on campus. Taking a look at several of the coaches on the list, here's how they're doing on the recruiting trail:

Dennis Erickson, Arizona State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:12
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Kenny Lawler

Erickson is in an interesting position. With a team featuring plenty of upperclassmen and what is expected to be a very good defense, the Sun Devils are likely the favorites for the first Pac-12 South title. Erickson has only had one really good season in Tempe and never has been able to break through and grab elite talent on the recruiting trail. He put together a class last year that mostly addressed needs and was solid but not spectacular. The 2012 class could be one of the better ones Arizona State has pulled in recently, getting off to a good start and leading the Pac-12 with 12 commitments. This is an offense-heavy class with plenty of skill players and he recently added quarterback T.J. Millweard, who was committed to Virginia Tech.

Mark Richt, Georgia
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments:10
Top Recruit: Defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor

Richt responded to critics and managed to put together what might have been his best recruiting class ever last year. It was a strong year for talent in Georgia and the Bulldogs took advantage, grabbing a "Dream Team" of recruits. The prize was running back Isaiah Crowell, who many think can come in and make an instant impact on offense after the in-state team fought off powers like Alabama and Florida State for his services. The 2012 class hasn't seemed to build off the momentum however, as Georgia has already lost out on some in-state commitments and are behind in others. There's plenty of time for the tide to turn, however, and as Richt proved last year, he can close down the stretch.

Ron Zook, Illinois
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 4
Top Recruit: Defensive back TaJarvis Fuller

Zook is known as a good recruiter and he put together a diverse class last year. It's not a great year for talent in the Midwest and Zook is using the southern ties he had while at Florida to make Illinois active in the South, especially in Georgia. He made a nice pickup with Fuller and with a bit of instability in the Big Ten, could nab a prospect or two that might have gone elsewhere. Zook will ultimately have to win to keep Illinois in the minds of the rising seniors but he's on pace to pull in another solid class this year.

Mike Locksley, New Mexico
Hot Seat Rating: 4.5
2012 Commitments: 0

New Mexico is New Mexico so it will always be tough to get recruits to come, especially in the midst of a 2-22 run under Locksley. But credit to the head coach and his staff, they were able to reach into California, Florida and Maryland among other places to get some talent. Known as a superb recruiter in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, the fact that Locksley got five-star tackle Cyrus Kouandjio to make a visit to the school and keep the Lobos in his final five was quite the accomplishment. The school doesn't have any commitments in 2012 and it will be interesting to see how many wait to see if the hot seat gets too hot for Locksley to stay on it.

Luke Fickell, Ohio State
Hot Seat Rating: 3.5
2012 Commitments: 8
Top Recruit: Running back Warren Ball

Fickell had his fingerprints all over Ohio State's last recruiting class as co-defensive coordinator and was the lead recruiter for one of the Buckeyes' key linebacker commitments, Ryan Shazier from Florida. He is dropped into a very difficult situation however, first following a beloved and successful head coach in Jim Tressel and second, dealing with the looming threat of NCAA sanctions. While he managed to keep the prize of the 2012 class, top 100 offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, in the the fold for awhile, he ended up decommitting and now the Buckeyes are seeing the state of Ohio raided by other Big Ten programs like Michigan, Nebraska and Michigan State. Fickell is a tried and true Buckeye so he knows how to sell the school, the only question is if he'll be successful at it and that remains to be seen.

Rick Neuheisel, UCLA
Hot Seat Rating: 4.0
2012 Commitments: 3
Top Recruit: Running back Steven Lakalaka

Just about everybody thought UCLA was on the right track when Neuheisel managed to pull in two top 20 classes in 2008 and 2009. Since then however, things have reversed course on the field and off. Last year's class did manage to get two big talents from out-of-state in defenisve tackle Kevin McReynolds and top 100 quarterback Brett Hundley but it was by no means a deep and talented class. While it was going to be small due to scholarship numbers, Neuheisel just didn't seem to be able to close with some players and the Bruins are barely on the map in California this year, taking a back seat to Arizona State, Washington, Oregon and their crosstown rival USC. It's getting close to a make or break year for UCLA and Neuheisel and he can only hope that Hundley is as advertised and can make a difference in the win column this season.

Paul Wulff, Washington State
Hot Seat Rating: 5.0
2012 Commitments:5
Top Recruit: Wide receiver Dalen Jones

It's not easy to recruit to the Palouse though Wulff has added some nice pieces over the years, but just can't seem to find enough of them. Wulff reached into Florida and California very well last year and even managed to grab highly regarded offensive lineman Alex Mitchell out of nearby Portland. That said, Wulff is on the hot seat (a very hot seat) and, because it's the hot seat at Washington State, that generally takes the school out of the running for any big time recruits. They've done well all things considered and have extended early scholarships to several California and Florida athletes in hopes of building up an early relationship. It will always be tough for Wulff to recruit and doing so while worried about job security is extra tough.
Posted on: June 14, 2011 11:54 am
Edited on: June 14, 2011 5:15 pm
 

The Class of 2012 and their famous fathers

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Father's Day is coming up on June 19 and in anticipation, CBSSports.com has declared it to be"Dad Week" on the site. Join us over the next few days as we take a look at some of the fatherly influence seen throughout the sporting world.

One place where dads are seemingly an omnipotent presence is in football recruiting. Plenty of players are sons of coaches, some have their dad at every camp they go to and a surprisingly large number of players let their father handle every detail of their recruitment. The class of 2012 in particular has quite a few players who have famous fathers and also happen to be top 100-level recruits. Here's five players who have the bloodlines but are making a name for themselves on the gridiron.

Andrus Peat, offensive tackle, Tempe (Ariz.) Corona Del Sol

Father: Todd Peat Sr. was an offensive lineman at Northern Illinois and had a six-year NFL career with the Cardinals and Raiders.

The younger Peat is ranked 17th overall in the MaxPreps Top 100 and holds well over 40 offers from just about every powerhouse in the country. He might be one of the players best prepared for the next level after receiving coaching from his father and having to play against his brother - Todd Jr., who signed with Nebraska in 2011 - on a daily basis over the past few years. Andrus recently visited Michigan and Notre Dame unofficially and is expected to narrow down his list of schools shortly.

Kyle Kalis, offensive tackle, Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward, committed to Ohio State

Father: Todd Kalis, who played his college ball for John Cooper at Arizona State and lead the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl in his three years as a starter. He played 103 games in the NFL over eight years for the Vikings, Steelers and Bengals.

Kyle was an early commitment to the Buckeyes and once Jim Tressel resigned, thought about decommitting. A phone call from interim head coach Luke Fickell convinced him to remain committed and he's really the foundation their class of 2012 is built on. Ranked 61st overall in the MaxPreps Top 100, he is the third best player from the talent-producing state of Ohio. The younger Kalis can play either tackle or guard, which his father excelled at in college.

Mario Edwards Jr., defensive end, Denton (Texas) Ryan, committed to Florida State

Father: Mario Edwards Sr. was a six-year NFL veteran and known mostly for his time with the Dallas Cowboys. The cornerback was also part of some successful Florida State teams in the late 90s but had his career hurt by injuries.

Edwards Jr. is physically not a whole lot like his father at 6-foot-4, 280 pounds. As big as a defensive tackle but with speed and moves like a defensive end, he is the top defensive end in the country and ranked fifth overall by MaxPreps. Edwards is literally following in his father's footsteps, though, after making a solid committment to Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles earlier this year.

Deion Sanders Jr., athlete, Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus

Father: Deion Sanders needs no introduction but the NFL Hall of Famer would probably want one anyway. One of the great athletes of his time, Sanders played in the NFL for 16 years, most notably with the Cowboys and Falcons. "Prime Time" also played baseball for four teams and is the only man to play in both the World Series and the Super Bowl.

Neon Deion's son is not as highly recruited as some of the others on this list but he's quite the playmaker for his high school team. With the same blazing speed as the elder Sanders, Deion Jr. is a wildcat quarterback/wide receiver and a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. His height might keep him from playing major college football (he's 5-foot-7) but he already has an offer from Houston and will likely pick up a few more with a strong senior campaign.

Barry Sanders Jr., running back, Oklahoma City (Okla.) Heritage Hall

Father: NFL Hall of Famer and one of the greatest running backs ever, Barry Sanders Sr. was a 10 time All-Pro and won the Heisman Trophy in 1988. He played his entire career with the Detroit Lions after they took him with the No. 3 overall pick.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound prep running back has film that is simlar to his father (but is much, much clearer thanks to modern technology). A shifty back who can make cuts at full speed, the younger Sanders has plenty of potential at the college level. Holding offers from Alabama, Auburn and Florida State among others, it looks like he will go out-of-state and not head to his father's alma mater of Oklahoma State despite the Cowboys recruiting him heavily.

One name that might ring a bell in the class of 2013 is Ray Lewis III, son of the Ravens linebacker with the same name. He's a running back who put on an impressive showing last season when he racked up 504 total yards and two touchdowns in a big win.

Check out some highlights of Barry Sanders Jr. (above) and his father (below) and see how they compare:








Posted on: June 2, 2011 5:35 pm
 

Recruits stick with Ohio State despite Tressel

By MaxPreps' Jarrod Ulrey

Among the members of the 2012 recruiting class who already have made verbal commitments to play football for Ohio State, there seemed to be one overriding characteristic to their feelings in the days that have followed Jim Tressel's resignation May 30: Ohio State is still Ohio State.

That was among the comments Upper Arlington (Columbus, Ohio) junior wide receiver Frank Epitropulous made on his Facebook page on Memorial Day afternoon, a little longer than a month after he first committed.

His father, John Epitropoulos, who played for the Buckeyes during the late 1970s, said May 31 that his son had no other comment than his statement on Facebook which read: "Thanks Coach Tressel for giving me the opportunity to play at OSU. You will be missed. Ohio State is still Ohio State and I'm still a Buckeye. Go Bucks!"

Similar sentiments rang from many of the other eight members of Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class.

Just two days after the Columbus Dispatch reported that sources encouraged Tressel to resign amid the mounting pressure, a pending NCAA disciplinary hearing and new revelations about the culture of the program, the Buckeyes nailed down a new recruit.

Tyvis Powell of Bedford told various news outlets June 1 that he had chosen to play for Ohio State over Michigan State, West Virginia and Syracuse. He announced the commitment on the front steps of his high school.

Since early December, the only other recruits Ohio State has added have been Epitropoulos and St. Ignatius (Cleveland) tight end Blake Thomas, who verbally committed May 17. Twelve other Ohio residents, meanwhile, have committed to play for schools in the Big Ten or SEC since that time.

"I knew eight years ago I wanted to play for Ohio State," Powell said. "I'm not going to take my talents out of state. I'm going to play for coach (Luke) Fickell."

Read more of this story on MaxPreps
Posted on: June 1, 2011 6:15 pm
Edited on: June 1, 2011 6:30 pm
 

Ohio State keeps commit, adds another

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's been a trying few days at Ohio State. From the bang-bang news Monday of head coach Jim Tressel resigning and a damaging Sports Illustrated article, there's been plenty of "down" moments for Buckeye fans across the country. It is, however, not all bad for the football program on the recruiting front as Ohio State reinforced the notion that the program is one of the few that can withstand major issues that would otherwise derail others.

The first sign of good news came Tuesday as the prize in the Buckeyes' class of 2012, Lakewood (Ohio) offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, planned on decommitting from the program but was convinced to remain a part of the class by interim head coach Luke Fickell over a 45 minute phone conversation.

"The only way I'd go to Ohio State is if Coach Fick is the coach," Kalis told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I know him pretty well. He knows the way I'm a fighter and I don't give up on things. He said he went through the same thing in college and ended up going to Ohio State, and he said if I go to Ohio State, it will be the best decision of my life."

Kalis is ranked 61st overall in the class of 2012 according to MaxPreps analyst Tom Lemming, the only member of the OSU recruiting class to be ranked in the top 100. Like many players, fans and recruits, Kalis' initial reaction to hearing that Tressel had resigned was one of complete surprise.

"My first thought was shock. My heart sank and my stomach started hurting," he told the paper. "I turned my phone off and went back to bed. I had 87 missed calls from all over, the New York Times, ESPN. I didn't return one of them. I thought it would be disrespectful, like I was talking behind coach Tressel's back."

The 6-foot-5, 310 pound Kalis is one of two offensive linemen committed to the school at the moment. In another bit of good news, Kalis was joined in the Buckeyes' class by Bedford (Ohio) safety Tyvis Powell, who committed to the school Wednesday afternoon. A lifelong Ohio State fan, Powell was unphased by all that's gone on in Columbus.

"I made this decision, I'd say back in 2003," Powell told Bucknuts.com. "For eight years I've known where I want to go.

"I'm not going to take my talents to another state. It's about dedication to Ohio. I can't leave. I can't see myself going out-of-state to play my football."

Powell, a 6-foot-4, 185-pound defensive back who plays both safety and corner, becomes the eight commitment for the class of 2012 - all of whom are from Ohio. He selected Ohio State over offers from Cincinnati, Michigan State, Minnesota and West Virginia among others.

Things are not going well in Columbus with the NCAA circling around ahead of the school's August hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions and an interim head coach but at least there is a little positive news on the recruiting front.
 
 
 
 
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