Posted on: April 14, 2011 8:26 am

4/14 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Another round of camps coming up tomorrow with the Nike Elite 11 and Training Camp at Georgia tomorrow night. Should be fun under the lights in Athens.

- Great story from Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples about 7-on-7 and the sport's most famous coach, Keyshawn Johnson.

- Quarterback Kendric Bostic visited Princeton unofficially and is hearing from UCF and Northwestern the most.

- Florida State and LSU are the latest to offer defensive end Jordan Jenkins.

- Offensive lineman Trey Keenan holds 16 offers and is very high on Arkansas after visiting there.

- Wide out Marvin Bracy is having success on the track and on the field as well.

- Linebacker Joe Bolden recently visited Michigan and had a few impressions of the visit.
Posted on: April 6, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 6:05 pm

Top 100 Offers & Leaders: 1-10

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Tom Lemming's Top 100 for 2012 List was released today and it has some of the most talented recruits in the country for the upcoming class. In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at who they have offers from and who might be the leader for their commitment.

1. WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, Mo.)

Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Iowa, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA, USC, Wisconsin.

Possible leader: Alabama.

2. QB Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind.)

Offers: Alabama, Cincinnati, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Purdue, TCU, Tennessee, USC, Wisconsin.

Possible leader: Notre Dame.

3. WR Cayleb Jones (Austin, Texas)

Committed to Texas.

4. DE Noah Spence (Harrisburg, Pa.)

Offers: Auburn, Boston College, Cincinnati, UConn, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech.

Possible leader: Penn State.

5. DE Mario Edwards (Denton, Texas)

Committed to Florida State.

6. OT John Theus (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Rutgers, South Carolina, Texas, UCF.

Possible leader: Georgia.

7. DT Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif.)

Offers: Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State.

Possible leader: USC

8. RB Johnathan Gray (Aledo, Texas)

Offers: Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Colorado, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, USC.

Possible leader: Texas.

9. DB Landon Collins (Geismar, La.)

Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC.

Possible leader: LSU.

10. RB Barry Sanders Jr.

Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado, Florida State, Ole Miss, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa, UCLA.

Possible leader: Alabama.

Posted on: April 5, 2011 11:52 am

2012 Athletes to Watch

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Olney (Md.) star Stefon Diggs is the top athlete in the nation according to CBS Sports/MaxPreps Recruiting Analyst Tom Lemming but there's a lot of football to be played between now and Signing Day. Here's five other players - in alphabetical order - who you need to keep an eye out for this year. Each of them has a chance to move Diggs off the top spot and become the top athlete for the class of 2012.

Nelson Agholor (Berkeley Prep, Tampa, Fla.) 

Height: 6-foot-1 
Weight: 185 pounds 
Offers from: Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, USF, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt

What's to like: Agholor is an exceptional athlete and does so well at both defensive back and wide receiver, it's hard to figure out which position he actually would be better at in college. He's a big play receiver and has a tremendous leaping ability to go up and snatch the ball out of the air. He's fluid running routes and can sit down, catch a pass and then take off. Defensively, he plays press coverage very well and can turn and run like the best of them.

Needs to work on: There's not a lot that Agholor can't do. It would be nice to see him improve his tackling and aggressiveness.

Arik Armstead (Pleasant Grove High, Elk Grove, Calif.) 

Height: 6-foot-7 
Weight: 280 pounds 
Committed to USC

What's to like: The argument could be made that Armstead is the top player in the country and top offensive tackle. He also plays along the defensive line as a mammoth defensive tackle who can really fill two gaps and explode off the line. At this point however, he seems best suited as a left tackle at the next level. His size and strength allow him to simply overpower most of the competition and he has surprising quickness and speed to boot.

Needs to work on: Because most feel he's best suited to be a tackle, staying at the position and working on pass protection would be the one thing Armstead could do to really prepare himself for college.

Ronald Darby (Potomac High, Oxon Hill, Md.) 

Height: 5-foot-11 
Weight: 180 pounds 
Offers from: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rutgers, Tennessee, USC, Virginia, West Virginia

What's to like: Darby is one of the fastest players in this class and he can turn on the jets on offense and dart his way past defenders. He's very quick as well and closes on the ball as a defensive back like few others. He could fill a variety of roles on offense but might be best suited for safety in college.

Needs to work on: He still needs to learn the nuances of the safety position and could also work on his tackling if he ends up on defense.

Davonte Neal (Chaparral High, Scottsdale, Ariz.) 

Height: 5-foot-9 
Weight: 175 pounds 
Offers from: Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Miami, North Carolina, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Penn State, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC

What's to like: Neal is a firecracker on offense and a dynamic threat that can take it to the house at anytime. He is a good kick/punt returner who is shifty enough to make defenders miss. On defense, he's a solid corner who is a real ball hawk.

Needs to work on: He's a bit stiff in the hips to play corner and is so good on offense he'll likely end up on that side of the ball in college. Neal should continue to work on his speed and quickness as well.

Justin Thomas (Prattville High, Prattville, Ala.) 

Height: 5-foot-11 
Weight: 185 pounds 
Committed to Alabama

What's to like: Thomas is one of the fastest players in the state and is a legitimate threat to score because of his ability to shift into that top gear. He plays quarterback in high school mostly because he is the best player on his team but he won't be playing that position in college. His quickness and ability to make people miss is something that is pretty special.

Needs to work on: He will be raw wherever he starts out in college so trying to get some work in at receiver (likely in the slot) or at defensive back will help him adjust to his future role. Learning the little things will be his biggest challenge but he's smart enough to adjust.

Posted on: April 3, 2011 12:32 am
Edited on: April 3, 2011 12:57 am

Long Beach Nike Combine Recap

Posted by Bryan Fischer

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Over 1,000 high school athletes came out to Veterans Memorial Stadium on an overcast Saturday afternoon determined to break records at the Long Beach Nike SPARQ Combine.

After the last 40-yard dash had been run and the final score calculated however, only Canoga Park (Calif.) wide receiver Randy Uzoma was able to say that he accomplished what he set out to do.

"I'm just doing what I have to do to break records," Uzoma said. "That's what I came here for."

Uzoma recorded a 130.26 SPARQ rating, the best mark in the country through 10 Nike Combines. Any SPARQ score above a 90 is considered an elite score. Uzoma also ran a 4.47 40-yard dash.

"My reaction was I worked hard for this," Uzoma said. "I worked hard and this is what I get out of it. I put a lot into this and the results came out in my favor."

Although some players tend to use the spring time as a chance to not work as hard, Uzoma has pressed hard during the offseason both physically and mentally.

"After offseason practice, I usually stay after until 6 o'clock everyday," he said. "Then I'll do my homework to keep my grades up. I don't do spend any time doing nonsense stuff."

The very humble wide receiver excels in the classroom in addition to the field. He holds a 3.7 GPA and gets his work ethic from his parents, who immigrated to the United States from Nigeria.

"He's just a great kid," Uzoma's head coach, Ivan Moreno said. "He does everything right."

Uzoma does not hold any scholarship offers at this time but will continue to hit the camp circuit this spring and summer to continue to get his name out. He is receiving interest from Arizona State, Northwestern, Nebraska and Nevada. He'll attend Sunday's Nike Football Training Camp at USC as well.

Neal impresses with good performance at the Combine

One of the top players in the West, Chaparral (Ariz.) wide receiver Devonte Neal also came to break records on Saturday and though he didn't end up breaking any nationally, he did do well.

"I did good out there compared to what I normally do," Neal said.

The 5-foot-9, 175 pound Neal recorded a 114.06 rating and ran a 4.47 40-yard dash. Though the times were impressive on Saturday, Neal and several of his teammates are looking forward to showcasing their skills against top flight competition at the USC Nike Camp.

"Our quarterback, Connor Brewer, linebacker Cody Ippolito, one of our tight ends Pete Greene and another receiver Zach Buzzard," Neal said. "We just want to come out and compete and represent Arizona."

Neal said he will not be making any recruiting decisions, including visits and a decision date, until after the upcoming season.

Combine Top Fives

Overall Rating

1. Randy Uzoma, WR, Canoga Park (Canoga Park, Calif.) 130.26 
2. Sean Miller, WR, San Ramon Valley (Danville, Calif.) 116.88 
3. Shaquille Powell, RB, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 116.58 
4. Marcus Williams (13), DB, Durango (Las Vegas, Nev.) 114.57 
5. Davonte Neal, WR, Chaparral (Chaparral, Ariz.) 114.06

40-yard dash

1. Delshawn McClellon, WR, Gahr (Cerritos, Calif.) 4.37
2. Garry Lewis, WR, Corona (Corona, Calif.) 4.41
3. Louis McMorris, RB, Legacy (North Las Vegas, Nev.) 4.43
4. (Tie) Randy Uzoma, WR, Canoga Park (Canoga Park, Calif.) 4.47
5. (Tie) Davonte Neal, WR, Chaparral (Chaparral, Ariz.) 4.47

20-yard shuttle

1. Lavell Sanders, DB, Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) 3.98
2. Troy Baljeu, WR, Edison (Huntington Beach, Calif.) 4.00
3. (Tie) Allen Avelar, CB, Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 4.03
3. (Tie) Marquis Mosley, DB, Eastside (Lancaster, Calif.), 4.03
4. Chase Krivashei (2013), WR, Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 4.06

Power Ball

1. Randy Uzoma, WR, Canoga Park (Canoga Park, Calif.) 45.5
2. Lavon Coleman (2013), RB, Lompoc (Lompoc, Calif.) 43
2. Thomas Duarte (2013), WR, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 42.5
3. (Tie) Sean Miller, San Ramon Valley (Danville, Calif.) 42.0
3. (Tie) Miles Finley, LB, Xavier College (Bermuda Dune, Calif.) 42.0 
3. (Tie) Nico Siragusa, OL, Mater Dei (Chula Vista, Calif.) 42.0

Vertical Jump

1. Demarye Williams, RB, Cimarron Memorial (Las Vegas, Nev.) 39.3
2. (Tie) Jessie Riley, RB, Redlands Valley East (Redlands, Calif.) 38.6
2. (Tie) Essan Cassidy, DB, Sunny Hills (Buena Park, Calif.) 38.6
4. Kam Brenn Heatley, RB, Palo Verde (Las Vegas, Nev.) 38.4
5. Garry Lewis, WR, Corona (Corona, Calif.) 37.4

Posted on: March 22, 2011 9:04 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2011 9:05 pm

Las Vegas Badger Sports 7-on-7 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

LAS VEGAS - One of the top corners at the Las Vegas Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 tournament this past weekend was Ishmael Adams of event runner-up Team 1925. A big reason why he was routinely shutting down opposing teams' best receivers is the on and off the field work he puts in.

"I never feel like I'm at the peek of my game," Adams said. "I'm working on my speed with Maurice Greene. Out on the field, Brian Kelly is helping me with my footwork and hands. Keyshawn Johnson is helping me with my alignment and reading wide receivers and what they're going to do. Kelly helps a lot with cover-two because he's been to the pros where they practice that a lot."

Holding offers from Arizona State, Colorado, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Oregon, SMU and Washington, Adams is planning on taking a few unofficial visits to get to know some schools a bit better.

"I'm going to Oregon's Junior Day," he said. "I'm going to visit Washington and try and go to a Cal camp. I'm going to try and get to UCLA, I think I'm going to try and get up there next week or the week after that. I'm also trying to get to a USC camp."

"With Adams' recruitment figuring to heat up over the coming months, especially with the May Evaluation period on the horizon, the 5-foot-10, 185 pound corner is looking at all schools but does see one standing out from the pack.

Not yet, I'm just keeping everything open right now," Adams said. "Washington talks to my family a lot so I talk with them and they're being real with me."

One of the first things Adams is looking for in a school is a strong dentistry program, which is what he would like to major in. Facilities and coaching staff are two other factors that will influence his eventual decision.

Utah athlete Hansen impressing at multiple positions

One of the most intriguing players at the competition was Highland (Utah) athlete Chase Hansen. A true embodiment of the athlete label, the talented recruit was working on one side of the ball during most of the tournament.

"I've been working on a lot of quarterback things but I'm out (at 7-on-7) mainly working all defense," Hansen said. "I'm definitely trying to work on defensive back/linebacker type stuff like footwork and whatever else I need."

Hansen likely projects best as a safety on defense with his 6-foot-3, 210 pound frame and good speed. However, he displayed a strong arm in limited action as a junior and has seen a number of teams also give him a look on the offensive side of the ball.

"It's been mixed. Basically what they've been saying is athlete," he said. "Some schools have said quarterback, other schools have said linebacker. Utah has said athlete while Washington has said just quarterback.

"Whatever position I'll be best at but I've been kind of working towards quarterback. We'll see what happens because I feel like I can play defense. But quarterback is definitely something I'll be working towards."

Holding just two scholarship offers, Hansen is starting to see interest from several Pac-12 schools increase and could be on the verge of several more offers.

"Just BYU and Utah right now," he said. "Stanford is recruiting me pretty heavily as a safety/quarterback and Washington as just a quarterback. As far as BYU and Utah, I'm just waiting to see what happens and get an idea of what I want to do."

Hansen is planning on taking in one-day camps at Stanford, USC, BYU and Utah over the next few months to continue to get noticed by college coaches. He recently took an unofficial visit to see the Cardinal in person and is in the process of planning several others.

"I just took one to Stanford and might take one to Washington as well as Oregon," he said. "Stanford was awesome. I mean it's Stanford. I've always kind of wondered what the visit would be like and it was good, if not better than I thought it would be. The facilities, the tradition, the field was awesome. The city where it's located is awesome too."

Hansen plans on taking his time and waiting for more offers to come in before making a decision.

Cope-Fitzpatrick sees recruiting pickup

Rocklin (Calif.) tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is one of the top pass catchers on the West Coast and is starting to see his list of scholarship offers reflect as much.

"I picked up two from Colorado and Nebraska," Cope-Fitzpatrick said. "It's nice getting an offer from Nebraska, outside the Pac-12. Florida said they are going to offer in May. A lot of schools said when they come out (for the May Evaluation Period) they're going to offer."

Though the May Evaluation period may see his stock take off even further, Cope-Fitzpatrick is planning to tone things down between now and then on the recruiting front.

"It looks like I'm going to take a break right now," he said. "I've got spring ball so no visits or anything. Right around May things should pick back up again. I'm going to the Stanford Nike Camp because it's closer to where i live in the Sacramento area. It's convenient so I can take more trips. I'm going to do some college camps but I don't know which ones yet. Maybe to some ones that I don't have an offer to so I can show them."

Cope-Fitzpatrick recently took in Cal's Junior Day and throughly enjoyed his visit the Berkley. The Bears are one of his five Pac-12 offers but he doesn't plan on narrowing the list anytime soon.

"My main thing right now is to just get quantity," he said. "I'd like to get as many as I can until July and then cut it down to eight and stick with my eight all the way through December. Then I'll make my decision in early December. Definitely before Signing Day, I want schools to know I'm their guy."

News and Notes

- 2013 Bingham (Utah) defensive end Lowell Lotulelei was named Defensive Line MVP while Encino (Calif.) tackle Jordan Simmons was named Offensive Line MVP.

- Upland (Calif.) wide receiver Kenny Lawler said his recent commitment to Arizona State, "Was a soft verbal." He'll take all five of his official visits in the fall and will visit UCLA's spring practice and go to the Nike Camp at USC. Lawler also plans on attending the Arizona State Junior Day on April 2nd.

- Marc Evans was the top quarterback at the event and led his team, B2G, to a comeback win in the championship game. Though he doesn't have an offer, he said Cal and Oregon State are the front runners. He added that he plans on taking in Oregon State's spring game next month.

- Wide receiver Bryce Treggs said he was still sitting at eight offers, including ones from Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Stanford and UCLA. He is in the process of attending Junior Days over the next few months in order to get to know the coaching staffs of several schools.

"I'm going to ASU Junior Day and Notre Dame on the 16th," he said. "I was at Cal Junior Day and that was pretty good."

- Quarterback Jeff Lindquist reported offers from Washington, Washington State, Stanford and Northern Colorado but it appears that the Huskies might have the upper hand in his recruitment.

"It's really exciting, that's been my childhood school," he said. "I like the coaches and it's a really good school. Both my parents went there and I like that it's close to home."

- Wide out Kodi Whitfield is holding an Arizona State offer and recently picked up one from Washington. The Atlanta-born Whitfield said he plans on checking out several SEC schools such as Georgia in addition to taking a closer look at several Pac-10 schools.

"I have a lot of interest in Washington and I want to take a visit up there and will probably go up there for their spring game on April 30th," he said. "I'm thinking about going to Arizona State's Junior Day on the 2nd. I've taken a Junior Day visit to UCLA and have been receiving mail from Pac-10 schools like Oregon, Stanford, USC, Cal and some Big 10 schools like Northwestern."

Posted on: March 9, 2011 3:39 pm

MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 Offer Update

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There's still over a month to go before coaches hit the road and begin to see recruits up close and personal in the May Evaluation period. Although that's usually the time when you'll see scores of scholarship offers head out, many of the MaxPreps Top 100 for 2012 are up to double digit offers a little less than a year before Signing Day.

We'll be taking a glance over the next few days at the Top 100 and provide an overview of just what offers are out there for some of the top players in the upcoming class.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander (Oxford, Ala.) 
Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas Tech, UAB, UCLA.

Offensive tackle Vadal Alexander (Buford, Ga.) 
Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Nebraska, North Carolina, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, USC.

Running back LaDarius Anthony (Kilgore, Texas) 
Committed to TCU
Offers: Baylor, SMU, Tennessee.

Offensive tackle Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif.) 
Committed to USC. 
Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Cal, Colorado, Florida, Fresno State, Miami, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Tennessee, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Washington State.

Running back Warren Ball (Columbus, Ohio) 
Committed to Ohio State. 
Offers: Cincinnati, Iowa, Northwestern, Pitt, Purdue, Wisconsin.

Offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 
Offers: UConn, Michigan State, Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia.

Wide receiver Chris Black (Jacksonville, Fla.) 
Offers: Alabama, Florida State, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee.

Cornerback Deion Bonner (Columbus, Ga.) 
Offers: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina, USC.

Athlete Carnell Boyd (Atlanta, Ga.) 
Offers: UCF

Quarterback Connor Brewer (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 
Committed to Texas
Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Washington.

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