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Posted on: May 6, 2011 1:32 pm

Huskers grab Illinois WR for second commitment

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Nebraska's move to the Big Ten left many wondering how quickly the Huskers would start recruiting some of the Northern states as opposed to the areas they carved out in the South after many years in the Big 12. The answer appears to be sooner rather than later.

The school has always been interested in recruiting places like Chicago but the coaching staff is hoping Friday's commitment of Lombard (Ill.) wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp is the start of a new pipeline for the Huskers. No matter how future recruiting shakes out though, they picked up a good wide receiver in the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder.

"I'm a hard worker, I'm never satisfied with anything," Westerkamp told Huskers Illustrated. "I'm always striving to get better and be the best player on the field that I can and be the best person off the field. We've had two good years here and are hoping for another run this year for a three-peat. I was a junior captain last year. I've been on varsity all four years so I'm going to try to be the role model, the leader and try to help people when they need it. I'm just going to try to be that role model that people look up to."

Westerkamp held offers from Michigan State, Iowa, Illinois, Boston College and Arizona among others before pulling the trigger and committing to Nebraska. He made the trip to Lincoln for the annual Red and White spring game and the big crowd and general atmosphere left quite an impression on the young receiver.

“It was pretty great,” he said. “Great football tradition, the stadium, it seemed like the total package when I was there. I enjoyed everything, the parents enjoyed it. It seemed like everything was clicking there."

According to Westerkamp's coach, the compact receiver is a very good blocker which allows him to fit into Nebraska's physical run game while making an impact on special teams and on offense.

Westerkamp is the Huskers' second commitment for the class of 2012. He caught 89 passes for 1,631 yards and 21 touchdowns as a junior last year.

Posted on: May 5, 2011 12:14 pm

Wisconsin gets their quarterback

Posted by Bryan Fischer

California, known for it's beautiful weather and good high school football players among other things, is not known for sending football players to Wisconsin. Sometimes though, a player just fits in at a school some wouldn't expect. Concord (Calif.) quarterback Bart Houston got the best feel from the Badgers and their coaching staff and decided to commit this week.

"I didn't want to play the hat game," Houston told Rivals about the recruiting process. "I met a lot of great people and great coaches this spring at lots of colleges and it wouldn't be fair to have the recruiting process go on so long. I made up my mind a little earlier than expected."

A 6-foot-4, 200 pound pro-style quarterback, Houston held offers from Arizona, Iowa, UCLA and Washington among others. But it all went back to the coaching staff at Wisconsin and his comfort level with offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.

"The great people at Wisconsin really stood out," Houston said. "I went up there and talked to coach Chryst and he reminded me of my coaches at De La Salle. I really liked the offense and it really reminded me a lot of the offense we run. That's why I decided to commit."

Houston threw for 1,922 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 11 more last year as a junior. He played for West Coast powerhouse De La Salle High School and led his team to an undefeated season and another state championship last year as well.

Wisconsin did not sign a quarterback with last year's signing class. Houston is the fourth commitment for the Badgers' class of 2012.

Posted on: April 26, 2011 6:59 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 10:00 pm

April Big Ten Commitment List

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's the final week in April and several schools have already hit the ground running in the class of 2012. Today we'll take a look at the verbal commitments in the Big Ten, where three traditional powers lead the pack in terms of verbal commitments early in the recruiting cycle.

Illinois (1)

Wide receiver Elliot Faerber (Shawnee Mission, Kan.)

Indiana (0)

Iowa (1)

Offensive tackle Mitch Kepyy (Port Byron, Ill.)

Michigan (6)

Offensive lineman Ben Branden (Rockford, Mich.) 
Tight end Devin Funchess (Farmington Hills, Mich.)
Linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone (Detroit, Mich.)
Linebacker Kaleb Ringer (Clayton, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Caleb Stacey (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Tight end A.J. Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Michigan State (0)

Minnesota (3)

Wide receiver Andre McDonald (Minnetonka, Minn.) 
Quarterback Philip Nelson (Mankato, Minn.) 
Tight end Maxx Williams (Waconia, Minn.)

Nebraska (1)

Linebacker Michael Rose (Kansas City, Mo.)

Northwestern (2)

Running back Malin Jones (Naperville, Ill.)
Offensive lineman Kenton Playko (Lewis Center, Ohio)

Ohio State (6)

Running back Warren Ball (Columbus, Ohio)
Offensive lineman Jacoby Boren (Pickerington, Ohio)
Running back Bri'onte Dunn (Canton, Ohio)
Wide receiver Frank Epitropoulos (Upper Arlington, Ohio)

Offensive lineman Kyle Kalis (Lakewood, Ohio), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Linebacker Josh Perry (Galena, Ohio)

Penn State (6)

Defensive tackle Jarron Jones (Rochester, N.Y.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Defensive tackle Jamil Pollard (Westville, N.J.)
Tight end Jesse James (McKeesport, Pa.)
Offensive lineman Anthony Stanko (Warren, Ohio)
Tight end Brent Wilkerson (Hyattsville, Md.)
Linebacker Camren Williams (West Roxbury, Mass.)

Purdue (1)

Defensive back Jordan Shine (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Wisconsin (3)

Running back Vonte Jackson (Kenosha, Wis.)
Linebacker Vince Biegel (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.), Tom Lemming Top 100 member
Offensive lineman Dan Voltz (Barrington, Ill.)

Posted on: April 19, 2011 11:22 am

4/19 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Great weekend at the Georgia and Florida State Nike Camps, a ton of great prospects performed well. Maybe the two best stops along with the USC camp.

- A few Michigan recruiting updates, including one on offensive tackle Jordan Diamond.

- Tackle Ryan Ward added offers from Iowa and Indiana and some more on Diamond going to visit some SEC schools.

- Some nuggets on just how Tennessee coach Derek Dooley recruits.

- Some more thoughts from Royce Jenkins-Stone on his decision to attend Michigan.
Posted on: April 17, 2011 5:57 pm

Michigan gets commitment from Detroit linebacker

Posted by Bryan Fischer

One of the biggest things a new head coach can do is make connections to local high schools and grab the in-state talent to help him turnaround a program. New Michigan head coach Brady Hoke is well on his way, grabbing a second in-state commit in Detroit (Mich.) linebacker Royce Jenkins-Stone on Saturday.

"I was thinking about a lot of schools," Jenkins-Stone told "I did my research and wanted a good degree. Michigan was the best degree I could get."

The 6-foot-2, 215 pound linebacker is the second player at the position in as many days to announce a commitment for Michigan after Kaleb Ringer pledged on Friday. Holding offers from Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Tennessee among others, Jenkins-Stone likes that Michigan is close to home and offers the chance to play early.

"That's the defense I like and there are a lot of upperclassmen at linebacker," he told the website. "I could get there and get early playing time, so I like that. They are more physical and I think it is a great defense to put myself in."

Jenkins-Stone took in Michigan's Spring Game on Saturday after making his commitment and enjoyed the visit to Ann Arbor. Becoming familiar with the school and campus were key to his recruitment and eventual pledge to the staff.

"It feels good and I feel comfortable where I am at right now," he said. "I like the coaches and my mom is real good with the coaches, so it's the best decision I could have made."

Jenkins-Stone is the fourth commitment for the class of 2012 for the Wolverines and he will likley end up manning the middle linebacker position when he steps on campus next year.

Posted on: April 15, 2011 5:03 pm

Maxpreps: An early look at top 2012 classes

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Like the weather or Les Miles' level of sanity, the world of recruiting can change dramatically in a matter of days or weeks, much less the 10 months still remaining before Signing Day 2012.

Nonetheless, the accelerated pace of modern recruiting means it's not too early to take a look at which teams have jumped out to an early read in the race towards next year's mythical recruiting "national championship." Which is what Stephen Spiewak and our colleagues at Maxpreps have done, compiling a top 10 2012 classes as they stand nearing the end of spring practice.

Many of the usual suspects are there, with Texas topping the list at No. 1, Florida and Florida State waging Sunshine State war at Nos. 3 and 2, respectively, and traditional recruiting powers USC, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State also featuring.

But there's some surprises, too. Perhaps taking their cue from the in-state rival Longhorns' practice of racking up early commitments, both Texas A&M and TCU have sprinted out to quick starts to rank at Nos. 4 and 8. And after a start so slow to the 2011 recruiting cycle that they had to play catch-up to conference rivals like Indiana and Iowa, Penn State has burst out of the gates with some big out-of-state pickups and ranks ninth.

Read the entire rankings breakdown to see what recruits are fueling these fast starts and which ones each team will need to land to stay in the top 10 when next February rolls around.

Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:00 pm

Cat's out of the bag, Ringer commits to Michigan

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Michigan added a highly regarded linebacker a few days before he made his commitment public thanks to a mistake by the Dayton Daily News yesterday.

Clayton (Ohio) linebacker Kaleb Ringer was supposed to announce that he committed to the Wolverines on Friday, his birthday, but an article announcing the verbal pledge was published beforehand.

"My parents, family and friends were very supportive," he told the paper. "That helps in the process.”

The 6-foot, 200 pound linebacker holds scholarship offers from Iowa, Illinois, Louisville and several others.

Ringer is the nephew of former Michigan State standout running back Javon Ringer. He is the third commitment for Michigan's class of 2012 and the first on the defensive side of the ball.

Posted on: April 10, 2011 7:52 pm

Penn State gets commitment number five

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Penn State continues to recruit the defensive line well in the class of 2012, landing a commitment from one of the top players in New Jersey Sunday afternoon. Westville (N.J.) defensive tackle Jamil Pollard broke the news to Nittany Lion coaches shortly after returning from an unofficial visit to the school.

"Going into it, I liked Penn State a lot, but after being there, I was sold," Pollard told

The 6-foot-5, 280 pound defensive tackle also held offers from Alabama, Florida, Iowa and Rutgers. Long time Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson ended up being a key factor in Pollard's commitment.

"I just like the way he talks," Pollard said. "He talks like, he just knows what he's doing. Coach Scirrotto, from my school, who went to Penn State, he told me that coach Johnson was really good, but when I got there, he talked about how his players work hard no matter what."

Pollard had 56 tackles and four sacks last year as a junior. He is the fifth commitment for Penn State, four of which play a front seven position.

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