Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Mixed results for B1G's top 2008 recruits
By Adam Rittenberg
The folks at ESPN Recruiting stepped into the rewind machine Wednesday and looked back at the ESPNU 150 from 2008 to see which heralded recruits panned out and which did not.
From a Big Ten slant, this exercise is essentially a referendum on Ohio State's class, which ranked sixth nationally that year and featured eight ESPNU 150 prospects, headlined by quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Several other Big Ten squads had prospects in the 150 as well.
Overall, the results are mixed. Some players matched their hype, like Ohio State center Mike Brewster and, when healthy, Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti. Others did not or have not, once again proving that recruiting rankings should be viewed with caution.
Here's a look.
Prospects ranked from 1-25
No. 4: Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State -- Helped Buckeyes win three Big Ten championships and two BCS bowls before departing in June because of multiple NCAA rules violations.
No. 18: Etienne Sabino, LB, Ohio State: -- Started the 2011 season after redshirting in 2010. Hasn't been a difference-maker for Buckeyes, but ended with a strong performance in the Gator Bowl and could be a key player in 2012.
Prospects ranked from 26-50
No. 42: Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State -- Four-year starter undoubtedly paid off for Ohio State. Brewster earned All-Big Ten honors and was an All-America candidate his final two seasons.
No. 48: Andrew Sweat, LB, Ohio State -- Sweat had a solid but unspectacular career for Ohio State. He was the team's top linebacker in 2011, and Ohio State missed him late in the season.
Prospects ranked between 51-75
No. 56: J.B. Shugarts, T, Ohio State -- Started the final three seasons at right tackle but never earned All-Big Ten honors.
No. 58: Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State -- Plagued by knee problems, but very effective when healthy. He turned in a strong 2010 season and entered 2011 as an All-America candidate before tearing his ACL in September. He'll be back in 2012.
No. 69: Dann O'Neill, T, Michigan -- Redshirted as a freshman before transferring to Western Michigan, saying Michigan wasn't the right fit. He earned third-team All-MAC honors in 2011.
No. 71: Darryl Stonum, WR, Michigan -- Turned in a nice year in 2010, but found himself in off-field troubles throughout his Michigan career. Wolverines coach Brady Hoke on Tuesday dismissed Stonum after his latest infraction that resulted in jail time.
Prospects ranked 76-100
No. 88: Mike Adams, T, Ohio State -- One of the Big Ten's top offensive linemen during his final two seasons, earning first-team all-conference honors in 2010 and second-team honors in 2011 despite playing in only seven games. He had some off-field issues with the Buckeyes and was part of the Tat-5 with Pryor.
Prospects ranked 101-125
No. 107: Jake Stoneburner, TE, Ohio State -- An excellent weapon when used in the Ohio State offense. He recorded a team-high seven touchdown receptions in 2011, but had only 14 overall receptions. He returns in 2012 and should have a bigger role in a more wide-open offense.
No. 115: Brandon Moore, TE, Michigan -- Moore has two receptions in three years as a reserve tight end for the Wolverines. He could see a bigger role in 2012 as Kevin Koger departs.
No. 119 Baker Steinkuhler, DT, Nebraska -- Started the past two seasons on the Huskers' defensive line and recorded 40 tackles, including five for loss and two sacks, during the 2011 season. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors and will be called upon to take a leading role for Big Red in 2012.
Prospects ranked 126-150
No. 128: Patrick Nixon-Youman, CB, Illinois -- Hip surgery a few years ago slowed Nixon-Youman's progression, but he appeared in 11 games in each of the past two seasons in a reserve role. He could play a bigger role in 2012.
No. 130: Keanon Cooper, LB, Minnesota -- Started in 2011 for Minnesota and recorded 77 tackles, including six for loss, as well as two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He enters his third season as a starter in 2012 and will need to be a big contributor for the Gophers' defense.
No. 135: Travis Howard, CB, Ohio State -- Took on a bigger role in 2011 and recorded 44 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and five pass breakups for the Buckeyes. He'll enter the 2012 season as a projected starter and could end his career with a flourish.
No. 141: J.B. Fitzgerald, LB, Michigan -- Started only three games in his career, but appeared in 50 contests and was a valuable reserve and special teams performer for Michigan in 2011.
No. 148: Tyler Westphal, DE, Wisconsin -- Had a serious shoulder injury following his redshirt year in Madison and eventually transferred to North Dakota State.
Minnesota linebacker Brendan Beal, who has yet to play for the Gophers after transferring from Florida, is No. 133 in the rankings.