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Thursday, January 19, 2012
Big Buckeye flavor in final ESPNU 150 list

By Brian Bennett

With national signing day just two weeks away, ESPN.com has revealed its final rankings for the class of 2012. And the big winners in the Big Ten appear to be Ohio State and Michigan.

The Buckeyes, helped by the arrival of Urban Meyer, have secured commitments so far from five players in the final 2012 ESPNU 150, including three in the top 100. They are:

No. 4: DE Noah Spence
No. 65: DE Adolphus Washington
No. 98: DE Se'Von Pittman
No. 104: OG Joey O'Connor
No 108: DT Tommy Schutt

If these players pan out, Meyer could be building an intimidating defensive line in Columbus, and we all know that winning starts in the trenches.

Michigan is second in the league with four ESPNU commitments, and like Ohio State the Wolverines are loading up on defense with this class. Their top prospects are:

No. 68: CB Terry Richardson
No. 113: OLB Royce Jenkins-Stone
No. 132: OG Kyle Kalis
No. 142: OLB Joe Bolden

Only three other members of the ESPNU 150 are committed to Big Ten schools, and somewhat surprisingly, Minnesota and Northwestern account for two of them. They are:

No. 51: DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, Northwestern
No. 112: OG Isaac Hayes, Minnesota
No. 131: ILB Michael Rose, Nebraska

ESPN has also updated its class rankings for 2012, and Michigan leads the Big Ten pack at No. 7 nationally. Ohio State is the only other league school ranked, sitting right behind the Wolverines at No. 8. The Buckeyes could overtake Michigan if Meyer is able to reel in some more top prospects late.

Speaking of which, our recruiting folks also take a look today at where some of the top uncommitted prospects stand, including blue-chippers who are looking at Big Ten schools. The No. 8 overall prospect, athlete Davonte Neal, has Ohio State on his list. Offensive tackle Andrus Peat, the No. 9 prospect whose older brother plays for Nebraska, is strongly considering the Huskers, as is athlete Devin Fuller (No. 39). Michigan is in play for offensive guard Josh Garnett (No. 44), while Ohio State is battling for tailback Joel Caleb (No. 83). The Buckeyes, Wolverines and Wisconsin are all hoping to hear good news from offensive tackle Jordan Diamond (No. 94), who isn't expected to announce his decision until after signing day.