Monday, September 2, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten
By Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival
The opening weekend of college football and the beginning of a fall evaluation period means there is plenty to talk about in recruiting. Here is a look at what happened this weekend in Big Ten recruiting:
Brad Bournival: Iowa is now on the board for 2015. Junior offensive guard Jacob Newborg (Inwood, Iowa/West Lyon) visited Iowa City on Saturday and committed to the Hawkeyes.
Despite a last-second 30-27 loss to Northern Illinois, the 6-foot-2, 271-pound Newberg saw enough to give Iowa his pledge.
Newborg is one of just three Iowa natives in the Class of 2015 with an offer from Iowa and one of three linemen overall to hold the same distinction.
Tom VanHaaren: The other commitment in the Big Ten over the weekend was three-star defensive tackle Peyton Newell (Hiawatha, Kan./Hiawatha), who chose Nebraska. The defense struggled in the opener against Wyoming, so Newell is a welcomed prospect for the Cornhuskers. He is likely a defensive tackle, but could project to a few different spots for coach Bo Pelini.
Bournival: Ohio State started targeting its offensive line for the future on Sunday morning with an offer to tackle Chuma Edoga (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern).
The 6-4, 275-pound Edoga is hardly a stranger to the recruiting scene with offers from Arkansas, Clemson, East Carolina, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Virginia to go along with the one from the Buckeyes.
The ESPN Junior 300 standout is ranked 61st in the nation and is the fourth-best offensive tackle in the country.
The Buckeyes didn’t stop there, eying another ESPN Junior 300 standout, this time along the defensive line, offering tackle Darian Roseboro (Lincolnton, N.C./Lincolnton).
The 6-4, 257-pound Roseboro is ranked 163rd in the nation. He also has offers from Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Virginia.
VanHaaren: Wisconsin offered ESPN Jr. 300 running back Mike Weber (Detroit/Cass Tech) on Sunday. The Badgers were offer No. 7 for the talented back, and Weber would make an excellent fit in Madison.
He has the make and shape of what Wisconsin is used to at the position, and the offer could spark some interest from Weber.
Michigan State also offered a rising 2015 prospect in defensive end Darius Fullwood (Olney, Md./Good Counsel).
Most important visit
Bournival: Ohio State put its best foot forward in its 40-20 non-conference win over Buffalo when it persevered in front of one of its biggest 2015 targets in ESPN Junior 300 outside linebacker Justin Hilliard (Cincinnati/St. Xavier).
And just in case Hilliard missed out on what the Buckeyes were trying to show him, 2014 pledge Sam Hubbard (Cincinnati/Moeller) was sitting next to him giving his best Ohio State pitch along with 2014 kicker pledge Sean Nuernberger (Buckner, Kent./Oldham County).
VanHaaren: Kentucky defensive back commit Darius West (Lima, Ohio/Lima Central) made his way to the Michigan State game this past weekend. He had been saying he wasn’t going to make the trip, but the ESPN 300 defensive back was in East Lansing.
Kentucky struggled in its opening game and lost to Western Kentucky, which doesn’t help the case to keep West in the fold. Michigan State has been known for its defensive backs, and adding the four-star to the 2014 class would be a huge deal for the Spartans.
Best performance by a commit/target:
Bournival: ESPN Junior 300 running back Chris Warren III (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall) proved why Big Ten schools such as Ohio State have offered him and why others like Michigan are interested in a 52-42 loss to Garland (Texas) Naaman Forest.
Despite the defeat, the 6-2, 216-pound Warren scored four touchdowns -- including twice from 75 yards out -- and ran for 353 yards on 32 carries for the Yellowjackets.
VanHaaren: Once again, Michigan running back commit Damien Harris put up video game-like numbers. The 2015 prospect had 12 carries for 266 yards with five total touchdowns. The best part about those stats is that they all came in the first half. Through two games Harris has 35 carries for 487 yards, 10 touchdowns and one kickoff returned for a touchdown. Impressive to say the least.
Bournival: Can Wisconsin continue its roll after an impressive opening-week win, and more importantly will the Badgers pick up a commitment next weekend?
The odds get a boost as Wisconsin brings in defensive end Rohan Blackwood (Brooksville, Fla./Nature Coast Technical), tight end Ryan Izzo (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII), defensive tackle Jeremy Patterson (Jesup, Ga./Wayne County) and wide receiver Krenwick Sanders (Jesup, Ga./Wayne County). The Badgers will play Tennessee Tech in a non-conference matchup Saturday at noon.
VanHaaren: Where is 2014 defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) headed? It looked as though Westphal was going to be a part of Michigan’s class until recently. That seems to have changed though, with Northwestern, Michigan State and Vanderbilt all seemingly in the mix.
Westphal was originally planning on making a decision before his season, but now might end up taking visits before he final decision. The ESPN Jr. 300 prospect says that he wants to see Michigan State and Vanderbilt in person for a game, but doesn’t have any dates set for visits.
Bournival: Wisconsin isn’t hiding the fact it wants to bolster its offensive line.
With Jaden Gault (Monona, Wisc./Monona Grove), Michael Deiter (Genoa, Ohio/Genoa) and George Panos (Hartland, Wisc./Arrowhead) already in the fold for 2014, the Badgers offered three-star tackle Frank Ragnow (Victoria, Minn./Chanhassen) on Saturday.
It was a win-win situation for Wisconsin, as the Badgers opened the Gary Andersen coaching era with a 45-0 victory over Massachusetts.
The 6-5, 296-pound Ragnow now counts offers from Arkansas, California, Cincinnati, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin.
VanHaaren: Michigan is set to host a huge weekend for the Notre Dame night game. Defensive end Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) and 2015 defensive tackle Tim Settle (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson) confirmed over the weekend that they will both be in Ann Arbor for a visit.
McDowell is the No. 67 prospect in the country, while Settle is ranked No. 7 overall in the ESPN Jr. 300. McDowell is rumored to have Michigan as his leader, but says a commitment won’t come this weekend. The atmosphere and environment of an exciting game can change feelings, but he is still showing interest in visiting other schools.
Settle is coming up with good friend Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge), the No. 4 overall prospect in 2014, and offensive lineman Matt Burrell (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor). The No. 1 ranked prospect in the 2015 class, Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall), is also slated to make the trek to Ann Arbor, and this visit could leave a lasting impression.
Michigan will have somewhere in the neighborhood of seven prospects in the ESPN 300 and ESPN Jr. 300 combined.