Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Big Ten [Print without images]

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Big Ten class rankings analysis

By Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival



Week three of the regular season and there still isn't much movement with Big Ten recruiting. The class rankings didn't shift too much because there wasn't a lot of news outside of Ohio State's new addition to the 2014 class.

Big Ten recruiting reporters give you a look at some of the trends and things to watch within the conference recruiting landscape:

Trending up
Brad Bournival: With the commitment of four-star athlete Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII), Ohio State has finally climbed into the top 10. The Buckeyes have been as low as 18th since the rankings first came out, but jumped two spots after Brown’s pledge, leapfrogging LSU and Texas A&M. Ohio State counts seven ESPN 300 players in its 2014 class and has 13 four-star standouts among its 18 commitments.

Tom VanHaaren: Michigan, after the Notre Dame night game, has a ton of recruits still talking about the game. Most importantly Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge), Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) and 2015 target Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall). The event was something those prospects will remember on the next visit they take to other schools. It’s going to be tough to top that performance and atmosphere at Michigan.

Trending down
Bournival: Although Penn State wasn’t in dire need of a running back, the Nittany Lions took somewhat of a hit when Qadree Ollison (Brooklyn, N.Y./Canisius) picked Pittsburgh over Penn State on Monday. While the Nittany Lions held firm at 24th, they missed an opportunity to move up the ranks despite having a very restricted recruiting class. Ollison was set to take a visit to Happy Valley last weekend, but scheduling conflicts prevented the trip. It might have also stopped Penn State from making one last push for the three-star senior.

VanHaaren: Minnesota still only has six commitments heading into the middle of September. The Golden Gophers have a solid foundation, but need to start adding to the list. It also looks like running back commit Jeff Jones (Minneapolis/Washburn) has been hearing from other Big Ten teams, including Michigan State. Minnesota plays Western Illinois and San Jose State before playing Iowa, so there are three home games in which the coaching staff will have to impress recruits. The schedule gets more difficult after that with home games against Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin, so every opportunity counts.

One to watch
Bournival: Continue to watch Wisconsin. The Badgers picked up a solid commitment on Sunday in defensive end Rohan Blackwood (Brooksville, Fla./Nature Coast Technical) and really took a step forward with 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), who were on official visits along with Blackwood. Don’t be surprised if Izzo, Patterson and Sanders wind up Badgers by national signing day.

VanHaaren: Athlete Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) is currently committed to Miami, but it looks like he will take visits. He had originally committed to Tennessee, decommitted from the Vols and then gave his pledge to Miami. Powell is planning on taking an official visit to Nebraska this weekend for the UCLA game. It’s a good opportunity for the Cornhuskers to impress the ESPN 300 athlete.

Bold prediction
Bournival: Purdue could lose a commitment this weekend if the Boilermakers have a poor showing against Notre Dame on Saturday. Drue Tranquill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll), who is being courted by the Fighting Irish despite being a Purdue commit, is expected to be in attendance with his brother Justin, who is a junior prospect. Boilermakers pledge Denzel Ward (Chicago/Simeon), who is eyeing an official visit to UCLA, is slated to be at the game along with commits Trae Hart (Dallas/First Baptist Academy), David Blough (Carrollton, Texas/Creekview), Kirk Barron (Mishawaka, Ind./Marian), Gelen Robinson (St. John, Ind./Lake Central) and Austin McGehee (Pine Bluff, Ark./Pine Bluff). Hart and Blough will be on official visits.

VanHaaren: Michigan State enters the conversation for ESPN 300 defensive back Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway). A lot has changed recently for Nicholson’s recruitment with a few schools filling up spots that Nicholson thought he had. He recently took a visit to Michigan State and the Spartans might be able to sneak their way into his top group.