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Monday, September 16, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten

By Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival



It wasn't an exciting weekend for recruiting, but there was still news in the Big Ten. Here is a look at the weekend in recruiting.

Biggest offer:
Brad Bournival: The heat is turning up for offensive tackle Lukayus McNeil (Indianapolis/Decatur Central) as Wisconsin became the latest Big Ten team to offer the 6-foot-6, 260-pound three-star senior. McNeil holds almost 20 offers, including ones in the Big Ten from Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Purdue and the Badgers.

Tom VanHaaren: This was somewhat of a quiet weekend in terms of recruiting. Two big offers went out in the 2015, though. The first from Nebraska to top-ranked Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) and the other was from Illinois to wide receiver Cameron Green (Lincolnshire, Ill./Stevenson).

Most important visit:
Bournival: It was more like most important performance as Purdue hung tough with nationally ranked Notre Dame before falling 31-24. With just about every Boilermakers pledge in attendance -- and more specifically outside linebacker Drue Tranquill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) and offensive tackle Denzel Ward (Chicago/Simeon) -- it was extremely important for coach Darrell Hazell and Co. to show the team of the future that things are in the upswing in West Lafayette, Ind.

VanHaaren: Linebacker Nile Sykes (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) took a visit to Soldier Field this weekend to watch Illinois take on Washington. The four-star prospect has been hearing from other Big Ten programs who are yet to offer, so getting in front of him now was a big deal. The Illini need to keep the top in-state talent home, so landing Sykes would be a big deal.

Best performance by a commit/target:
Bournival: Iowa commit Jay Scheel (La Porte City, Iowa/Union) set individual school records for most touchdown passes (six) and total touchdowns (seven) in a 61-6 win over Manly (Iowa) Central Springs. He finished 12-of-14 for 225 yards.

VanHaaren: Two quarterbacks had an outstanding weekend. Michigan commit Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va./Collegiate) was 23 for 39 for 335 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Riley Neal (Yorktown, Ind./Yorktown) also had an excellent weekend. The 2015 prospect who's drawing interest throughout the Big Ten went 12 for 16, 286 yards and five touchdowns. Neal now has 15 touchdowns, 1086 yards and no interceptions through four games.

Biggest question:
Bournival: Can Wisconsin pledge Michael Deiter (Genoa, Ohio/Genoa Area) and the Comets keep up their torrid pace? Through three weeks, they own 65-13, 63-7 and 84-13 wins over the Ohio trio of Toledo Waite, Oak Harbor and Port Clinton, respectively. That’s an average of 70.7 points per game. If that average were to hold up, it would put Genoa Area behind only Fostoria in the Ohio High School record books. Fostoria averaged 74.5 points in 1912.

VanHaaren: Will Nebraska be able to flip Miami commit Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach)? The four-star athlete took an official visit to Lincoln for the game against UCLA this weekend. The Cornhuskers lost, but that’s a big trip to take from Florida. Flipping him might take quite a bit, but we’ll see what happens.

Biggest answer:
Bournival: A loss at home in a night game can sometimes hurt in the recruiting process, but that wasn’t the case with up-and-coming 2015 quarterback Alex Malzone (Bloomfield Hills, Brother Rice). The 6-2, 185-pound junior was on hand for UCF’s 34-31 win over Penn State.Did it affect the Nittany Lions’ recruitment of Malzone? “No, definitely not,” Malzone said. “They played a great game, which was impressive. I loved the visit and the atmosphere of the stadium.”

VanHaaren: It was against Youngstown State, but Michigan State found its quarterback. Connor Cook was named the starter and he had an excellent game in a 55-17 win. That’s important because Michigan State is about to start the more difficult portion of its schedule. With the success of Michigan and Ohio State on the recruiting trail it’s imperative that the Spartans have a good showing on the field. Recruits won’t get affected by one game here and there, but bad seasons are something they often pay attention to.