Monday, October 14, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten
By Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival
There was plenty of recruiting action over the weekend for the Big Ten, which means there were some standouts, big offers, new questions and new answers within the conference.
Here is a look at the latest.
Tom VanHaaren: Purdue and Illinois both picked up commitments in areas of need this past week. The Boilermakers flipped Western Michigan defensive back commit Tim Cason (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston), and the Illini landed prep-school offensive lineman Peter Cvijanovic (Great Barrington, Mass./East Coast Prep).
Brad Bournival: Wisconsin picked up what might be one of the biggest sleepers in the 2014 class in wide receiver Krenwick Sanders (Jesup, Ga./Wayne County).
The former Georgia pledge has 17 touchdowns in 29 touches this season and joins a Badgers class that already has three-star wideout Chris Jones (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic).
VanHaaren: Nebraska offered 2014 offensive lineman Lukayus McNeil (Indianapolis/Decatur Central). The 6-foot-6, 260-pound lineman has been racking up offers as of late, so it’s going to be tough to reel him in. Michigan also offered an up-and-coming prospect in 2015 linebacker Tanner Muse (Belmont, N.C./South Point), who also recently picked up an offer from Northwestern. Both programs see him as an outside linebacker at the next level.
Bournival: ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) got a chance to go back home when he took an unofficial visit to Wisconsin over the weekend and it came complete with an offer from the Badgers. His father, Reggie, took over as the general manager of the Oakland Raiders in January 2012, forcing the move.
Best performance by a commit/target
VanHaaren: Minnesota commit Dimonic McKinzy (Kansas City, Mo./Wyandotte) was 20 of 38 passing for 369 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also had two rushing touchdowns.
Bournival: Chris James (Niles, Ill./Notre Dame), who is being recruited by many Big Ten teams, had a game to remember. The three-star running back rushed for 253 yards and five touchdowns on 30 carries in a 45-35 win over Marist (Ill.).
Most important visit
VanHaaren: ESPN 300 defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) took his official visit to Michigan State this past weekend. He has the Spartans in his top three with Vanderbilt and Northwestern, so this was a big visit. Westphal is yet to visit Northwestern, but he and his family are working on getting that visit set up. Once he takes that trip he should be able to make his final decision.
Bournival: With more than a dozen ESPN 300 and ESPN Junior 300 visitors at Penn State for the Nittany Lions’ 43-40 quadruple overtime win over Michigan, it’s hard to single one out as every recruit polled had glowing words about his visit. Quotes like the one from Syracuse commit Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central), who was on an unofficial visit, were commonplace: “The atmosphere before the game was great. How passionate the people were, it was really great positivity. I’ve never been in an atmosphere like that. It was great. I will remember being on the sidelines the most and watching the players warm up and seeing the student section because of the energy it gave me. It made me want to be on that field right then and there.”
VanHaaren: Penn State isn't going anywhere. I know they just lost to Indiana, but the Michigan win was a big one that needed to happen. Many of the Michigan fans want to blame the coaching staff for the loss, but Bill O'Brien and his staff deserve some credit for that win. Their team didn't give up and made big plays at the end.
Bournival: The Badgers wanted to wow ESPN 300 running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) on his visit and they certainly did that. Mixon said nothing but positive things about Wisconsin before, during and after his visit to Madison.
He even went so far as to say “I really don't wanna go home. If I could stay I would.”
Mixon was one of many big official visitors -- ESPN 300 offensive tackle Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) was also on hand -- who saw the Badgers dump Northwestern 35-6.
I really don't wanna go home if I can stay I would.
— ¡PRIMETIME!!!¡ (@Joe_MainMixon) October 13, 2013
VanHaaren: What happens to Michigan the rest of the season? The Wolverines lost to Penn State and still have Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern and Ohio State left to face. I don’t believe Michigan will see any decommitments, especially from the 2014 class, but if the play on the field doesn’t get better how does that affect the 2015 class and any prospects who have yet to decide? It’s not helping their cause, that’s for sure.
Bournival: What can Ohio State do to wow defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln)? Penn State has the ESPN 300 Holley -- he’s ranked 86th overall -- at the top of its list and certainly didn’t disappoint with the Nittany Lions’ win. Now, the Buckeyes get a crack at the 6-4, 303-pound senior when he takes an official visit to Columbus next week for Ohio State’s conference tilt with Iowa.