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Monday, January 20, 2014
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten

By Tom VanHaaren

As usual there is a ton of action happening around signing day. The Big Ten has had commitments, decommitments, offers and everything in between.

Here is a look at what took place within the conference on the recruiting trail this past week:

Biggest commitment: Indiana picked up two commitments in linebacker Tegray Scales (Cincinnati/Colerain) and flipped Rutgers commit Waynedriko Smith (Orlando, Fla./Orangewood Christian) to add to the 2014 class.

Purdue landed a tackle it was looking for in former Northern Illinois commit Bearooz Yacoobi (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn). Northwestern also got in on the action by landing linebacker James Prather (Memphis, Tenn./Memphis University School) after Noah Westerfield (Frisco, Texas/Wakeland) split ways with the Wildcats.

Biggest offer: There were plenty of offers that went out, especially with the 2015 class. Recruiting is happening faster and faster, which means offers are extended sooner and sooner.

James Franklin and his staff at Penn State offered defensive end Russell Ude (Atlanta/Westminster School), who has picked up a few Big Ten offers recently.

Michigan State sent out offers to ESPN Junior 300 prospects Chuma Edoga (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern) and D'Andre Walker (Fairburn, Ga./Langston Hughes). Ohio State also extended an offer to a Georgia prospect in 2015 safety Rashad Roundtree (Evans, Ga./Lakeside), who has been racking up offers as of late.

Wisconsin sent out an offer to an ESPN Junior 300 prospect in defensive back Garrett Taylor (Richmond, Va./St. Christopher), the No. 73 prospect in the country.

Michigan has made it clear that a running back is a necessity for the 2014 class after offering former UCLA comitt Marlon Mack (Sarasota, Fla./Booker).

Most important visit: Ohio State is still looking to land an offensive lineman in the 2014 class and it might have gotten a little bit closer to doing so after this weekend. Virginia Tech commit Brady Taylor (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Ready) took the short trip to Ohio State this weekend and came away impressed.

Taylor and his family will go back to Ohio State Monday morning to meet with Urban Meyer and will talk about a decision shortly after. The three-star lineman says it’s either Virginia Tech or Ohio State, and if all goes well on this next visit, it could be good news for Ohio State.

Defensive lineman Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) is still being targeted by Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan and is fresh off of a visit to Florida State this weekend.

McDowell is taking all of his visits before he decides, so this is anybody’s game at this point. He could take a visit to LSU on Friday, but the visit could change as the weekend gets closer. This is one to watch as McDowell would be a big addition to the Big Ten.

Nebraska had the opportunity to host former Vanderbilt running back commit Mikale Wilbon (Chicago/DeLaSalle) this weekend after offering the three-star back. There isn’t much time left until signing day, so this was a big deal to get him on campus.

Iowa also got a chance to host the No. 1 ranked prospect in the 2015 class, defensive end Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall). The prospect took in a Minnesota basketball game on Friday and then saw the Hawkeyes for their junior day. An important person to have on campus early on in the process.

Biggest answer: There aren’t many definitive answers at this point, especially with so many commitments, decommitments and prospects flipping to different schools.

Even Northwestern, which had filled up its class, now has a spot open after parting ways with athlete Jordan Thomas (Klein, Texas/Klein Collins).

Biggest question: With signing day only a few weeks away, how does each program close out its class?

Does Nebraska try to fill the spots left by the decommitments of defensive end Darius Slade (Montclair, N.J./Montclair) and ESPN JC 50 defensive tackle Terrell Clinkscales (Dodge City, Kan./Dodge City Community College)?

Is Penn State able to reel in a few more prospects with interest in defensive back Trent Sherfield (Danville, Ill./Danville), Amani Oruwariye (Tampa, Fla./Gaither) and a few other targets?

These next few weeks will be interesting, to say the least.