Big Ten: Andrew Hendrix

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Everyone wondered if and when Notre Dame would have a game where it could stomp out its opponent early and leave no doubt.

Everyone now has an answer.

Tommy Rees completed 9 of 11 passes in the third quarter, ending both of his drives with touchdown passes to account for the 35-3 score as the fourth gets underway.

The question now is what the Fighting Irish have in store with a big lead. Could we see the return of Dayne Crist? Could Everett Golson or Andrew Hendrix, quarterbacks 3-A and 3-B in no particular order, finally get game action with a comfortable lead?

At this point, the biggest storyline is if Notre Dame can actually go the entire game without committing a turnover. Given its nation-leading 15 entering tonight, that's no small feat.
Jordan Hicks' decision to leave the state of Ohio and play his college ball at Texas didn't come as a major surprise.

Though Hicks attended high school in the Cincinnati suburbs, he only moved to Ohio in the sixth grade from South Carolina and had family connections to the Texas coaching staff. As he told reporters Friday after announcing his choice, "I don't feel like I turned my back on Ohio State. ... I wasn't born here. ... Ohio State is an Ohio school. I'm not from Ohio. I really don't have that connection there from growing up liking them."

Sounds reasonable enough. But any time an elite high school prospect leaves a Big Ten state to play elsewhere, it creates anxiety among fans. And this year, Ohio State has struggled a bit to seal off its borders.

Of ESPN Scouts Inc.'s top 15 ranked players from Ohio, only four are heading to Ohio State. Prospects like Hicks (Texas), running back Spencer Ware (LSU), quarterback Andrew Hendrix (Notre Dame), safety Latwan Anderson (West Virginia) and offensive lineman Christian Pace (Michigan) will play for other teams.

It's important to remember Ohio produces a ton of great high school players, and not all of them will end up in Columbus. Ohio State has landed highly-rated local products like Darryl Baldwin, an ESPNU 150 player, as well as Andrew Norwell and Tyrone Williams. The Buckeyes also are in the mix for offensive lineman Matt James from Cincinnati.

But on the whole, Ohio State likely will sign fewer in-state players than most years.

The Buckeyes currently have eight in-state commitments from a class of 18. Last year, Ohio State signed 14 Ohio products in a class of 25. In 2005, Ohio State signed 11 Ohio products out of 18. Ohio State signed a small class of 15 in 2003, but all but three players came from the state. In 2002, Ohio State's 24-man class featured a whopping 18 players from the state.

So is this year an anomaly or a cause for concern? To get a better perspective, I checked in with Scouts Inc.'s Midwest recruiting expert Bill Kurelic Insider, whose blog is a must read.

Here's what Kurelic had to say: "They have done OK in Ohio this year, but they certainly haven't dominated like in most years. But I don't see it as a trend. They lost out on Welch and Hendrix, but those two are from Catholic high schools and it was going to be a tough sell for OSU to keep them away from Notre Dame. They lost out on Ware, but he just never seemed overly interested.

"On the good side of things for OSU fans is that [Jim] Tressel may be set to dominate Ohio again next year like he has in most years. He has two of the top 5 Ohio juniors committed and he seems in good position to get the top six or seven guys in Ohio on his list. So I think this year is just one of those years."

Kurelic is referring to defensive ends Kenny Hayes and Steve Miller, both of whom are on the ESPNU 150 watch list Insider.

Bottom line: Ohio State's in-state recruiting should be fine in the long term, though the Buckeyes must beware of intruders after this year.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Two recruiting tidbits for you. 

  • Nick Montana picked Washington and Andrew Hendrix could be headed to Notre Dame, but Ohio State won't be without a quarterback in its 2010 class. The Buckeyes ended a long drought between commits as Taylor Graham pledged Scarlet and Gray. Graham, the son of former Ohio State and NFL quarterback Kent Graham, picked Ohio State over several BCS programs, including Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin.   
  • Wisconsin picked up its first ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect as safety Frank Tamakloe committed to the school. Tamakloe chose the Badgers over both Northwestern and Maryland, and could be an immediate contributor in the secondary next fall.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

June, 22, 2009
6/22/09
2:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

A fairly busy week for Big Ten recruiting, highlighted by Michigan State landing defensive end William Gholston. Here's your updated recruiting scorecard (note: because of my upcoming vacation, the next scorecard will appear July 7).

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer
  • Quick take: Safety Daniel Easterly gives Illinois another dynamic defensive back, this time from the heart of Michigan State/Michigan territory in Detroit. Easterly also can play linebacker or wide receiver. Illinois appears to be close to landing several more Top 150 prospects.  

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: A good week for Bill Lynch and the Hoosiers, who added four high school prospects to the commit list. Wideout Logan Young is a big target at 6-5, 190, and tight end Leneil Himes also adds to the passing arsenal. 

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 6
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Hawkeyes picked up an intriguing prospect in quarterback Austin Vier. He boasts very impressive size at 6-7, 220 pounds, but he didn't put up great numbers as a high school junior. Vier looks like a project who could pay off down the line for Iowa. 

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: Michigan continues to add recruits and has started to address the defense after stocking up on offensive skill players. Defensive back Courtney Avery originally committed to Stanford but switched after a recent offer from the Wolverines. The big question will be whether Michigan has both quantity and quality in its class.

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough
  • Quick take: Gholston is a huge get for Michigan State and gives Mark Dantonio an elite defensive prospect from within the state. The cousin of former Ohio State star Vernon Gholston headlined an excellent week for the Spartans, who also added talented cornerback Mylan Hicks. All five commits are from Michigan, continuing a promising trend for the Spartans. 

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: A quiet week for the Gophers, but more commitments likely are on the way after camps this week. Cornerback Allen Veazie could contribute early in his career. 

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 3
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Wildcats finally got on the board and had a big week with three commits, all surprisingly from the South (2 Florida, 1 Louisiana). Running back Shontrelle Johnson looks a lot like Tyrell Sutton on film, and quarterback Trevor Siemian will provide depth behind Evan Watkins. Northwestern is still looking for another quarterback in the class. 

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham
  • Quick take: It's awfully quiet in Columbus right now. No need to panic, but the Buckeyes didn't end up with William Gholston and are still waiting on quarterback Andrew Hendrix. Expect some action soon for the Buckeyes. 

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz
  • Quick take: Things have slowed down a touch after a busy late-spring push for the Nittany Lions. Dieffenbach and Baublitz are key early commits to fortify the offensive and defensive fronts. 

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 1
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: Danny Hope takes a very patient approach toward recruiting and doesn't understand the early offer craze. Still, it will be interesting to see when the Boilermakers land their first high school prospect. Purdue is in the mix for running back Austin White and punter Drew Basil.  

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 3
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Badgers should add a commit or two later this week as they continue a strong in-state recruiting push. 

Big Ten Friday mailblog

June, 12, 2009
6/12/09
3:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Looks like our scheduling series has had the desired effect.

Justin from Iowa writes: Adam,I've heard a lot of people suggest Iowa will split their away schedule 2/2. Iowa is a historically slow starter that gets better as the season progresses. If they avoid any pitfalls and start their OOC schedule 4-0, followed up by a win at Penn State to kick off big 10 play, how do you see this prediction perhaps changing?

Adam Rittenberg: The pattern definitely held true last year as Iowa played its best football down the stretch. The Penn State game means everything for Iowa. Win in Happy Valley, and suddenly the league road schedule doesn't seem so daunting. My prediction could change a bit if Iowa prevails at Penn State, but the Hawkeyes get no breathers on the road this fall.


Will from Cleveland writes: Dear Adam,I actually have two very different questions I'd love for you to answer. What does non-conference schedules mean anymore? Because its always taking the backseat by the end of the year bowl games. Like last year the Pac10 was spanked across the country for the most part of the beginning of the season. But now every time I'm on a blog fans act like it means nothing we went 5-0 in the bowls but does who you play in bowl games ever matter?Secondly Adam I want to know how can the PSU fans talk so much smack, and their team last year did nothing against good teams? Sure they're highlight was against my Buckeyes but we were terrible according to our own standards. We have so much to look forward to other than Laurinitis, and Jenkins (sorry Adam but the Wideouts I hated worst starting tandem of Tressel era). But it seems they've lost so much more, and they act like its the exact opposite explain the theories for me please ADAM?

Adam Rittenberg: As to your first question, you're right about bowl performance. It seems to mean everything these days, while the regular season fades to the background. But nonconference scheduling can shape how a team or a league is viewed nationally, and it could help or hurt in the all-important polls. Take Penn State this fall. There's no way the Nittany Lions make any jump in the polls until the Iowa game. They would need everyone else to lose in order to move up.

Moving on, Penn State definitely deserves credit for beating Ohio State in Columbus, no matter how "down" the Buckeyes might have been. I think you're being a little hard on Brian Robiskie and Brian Hartline, but neither man had the season many thought they would. Penn State also knocked off Oregon State, albeit early, and thumped Wisconsin in Madison. Both Penn State and Ohio State lost a lot from last year, but the confidence from Penn State fans stems from the fact that the program is on the upswing since 2005 after some lean years.

(Read full post)

Big Ten lunch links

June, 12, 2009
6/12/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

If I'm not back in five minutes ... just wait longer! 

Big Ten lunch links

June, 10, 2009
6/10/09
1:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

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