Big Ten: Eugene Clifford

Big Ten recruiting rewind to 2007

January, 31, 2011
1/31/11
5:38
PM ET
As signing day approaches, it's fun to take a look back at how some of the Big Ten's top recruits from years past fared on the college stage.

ESPN Recruiting took a comprehensive look back at the 2007 recruiting class: how the top players fared, who met expectations, who exceeded them and who turned out to be a bust. It also revised the team recruiting class rankings.

Here's how some of the Big Ten recruits in the ESPNU 150 fared:

Illinois LB Martez Wilson (No. 5 nationally): After recording 73 tackles as a sophomore for the Fighting Illini, Wilson's junior season was cut short due to a herniated disc and he was granted a medical hardship. In 2010, he had 104 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles.

Michigan QB Ryan Mallett (No. 12): As a true freshman, he played in 11 games for Michigan before transferring to Arkansas. After sitting out a year due to transfer rules, Mallett started all 13 games in 2009 and threw for more than 3,600 yards and 30 touchdowns. He completed an Arkansas single-season record 242 passes in 2010 and is expected to be drafted in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft.

Illinois WR Arrelious Benn (No. 17): He was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and followed that up in 2008 by earning first-team All-Big Ten honors, as well as being named team MVP. He was given honorable mention All-Big Ten as a junior and drafted in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is currently the team's No. 2 WR.

Michigan WR Junior Hemingway (No. 19): Hemingway played in 10 games as a freshman and redshirted in 2008 due to mononucleosis. Hemingway was the Wolverine's fourth-leading receiver in 2009 and third-leading receiver in 2010. He has started 18 contests at wideout in his career.

Wisconsin T Josh Oglesby (No. 28): After redshirting in Oglesby he played in 13 games as a sophomore and started every game in 2009. However, a knee injury in Week 2 ended his 2010 season.

Ohio State S Eugene Clifford (No. 37): After playing in four games for the Buckeyes in 2007, he was suspended for violating unspecified team rules and then kicked off the team before the 2008 season after being charged with assault. He transferred to Tennessee State where he finished his career with 204 tackles and was named as a first-team FCS All-American in 2010.

Minnesota QB Clint Brewster (No. 45): After redshirting in 2007, Brewster went to the College of Sequoias in 2008. He joined the Tennessee Tech roster in July 2008, but has sat on the bench since.

Illinois DT D'Angelo McCray (No. 64): McCray redshirted at Illinois in 2007, before transferring to Eastern Illinois. After playing in 2008 for Eastern Illinois, he transferred to Coffeyville Community College in 2009 and then transferred to Memphis University in 2010 totaling six tackles.

Michigan CB Donovan Warren (No. 86): In 2007, he played in all 13 games and totaled 35 tackles and one forced fumble. He was on the Freshman All-America Team and was named the Big Ten Defensive Freshman of the Year. In 2008, he started 10 games at corner and one at safety, recording 36 tackles. As a junior, he started all 12 games at corner, totaling 66 tackles, four interceptions and 11 pass breakups.

Michigan S Mike Williams (No. 94): After not seeing any game action in 2007, he played in 11 games in 2008, including nine at safety. In 2009, he started nine games at safety and played in 10, registering 56 tackles. In 2010, he appeared in two games before missing the rest of the season due to a head injury.

Iowa T Bryan Bulaga (No. 96): He played in seven games as a true freshman, starting five. In 2008, he started all 13 games at left tackle, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors. As a junior, he made 10 starts at left tackle and was named Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. He was drafted No. 23 overall by the Green Bay Packers in 2010 and is the team's starting right tackle.

Ohio State moved up to No. 7 in the revised class rankings, while Michigan fell out of the top 10.

Michigan's Hemingway and Jerimy Finch, a safety who signed with Florida before transferring to Indiana, are listed among the recruiting busts of the 2007 class.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Ohio State defensive backs Donald Washington and Jamario O'Neal told reporters Thursday at media day that they've been suspended for the first two games of the season. Here's the report from the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises. Neither player elaborated on the reasons for the suspensions. Washington is a starting cornerback opposite Malcolm Jenkins, while O'Neal has been a reserve safety.

Both players missed part of spring practice, though no one said why.

This isn't a major blow for a still-stacked Buckeyes defense, especially since the first two games come against Youngstown State and Ohio. A three-game suspension would have been a different story, given that the Buckeyes travel to USC in Week 3. Still, it's never ideal to face USC in your first game of the season, but that'll be the reality for both players. And the Buckeyes' secondary is already without Eugene Clifford (transferred) and James Scott (out for preseason).

Sophomore Chimdi Chekwa, who likely will start the first two games in place of Washington, has the chance to impress the coaches and possibly keep the top job against the Trojans. Washington started every game last season and racked up 39 tackles.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

CHICAGO -- Illinois coach Ron Zook will step on the dais shortly, as Big Ten football media days get under way. The coaches and league commissioner Jim Delany talk from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., so I'll check back as often as I can.

Here are five things to watch Thursday:

1. Rich Rodriguez makes his debut: Media days featured three new coaches (Mark Dantonio, Tim Brewster and Bill Lynch) last year, but none of them will draw attention like Rodriguez, who enters his first season at Michigan. He'll most likely address his legal settlement with West Virginia and the upcoming quarterback competition between Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan.

2. Joe Paterno: The 81-year-old coach has no contract beyond the season, and his coaching future will once again be discussed. Paterno is always entertaining on the dais. He might get annoyed with the how-much-longer-will-you-coach crowd, but that will make it all the more enjoyable.

3. Terrelle Pryor: The acclaimed incoming freshman quarterback isn't here this week, but Ohio State coach Jim Tressel surely will be asked about the nation's No. 1 recruit. Don't know how much Tressel will reveal about his plans for Pryor this fall, but he might dispel some theories.

4. Iowa situation: Kirk Ferentz checked in with ESPN.com this morning, and the Iowa coach will have to rehash things when he takes the dais at 1:15 p.m. Perhaps he'll comment more about the specifics of how university officials handled the alleged sexual assault case involving two former football players and a female student-athlete.

5. Tiller talk: Purdue coach Joe Tiller makes his final appearance at Big Ten media days, and most reporters will miss having him around. Tiller should have some interesting stories and thoughts to share when he takes the dais at 11:15 a.m.

Here's the schedule of coaches/officials at the dais today:

Illinois coach Ron Zook -- 10:30-10:45 a.m.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald -- 10:45-11 a.m.

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema -- 11:15-11:30 a.m.

Purdue coach Joe Tiller -- 11:30-11:45 a.m.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel -- 11:45 a.m.-noon

BREAK

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio -- 12:30 p.m.-12:45 p.m.

Minnesota coach Tim Brewster -- 12:45-1 p.m.

Penn State coach Joe Paterno -- 1-1:15 p.m.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz -- 1:15-1:30 p.m.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez -- 1:30-1:45 p.m.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany -- 2-3 p.m.

Also a quick nugget:

  • It looks like Ohio State safety Eugene Clifford is headed elsewhere, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Clifford, who could end up at Louisville, was arrested earlier this month after allegedly punching two employees at a Cincinnati sports bar.

Sorry I'm late. After spending roughly 24 hours traveling from Argentina back to Chicago -- yep, I'm the dummy who spent a chunk of the summer in the wrong hemisphere -- I'm back, very jet-lagged and itching to blog. Here are some Big Ten bits to chew on this Wednesday morning:

• Ohio State safety Eugene Clifford might have run out of chances after his latest transgression, allegedly punching two employees at a sports bar. We might not know until his July 29 trial date, but you've got to wonder if Clifford will be saying goodbye, Columbus.

• Illinois is putting beaucoup bucks into its stadium renovation, a move that looks to be paying off. Following the team's trip to the Rose Bowl, season-ticket sales have eclipsed 40,000 for the first time since 1986.

• Saw this one last week from an internet café in Buenos Aires, but thought it was worth noting again. There's plenty of movement among the college football bigwigs, but Big Ten commish Jim Delany isn't going anywhere, the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein writes.

"Delany is in talks with conference officials about a contract extension that could take him through 2013. His current deal expires in 2010, so there's no great urgency. But the bottom line is that Delany, who will celebrate 19 years at the conference on Tuesday, is poised to continue to call the Big Ten's Park Ridge headquarters home. And that means that the pro-BCS, anti-playoff crowd will continue to have its strongest advocate."

• Rich Rodriguez will provide the philosophical and playcalling shakeup many felt Michigan needs. But how will he handle his first notable disciplinary situation after the DUI arrest of running back Kevin Grady last week? The Detroit Free Press' Drew Sharp wants Rodriguez to come down hard on Grady.

• There's a new first family in Michigan sports: the Currys. Deon is in the mix for a major role at wide receiver for Michigan State. His dad, Michael, recently was named Detroit Pistons coach. Michael plans to be a frequent face in the crowd this fall at MSU games, according to the Detroit Free Press.

• The Detroit News lists five reasons to get geeked about Michigan State in 2008. Several of them tie into a general theme: Mark Dantonio has the right personality to guide a program that for too long was beset with disciplinary problems off the field and a lack of mental toughness on it. Can't argue with that.

• While Comcast customers rejoice the cable giant's long-overdue agreement with the Big Ten Network, Iowa fans are still waiting, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reports.

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