Big Ten: Evan Hailes

National signing day is less than 48 hours away, and Big Ten fan bases are preparing to officially welcome the 2014 class. My interest in recruiting has increased during the years, but I likely will never reach the mania of many fans.

[+] EnlargeWilliam Gholston
Zuma Press/Icon SMIWilliam Gholston played three seasons for Michigan State, recording 142 tackles and 10 sacks.
The reason: There have been so many examples of supposed top recruits who go bust, and under-the-radar guys who become stars, especially in a largely developmental league like the Big Ten. Recruiting evaluation is an inexact science.

As we prepare for the faxes to roll in, especially from the Big Ten prospects in the ESPN 300, it's always interesting to take a look back at how the top Big Ten recruits from four years ago performed. There wasn't an ESPN 300 back in 2010, just an ESPN 150, which included 15 Big Ten players. Some became stars, some never got started and others haven't closed the book on their college careers.

Let's take a closer look (positions listed according to ESPN recruiting profiles):

Top 50
  • No. 12: Demar Dorsey, S, Michigan -- Although Dorsey signed with Michigan, he was denied admission to the school. He had a checkered past but reportedly was given no specific reason for the denial. Dorsey appeared headed to Louisville but never made it and played for Grand Rapids Community College in 2011. He planned to transfer to Hawaii in 2012 but never played for the Warriors.
  • No. 42: William Gholston, DE, Michigan State -- Gholston played three seasons for the Spartans, recording 142 tackles, including 30 for loss and 10 sacks. He started 24 games and stood out in bowl wins against Georgia and TCU. After a big performance in the 2012 Outback Bowl, Gholston appeared on several preseason watch lists but underachieved at times during the 2012 campaign. He skipped his final season and was a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Nos. 51-100
  • No. 56: Rod Smith, RB, Ohio State -- Smith redshirted the 2010 season and has been in a reserve role the past three seasons, playing briefly at linebacker in 2012. He has 83 career rushes for 448 yards and four touchdowns. Smith once again will compete for the starting job this fall.
  • No. 66: Khairi Fortt, LB, Penn State -- He played two years for Penn State, recording 50 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, before transferring to Cal in 2012 when the NCAA imposed sanctions on PSU. Fortt sat out the 2012 season because of injury and had 64 tackles (3.5 for loss) in nine games last season before suffering an arm injury. He declared for the NFL draft last month.
  • No. 70: Dakota Royer, DE, Penn State -- Royer didn't play at linebacker in his first two seasons, moved to tight end after spring ball in 2012 and moved back to linebacker early in camp. He then decided to walk away from football, remained on scholarship and graduated in May.
  • No. 80: James Louis, WR, Ohio State -- Louis redshirted the 2010 season and then opted to transfer from Ohio State to Florida International. He never played for FIU and is no longer listed on the roster.
  • No. 82: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa -- He appeared in every game during the past four years and started the past two-and-a-half seasons, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches as a senior in 2013. Fiedorowicz had 91 career receptions for 899 yards and 10 touchdowns, including six this past season.
  • No. 88: Evan Hailes, DT, Penn State -- Hailes redshirted in 2010 and played two games in 2011, recording two tackles. A series of blood clots, which first surfaced in the spring of 2011, ended his career in 2012. He remained with the team in a coaching role.
[+] EnlargeDevin Gardner
AP Photo/Charlie NeibergallThe reviews have been mixed for Devin Gardner, who passed for 2,960 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2013.
Nos. 101-150
  • No. 112: Rob Bolden, QB, Penn State -- Bolden in 2010 became the first freshman quarterback in 100 years to start a season opener at Penn State. He made 16 starts in two years at Penn State but transferred to LSU after the NCAA imposed sanctions on the program in 2012. Bolden has yet to play for the Tigers and has one season left.
  • No. 118: Miles Dieffenbach, C, Penn State -- Dieffenbach redshirted in 2010 and didn't play in 2011 before starting 23 games the past two seasons at left guard. He'll likely enter the 2014 campaign in the same spot.
  • No. 128: Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan -- Gardner appeared in 12 games as a reserve quarterback in his first two seasons before alternating between wide receiver and quarterback in 2012, starting the final four games under center. He started 12 games at quarterback in 2013 and passed for 2,960 yards and 21 touchdowns, delivering several huge performances and also some duds. Gardner, who received a medical redshirt for the 2010 season, returns for his final year this fall.
  • No. 131: Darryl Baldwin, DE, Ohio State -- Baldwin worked as a reserve defensive lineman in 2011 before moving to offense in the spring of 2012. He played mostly special teams in 2012 and backed up left tackle Jack Mewhort the past two years. Baldwin could move into a starting role in his final season.
  • No. 137: Corey Brown, WR, Ohio State -- After recording just 22 receptions in his first two seasons, Brown emerged as the Buckeyes' top option in the passing game as a junior and senior. He combined to record 123 catches for 1,440 yards and 13 touchdowns and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2013 from the coaches.
  • No. 147: Andrew Rodriguez, G, Nebraska -- Rodriguez played mostly in a reserve role for his first three seasons and then started every game as a senior in 2013, alternating between right tackle and right guard for an injury-plagued Husker line. He earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and the media.
  • No. 148: C.J. Olaniyan, DE, Penn State -- After redshirting in 2010, Olaniyan recorded 18 tackles and a sack during his first two seasons. He started every game last fall at defensive end and led Penn State in both sacks (5) and forced fumbles (3), recording 11 tackles for loss, an interception and a fumble recovery. He'll enter his final season projected as a starter.

More misses than hits in the group, although several players still could finish their college careers as stars.
Penn State coach Bill O'Brien told reporters Tuesday in Washington D.C. that Evan Hailes' playing career is over because of blood-clot problems.

Hailes, a redshirt sophomore defensive tackle, first developed a blood clot in his leg in the spring of 2011 while traveling to his grandfather's funeral. The clot spread to Hailes' lungs, becoming a life-threatening situation, and he was hospitalized for about a week. Hailes was put on blood thinners and missed spring practice but worked back to appear in two games last season, recording two tackles against Eastern Michigan.

Unfortunately, the blood-clot issues have forced him to stop playing. Hailes will remain on scholarship and serve in a graduate assistant-type role with the team.

Hailes came to Penn State rated as the nation's No. 88 recruit by ESPN Recruiting. Best of luck to him in the future as he pursues his degree at Penn State.

Big shoes to fill: Penn State

February, 23, 2012
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As we count down the days before spring practice, we're taking a look at how each Big Ten team will replace key players on their depth charts. We're picking two departed players who left big shoes to fill and identifying who might be ready to do that filling.

Up next, Penn State.

[+] EnlargeDevin Still
Jeffrey G. Pittenger/US PresswireDevon Still piled up the postseason honors last season after recording 17 tackles for loss.
BIG SHOES TO FILL: Devon Still, DT

Why: It's never easy to replace the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American. Still was the epicenter for Penn State's defense, a disruptive force who regularly required double teams. He recorded 17 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, but his value went far beyond the numbers. As Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald noted before his team faced Penn State, Still causes "complete and total chaos in the backfield." Although Penn State has shown it can reload up front, it will miss No. 71.

Replacement candidates: Jordan Hill (6-1, 297, Sr.); DaQuan Jones (6-3, 312, Jr.); James Terry (6-3, 317, Sr.); Evan Hailes (6-1, 303, So.)

The skinny: Hill will start at one defensive tackle spot, but I include him here because he'll need to increase his production to help account for Still's departure. Jones and Terry served as the backup defensive tackles in 2011 and combined for 18 tackles and a quarterback hurry. Jones has played both inside and outside but is clearly suited to the defensive tackle spot. Hailes came in as a decorated recruit but battled a blood clot issue last spring and appeared in only two games last fall. Penn State's best bet is to have an All-Big Ten type season from Hill and generate depth at the other tackle spot.

BIG SHOES TO FILL: Derek Moye, WR

Why: While Moye didn't have the year some had hoped, Penn State's problems at quarterback had a lot to do with it. He's a big body (6-5) who could stretch the field and outjump defensive backs for the ball. Moye led the team in receptions (40), receiving yards (654) and receiving touchdowns (3) in 2011, and was the team's top receiver in 2010 and 2009 as well. He's a three-year starter at a position that doesn't have much proven depth entering the 2012 campaign.

Replacement candidates: Justin Brown (6-3, 213, Sr.); Devon Smith (5-7, 155, Sr.); Shawney Kersey (6-1, 198, Jr.); Brandon Moseby-Felder (6-2, 191, Jr.)

The skinny: Penn State really needs Brown to move into the No. 1 receiver role Moye occupied for the past three seasons. Brown showed some flashes in 2011, recording 35 receptions for 517 yards, but he also had some key drops. Smith contributed 25 receptions, but Penn State had no other receiver record more than five catches. It'll be a huge spring for players like Kersey, Moseby-Felder, Bill Belton and Curtis Drake to take their games to the next level and give Penn State some additional options at receiver.
Being one of the top-rated recruits in the country is a double-edged sword. You get all the attention and hype you'd ever want coming out of high school. But there is also more pressure on you to succeed once you step foot on campus. And there's more pressure on coaches and programs to get the most out of their big-time prospects. As the old saying goes, potential will get you fired.

With that in mind, today we're taking a look back at the top Big Ten recruits from the 2010 class and seeing where they stand. It's not fair to judge these guys until the end of their college careers, and in several cases these players haven't even gotten on the field yet. But it's never too early to take stock.

We're going to use the ESPNU150 list from 2010 as our guide. The Big Ten had 14 players make that elite list. We'll divide the players into three categories: those who've made the biggest impact so far, those who have played but for whom the jury is still out and those who haven't played yet. (One interesting thing to note: None of the 14 made Adam's 2010 Big Ten All-Freshman team):

Away we go ...

Biggest impact

Rob Bolden, QB, Penn State (No. 112 overall, No. 4 position rank)

[+] EnlargeRob Bolden
AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, FileRob Bolden made a big impact as a freshman, but his future remains up in the air.
You all know the Bolden story. He started the first seven games as a true freshmen and eight games overall, throwing for 1,360 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions. Then he lost his job to walk-on Matt McGloin after suffering a concussion against Minnesota, and there was a heated quarterback battle this spring. The last we heard, Bolden hadn't decided whether he'll stay at Penn State or transfer before the 2011 season.

Corey Brown, WR, Ohio State (No. 137 overall, No. 20 position rank)

"Philly," as he's called, played in all 13 games last season and saw time on the kick and punt return teams as well as at receiver. He caught eight balls for 105 yards and a touchdown, which came in the win over Purdue. He won the outstanding first-year player award from the coaching staff. But he also had trouble with drops this spring. With the Buckeyes' lone returning starter at receiver, DeVier Posey, out for the first five games, Brown will need to become a consistent force.

Khairi Fortt, LB, Penn State (No. 66 overall, No. 2 position rank): Will Fortt be one of the next great players at Linebacker U.? He saw action in nine games last year, including a start against Illinois in which he recorded 11 tackles. Penn State is loaded at linebacker, but Fortt saw a lot of time with the first-team defense this spring and will be hard to keep out of the lineup this fall.

William Gholston, DE, Michigan State (No. 42 overall, No. 3 position rank)

The Big Ten's highest-rated recruit in 2010 served as the Spartans' backup left end and played in 10 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Minnesota. He collected 13 tackles and a half-sack as a true freshman and had five stops and an assisted tackle for loss against Iowa. The 6-foot-7, 265-pounder should slide into a starting role in 2011.

Jury's still out

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa (No. 82 overall, No. 6 position rank)

Fiedorowicz saw action in all 13 games but did not record a catch as a true freshman as he saw most of his time on special teams. The 6-foot-7 sophomore is expected to back up starter Brad Herman this season but could see time when the Hawkeyes use two tight ends.

Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan (No. 128 overall, No. 5 position rank)

Gardner got to play in three games as a true freshman. He threw for 85 yards and a touchdown against Bowling Green and also ran for a score in that game. Then he hurt his back and missed the rest of the season, and Michigan is hoping to get a medical redshirt year for him. Of course, his opportunities were limited anyway and figure to be the same for the foreseeable future because he's stuck behind another pretty good quarterback. Fella named Denard. You might have heard of him.

Andrew Rodriguez, OG, Nebraska (No. 147 overall, No. 7 position rank)

The 6-foot-6 Rodriguez got his feet wet with five appearances in 2010, becoming the first true freshman to play on the offensive line for Nebraska since 2006. With starting guards Ricky Henry and Keith Williams now departed, there's a good chance Rodriguez fills one of those spots in 2011.

Look out for

Darryl Baldwin, DE, Ohio State (No. 131 overall, No. 13 position rank)

Baldwin took a redshirt year in 2010 and should see some snaps this year, albeit most likely in a backup role.

Miles Dieffenbach, C, Penn State (No. 118 overall, No. 1 position rank)

Dieffenbach redshirted in 2010 as senior Doug Klopacz held down the center spot. Dieffenbach is expected to back up junior Matt Stankiewitch in 2011.

Evan Hailes, DT, Penn State (No. 88 overall, No. 9 position rank)

It may be a while before we know anything about Hailes. He redshirted in 2010, and Joe Paterno said after the spring game that Hailes could miss the entire 2011 season with an undisclosed illness.

James Louis, WR, Ohio State (No. 80 overall, No. 12 position rank)

Louis redshirted in 2010 and was inconsistent this spring, like most of the Buckeyes' young receivers. At least the opportunity for playing time is there.

C.J. Olaniyan, DE, Penn State (No. 148 overall, No. 16 position rank)

Olaniyan redshirted last season and got some first-team reps this spring with starters Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore slowed by injuries. Those two will start when they get healthy, but Olaniyan should see time in the rotation along the defensive front.

Dakota Royer, LB, Penn State (No. 70 overall, No. 7 position rank)

A defensive end in high school, Royer is battling for playing time at the crowded linebacker position with the Nittany Lions. He redshirted in 2010 and will have to fight to get on the field behind an experienced crew this season.

Rod Smith, RB, Ohio State (No. 56 overall, No. 7 position rank)

Smith reported late to preseason camp last year while he worked on some academics and ended up redshirting. Now he's part of a group of tailbacks battling for carries while starter Dan Herron is out for the first five games. The 6-3, 230-pound bruiser impressed during bowl practice last year, had seven carries for 36 yards in the spring game and could become the featured back in Herron's absence. But the running back competition figures to continue into fall camp.
The 2010 recruiting classes are signed and sealed, and ESPN Recruiting's JC Shurburtt is handing out awards for the top recruiters in each conference.

His pick for the Big Ten comes as no surprise: Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson.

Johnson's name is always mentioned among the nation's top recruiters, and for good reason. His recruiting exploits in the Maryland/Washington D.C./Virginia area are a big reason Penn State rarely sees any drop-off in the defensive front seven.

Shurburtt praises Johnson for helping to sign defensive end Dakota Royer and defensive tackle Evan Hailes, both ESPNU 150 prospects, for Penn State's nationally ranked 2010 class.

Penn State recruiting analysis

February, 4, 2010
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Penn State Nittany Lions

The class

Recruits: 20 (all high school seniors, six players enrolled early)

Top prospects: Khairi Fortt is ranked as the nation's No. 2 inside linebacker by ESPN's Scouts Inc., while defensive linemen Dakota Royer, Evan Hailes and C.J. Olaniyan all were among the ESPNU 150. Penn State also landed the nation's best center in Miles Dieffenbach, as well as a quarterback (Robert Bolden) who can compete for snaps right away.

Sleepers: Late addition Shyquann Pulliam could really help the secondary, an area Penn State must continue to upgrade. Mike Hull adds depth to the linebacking corps after Penn State loses all three starters from the 2009 team. Running back Silas Redd could be a big help if the Lions suffer injuries to one of their top ball carriers.

Needs met: Penn State once again did a fabulous job of reloading in the defensive front seven with players like Fortt, Royer and Hailes. The Nittany Lions needed another quarterback and got a very good one in Bolden. Joe Paterno's staff also thought to the future at both tight end and offensive line and brought in several very solid prospects there.

Analysis: Penn State signed unquestionably the best recruiting class in the Big Ten, and it could have been even better. The Nittany Lions not only brought in elite prospects, but they addressed their needs in the front seven and bolstered the offensive line and some of the skill positions. After losing a lot of decorated players from the 2009 team, Penn State will need this class to contribute in 2010 and 2011. Despite Paterno's age and his uncertain future, Penn State has elevated its profile in recruiting the last two years.

Scouts Inc. grade: A-minus

PSU, Iowa, MSU sign classes

February, 3, 2010
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Penn State has announced the signings of 20 players who make up the Big Ten's top recruiting class for 2010. Although Penn State's class fell one spot to No. 8 in ESPN's rankings today, the Nittany Lions had one of the nation's most complete classes, particularly on the defensive side. Players like Dakota Royer, Khairi Fortt, Evan Hailes and several others should help Penn State very early in their careers. Quarterback Robert Bolden should compete for the starting job right away as the Nittany Lions try to replace Daryll Clark.

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz finalized a 21-man recruiting class that features several of the Midwest's top players. The Hawkeyes landed one ESPNU 150 prospect in tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, and players like offensive lineman Andrew Donnal, running back Marcus Coker, and athlete A.J. Derby all should be key contributors. Iowa's class really bolsters the defensive front with five linemen and three linebackers.

Michigan State hasn't sent out an official release just yet, but the Spartans' 21-man class is signed and sealed. Defensive-minded coach Mark Dantonio bolstered the defense with players like ESPNU 150 prospect William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough and defensive backs Mylan Hicks. The Spartans also added depth at quarterback with Joe Boisture. This class might not have made quite as big a splash as last year's haul, but Michigan State once again did very well within the state and the Big Ten region.
My in-season responsibilities prevented me from updating the scorecard for quite a while, but it's back now. And with recruiting season heating up and several big prizes (Seantrel Henderson, Jordan Hicks) still out there, this is the perfect time to see how teams are doing.

For all your recruiting needs, go here and here.

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Another disappointing season finally cost Illinois on the recruiting trail, as tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, an ESPNU 150 prospect, switched his verbal to Iowa. The Illini still boast several good prospects, including quarterback Chandler Whitmer, who remains in Ron Zook's corner. Illinois hasn't had a verbal commitment since early August, so Zook really needs to work his magic in the coming weeks.
INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 21
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Jibreel Black's decommitment and switch to Cincinnati stings the Hoosiers, but IU still brings in a sizable class that includes some solid players. Indiana hasn't had a verbal commitment since late August, but the class looks pretty complete.
IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 20
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: TE C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Comment: The Hawkeyes' success on the field has translated very well to recruiting, as the team added several excellent players during the fall. Fiedorowicz headlines a class that also includes Iowa prep star A.J. Derby. Iowa has received six verbals since the start of the season.
MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 21
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: QB Devin Gardner
  • Comment: Gardner hasn't wavered in his commitment to head coach Rich Rodriguez and the Wolverines, and the lure of early playing time likely has kept the class in place. Michigan got a big commitment from cornerback Cullen Christian days after the season ended, though things have been fairly quiet since the summer.
MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: DE William Gholston
  • Comment: Gholston could reopen his recruitment, which would leave Spartans fans holding their breath. The top-rated player in the state of Michigan would be a major boost for MSU. Mark Dantonio's team picked up three verbals during the season, including one from wide receiver Keith Mumphery.
MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 22
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Tim Brewster and his staff continue to recruit at a high level and landed several solid prospects during the season. Among them is wide receiver Chris Hawkins, who could make an immediate impact in 2010. Running back Josh Huff from Texas also is a solid addition. Minnesota picked up 11 verbals during the season, tops among Big Ten teams.
NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: After a slow start, Northwestern is putting together a solid 2010 class. The Wildcats recently added running back Ibraheim Campbell, the fifth player to commit during the season. The class seems heavy on defensive tackles and offensive skill players, both areas of need.
OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 13
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: RB Roderick Smith, WR James Louis, DE Darryl Baldwin, WR Corey Brown
  • Comment: Offensive firepower might be an issue in Columbus right now, but help is certainly on the way. Brown has been Ohio State's only in-season commit, but other big names soon could follow. Ohio State has bolstered the wide receiver and defensive end/linebacker spots.
PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 20
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: DE Dominique Easley, LB Khairi Fortt, DT Evan Hailes, DE Dakota Royer, WR Adrian Coxson, QB Robert Bolden, C Miles Dieffenbach, DE C.J. Olaniyan
  • Comment: Penn State entered the season with the Big Ten's best recruiting class and has only made it better. The Nittany Lions staff has done a fabulous job with this class, landing Fortt, Easley, Olaniyan and two other prospects during the season. Penn State has addressed almost every position and should be very pleased on national signing day.
PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 20
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Danny Hope and his assistants continue to raid the state of Florida, and now they're bringing in more coveted prospects to Purdue. Wide receiver O.J. Ross from Daytona Beach, Fla., headlines a class that already includes seven Floridians. Purdue added eight verbals during the season, including cornerback Ricardo Allen.
WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 18
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Wisconsin has a tradition of turning solid players into stars and should have ample opportunities with this class. The Badgers added six verbals during the season, including safety/linebacker Manasseh Garner and offensive tackle Rob Havenstein.

Big Ten in the recruiting rankings

September, 30, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


The fine folks at ESPN's Scouts Inc. have published their September recruiting rankings, which feature two Big Ten teams in the top 15.

Penn State comes in at No. 7, two spots below its August mark but still tops in the conference . Ohio State moves down a spot to No. 10. Despite a fast start to the 2010 class and the commitment of quarterback Devin Gardner, Michigan didn't make the rundown.

Here are the comments about both the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes.

No. 7 Penn State

Commits: 18
ESPNU 150 Commits:
6
Top Prospect: DE Dominique Easley

Penn State's stellar class got a big bump last week with the commitment of 260-pound end Dominique Easley (Staten Island, N.Y./Curtis). The talented pass-rusher is one of the quickest players off the ball in this class. In addition to Easley, Joe Paterno and his staff will be bringing two other supremely talented D-linemen in Dakota Royer (Manheim, Pa./Central) and Evan Hailes (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith). Penn State needs quarterbacks, and it got two in this class with P.J. Jones (McKees Rocks, Pa./Sto-Rox) and heralded Robert Bolden (Orchard Lake, Mich./St. Mary's). Bolden is the more athletic of the two. Wideouts Adrian Coxson (Baltimore/City College) and Alex Kenney (State College, Pa./State College) and running back Silas Redd (Stamford, Conn.) give this class excellent skill talent that will help to support the young quarterbacks -- both of whom could be candidates to replace Daryll Clark.

No. 10 Ohio State

Commits: 13
ESPNU 150 Commits: 5
Top Prospect: RB Roderick Smith

The Buckeyes are adding some offensive weapons in this class, highlighted by four-star RB Roderick Smith (Fort Wayne/Harding). He will provide a bruising dimension in the backfield. He resembles former Buckeye great Beanie Wells on film and is tall, has great bulk and is still lean enough through the waist and lower body to remain fluid with some wiggle. He joins a pair of Under Armour All-American WRs in James Louis (Delray Beach, Fla./Atlantic Community) and Corey Brown (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara). Both have explosive speed, quickness and acceleration. Ohio State also added some playmakers on defense, including a pair of four-star DEs in Darryl Baldwin (Solon, Ohio/Solon) and David Durham (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian). Baldwin, 6-5, 255 pounds, has a great physical build to go with good tools. Durham, 6-2, 225 pounds, is a talented and versatile player who can play a number of positions, but will likely wind up at end.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Here are two Big Ten recruiting nuggets for you, courtesy of the fine folks at ESPN's Scouts Inc.

Under Armour All-American defender Dominique Easley picks Nittany Lions

ESPNU 150 defensive end Dominique Easley of Curtis (Staten Island, NY) has given Penn State a commitment for the Class of 2010.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound prospect also visited Florida, Georgia and Rutgers. Others among his 18 offers were Tennessee, Michigan, Miami-Florida, Oregon, Boston College, UConn, Duke, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Texas Tech, UCLA and Syracuse.

Easley pledged after watching the fifth-ranked Nittany Lions defeat Temple, 31-6, on a campus visit this past weekend.

"I always liked Penn State," Easley told Staten Island Live.Com. "I didn't think I was going to commit, but being out there and talking to everybody made me feel like this was the place."

He also told ESPN affiliate Web site NittanyNetwork.com via text message, "The education is unbelievable and Coach [Larry] Johnson is the coach for me because he reminds me of my high school coach."

ESPN's Craig Haubert said of the news, "The New York prep star seemed like he was headed to Florida at one point over the summer, but Penn State was able to persevere and land the talented defender. With Easley they get a versatile lineman who possesses one of the quickest get-off's in the 2010 class. The ESPNU 150 member is a DE/DT tweener who we think will grow more into a true DT in time, but he can give Penn State some options in how they use him especially early on.

"The Nittany Lions are assembling a very talented group of defensive line help in this class and are preparing to inject a big infusion of youth to the position. Easley along with fellow UA All-Americans end Dakota Royer (Manheim, Pa./Central) and defensive tackle Evan Hailes (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith) sit at the top of Penn States class and join recent commit C.J. Olaniyan (Warren, Mich./Mott) as talented defensive line prospects in this class."

Easley registered 51 tackles, 10 sacks and two fumble recoveries, both returned for touchdowns, during his junior season.

Indy safety James Manuel says yes to the Gophers after official

James Manuel (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central) committed to Minnesota over offers from Michigan State, Iowa, Louisville and Cincinnati after making an official visit to campus, NittanyNetwork.com's Bill Kurelic reports.

"I really enjoyed my visit," Manuel said. "I had a great, great time at the game even though they lost. The atmosphere was crazy. The coaches said I have a good chance to come in and compete for a spot."

The high school corner who projects as a safety for the Gophers registered a 4.19 20-yard shuttle, 7.26 three-cone drill, 30.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-8 broad jump at the Atlanta Under Armour Combine.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Attention, recruitniks: the ESPNU 150 recruiting rankings are out, along with a breakdown of how the selections were made and some nuggets from JC Shurburtt.  

It won't take you long to notice a pattern, and I'm not talking about the fact the top six players are uncommitted.

The rankings are very heavy on players from the south and southeast, while prospects from Big Ten territory are few and far between. 

Only four players in the top 50 hail from Big Ten states: linebacker Jordan Hicks (No. 2, Ohio), offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (No. 4, Minnesota), defensive end William Gholston (No. 33, Michigan) and wide receiver Kyle Prater (No. 43, Illinois). 

Does this mean there's no talent in Big Ten states? Hardly. But at least according to these ratings, more and more elite prospects play their high school football in warm-weather states. It's why we're seeing more Big Ten teams expand their recruiting efforts to the south and southeast. 

Here's the list of ESPNU 150 prospects committed to Big Ten teams:

  • No. 33: William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
  • No. 58: Roderick Smith, RB, Ohio State
  • No. 71: Dakota Royer, DE, Penn State  
  • No. 81: Evan Hailes, DT, Penn State
  • No. 83: Evan Louis, WR, Ohio State
  • No. 86: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Illinois
  • No. 103: Adrian Coxson, WR, Penn State
  • No. 112: Darryl Baldwin, DE, Ohio State
  • No. 114: Robert Bolden, QB, Penn State
  • No. 115: Andrew Norwell, OT, Ohio State
  • No. 117: Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
  • No. 134: Miles Dieffenbach, C, Penn State
As for the team breakdowns, Penn State leads the way with five commits, followed by Ohio State with four. Michigan State, Illinois and Michigan each have one. 

Check Thursday's blog for your updated recruiting scorecard.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 30, 2009
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Penn State and Ohio State both add big-name recruits, and other teams fill in the gaps. Here's your updated recruiting scorecard. 

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Quick take: No new commits for the Illini, but a solid class is taking shape with Fiedorowicz's recent pledge. Wide receiver Kyle Prater remains a good possibility for Illinois, which will take advantage of a strong in-state crop in 2010. 

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Indiana's fast start is one of the more intriguing early storylines in Big Ten recruiting. Time will tell if the Hoosiers are being too impulsive with their offers, but several of their additions look solid. Linebacker Jack Denton is a very nice pickup for Mike Yeager, and Cameron Cole adds depth in the secondary.

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end Matt Hoch, tackle Andrew Donnal
  • Quick take: Things have slowed down a bit for Iowa, which got its last commitment from Donnal on July 13. Iowa has bolstered both lines and its linebacking corps, which loses Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds after the season. The next step: more skill guys.

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 16
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: Nothing new for Michigan, which should be fairly selective from here on out after a very quick start. Rich Rodriguez will look to bolster both lines after stocking up on skill guys early on.

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough, quarterback Joe Boisture
  • Quick take: Safety Isaiah Lewis fits the Mark Dantonio mold in the secondary and gives Michigan State its second defensive back commitment for 2010. The Spartans have good balance among their 10 commits and soon could add heralded wide receiver Tony Jones. 

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: All has been quiet on the Gophers' recruiting front since a flurry of additions in late June and early July. Minnesota's re-commitment to the run game has paid off with Donnell Kirkwood and Lamonte Edwards. Tim Brewster now must address the defense in the coming weeks and months.

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: No new commitments for the Wildcats, who are still looking to land their first in-state prospect. Northwestern has more high-level early commits (Paul Jorgenson, Trevor Siemian) than in past seasons, and Pat Fitzgerald seems willing to be patient as he fills out a smallish class. 

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham, running back Roderick Smith, defensive end Darryl Baldwin, wide receiver James Louis
  • Quick take: Look out, here come the Buckeyes. Wideout James Louis gives Ohio State six watch list commits out of 10 and bolsters the passing game for the future. What's more impressive is that the Buckeyes went into Florida and plucked one of the state's best prospects, who had offers from all of the SEC powers. 

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz, defensive tackle Evan Hailes, quarterback Robert Bolden, wide receiver Alex Kenney, defensive end Dakota Royer
  • Quick take: It's now official: Penn State has the Big Ten's top recruiting class at this point in the process. Royer gives the Nittany Lions eight watch list prospects, three of whom play defensive line. Tight end Kevin Haplea is another solid addition for Penn State, which has turned the page after some recruiting struggles during the middle part of this decade. 

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: Chalk up two more Florida recruits for Purdue, which added defenders E.J. Johnson and William Lucas since the last scorecard. Lucas is a bit undersized at linebacker but makes up for it with good quickness and strength. After signing 14 players from Florida in his first recruiting class, Purdue head coach Danny Hope continues to look to the Sunshine State for talent.

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 12
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Frank Tamakloe
  • Quick take: The Badgers are clearly leaning toward the defense with their 2010 class and added two more defenders in safety Michael Trotter and linebacker Cody Byers, who played a lot of safety in high school and could see time there. It's not an official Wisconsin recruiting class without a running back, and Bret Bielema satisfied his quota with Jeff Lewis, a decent in-state prospect with good size.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 21, 2009
7/21/09
2:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

A lot of coaches were on vacation last week, so things got a bit quiet. Let's take a trip on the Big Ten recruiting trail. 

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Quick take: No action during the last week for the Illini, but a very solid class is shaping up for Ron Zook. After a very strong start with in-state recruits, Illinois could soon branch out to other areas. Linebacker Jonathan Brown is on the radar

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 13
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Indiana has been one of the Big Ten's most active teams in early recruiting, and the results are paying off. Linebacker Ishmael Thomas is a very solid addition, and guard Bill Ivan provides depth along the offensive line. Though the group doesn't include a watch list prospect, Indiana has done very well in its region. A 3-9 season last year doesn't seem to be hurting the program at all in recruiting. 

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end Matt Hoch, tackle Andrew Donnal
  • Quick take: No new additions for the Hawkeyes, who have to be pleased with their class so far. The team loses several key pieces in the defensive front seven after the 2009 season, but players like Hoch and James Morris could make an early impact.

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 16
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: Austin White became the third running back to commit to the Wolverines, who hope they've solidified depth in the backfield for the foreseeable future. Michigan beat out Michigan State for White, who has two brothers who play for the Spartans. 

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough, quarterback Joe Boisture
  • Quick take: Nothing new for Michigan State last week, though Mark Dantonio has to be pleased with what he sees right now. The Spartans continue to target in-state prospects like C.J. Olaniyan and Tony Jones.

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Some Gophers fans took offense at my claim that the team hadn't made a big splash in recruiting yet. To be fair, offensive lineman Jimmy Gjere qualifies as a very nice pickup. The big fish is still out there, though, in local product Seantrel Henderson. Cornerback Jabari Price would be a very nice addition. 

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Northwestern's efforts in central Florida haven't gone unnoticed, as three of the team's six commits hail from the Sunshine State. The Wildcats continued to look out of state for center Brandon Vitabile, a New Jersey native who bolsters the offensive line. Next step: Pick up a prospect or two from within the state of Illinois. 

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham, running back Roderick Smith, defensive end Darryl Baldwin
  • Quick take: Penn State and Michigan have generated most of the recruiting headlines so far, but here come the Buckeyes. Baldwin's commitment gives Ohio State five watch list prospects out of nine and even more depth for the defensive line. He's already a physical presence who should only get better under Jim Heacock. 

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 13
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz, defensive tackle Evan Hailes, quarterback Robert Bolden, wide receiver Alex Kenney
  • Quick take: The Nittany Lions kept Kenney at home, giving them seven watch list prospects out of 13. Kenney always seemed likely to pick Penn State, but there are no guarantees in recruiting. He gives Penn State seven in-state commits, a good sign for a program that saw its recruiting dip several years ago.  

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: Head coach Danny Hope isn't afraid to wait for recruits, but he has a nice nucleus for the 2010 class. Purdue has addressed the passing attack with two quarterbacks -- Marve and Sean Robinson -- two wide receivers and a tight end. Hope is trying to tap his Florida roots for defensive lineman Brandon Wilkinson. 

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Frank Tamakloe
  • Quick take: Kansas State's loss is Wisconsin's gain as defensive end Warren Herring will play for the Badgers after originally committing to the Wildcats. Interesting subplot: Wisconsin coach Bielema used to work for Kansas State and Bill Snyder. The Badgers have recruited well on the defensive side so far with Herring, Tamakloe and linebacker Konrad Zagzebski. 

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 14, 2009
7/14/09
11:01
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Illinois picks up a major commit at tight end, while Penn State bolsters its quarterback position and other teams add key pieces. Here's your latest recruiting rundown in the Big Ten.

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Quick take: Fiedorowicz is a big get for the Illini, who lose starting tight end Michael Hoomanawanui after the 2009 season. Illinois also will be breaking in a new starting quarterback and could lose superstar wideout Arrelious Benn to the NFL draft, so Fiedorowicz should be a big help during the transition.

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Things have slowed down a bit for the Hoosiers, who are still glowing from the commitment of defensive end Jibreel Black from Cincinnati. Indiana has found a good offense-defense balance so far in the 2010 class.

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end Matt Hoch, tackle Andrew Donnal
  • Quick take: Both lines have been the focus of Iowa's recruiting so far, and the Hawkeyes made a big splash with Donnal, who could protect his fellow Ohioan Ricky Stanzi at some point down the line. At least seven of Iowa's commits could contribute on the offensive or defensive lines.

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: The nucleus for Michigan's 2010 class is in place, and the team hasn't added a commit since Courtney Avery on June 20. There are a ton of great athletes in this group, and Michigan likely will turn its attention to line play to wrap up the class.

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough, quarterback Joe Boisture
  • Quick take: After landing its first seven commits from within state borders, Michigan State went into enemy territory -- or Mark Dantonio's home state, depending on how you look at it -- to pick up offensive linemen Travis Jackson and Michael Dennis. The two Ohio natives balance out a class that is shaping up well for the Spartans.

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Gophers already have a strong in-state recruiting haul, and they went to the southeast for running back Donnell Kirkwood, a workhorse-type back who generated a lot of interest. Minnesota also remains in the mix for arguably the nation's biggest prize, local product Seantrel Henderson.

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 6
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Pat Fitzgerald should never have a hard time recruiting linebackers, and Northwestern landed a good one -- with a good name -- in Chi Chi Ariguzo from Columbus, Ohio. Ariguzo can also play safety and should contribute on special teams early in his career. Northwestern has yet to land an in-state prospect.

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham, running back Roderick Smith
  • Quick take: A quiet week for the Buckeyes after filling their backfield needs with Smith and quarterback Taylor Graham. Ohio State hopes to go back into Florida for star linebacker Jeff Luc and possibly linebacker Deon Rogers.

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 12
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz, defensive tackle Evan Hailes, quarterback Robert Bolden
  • Quick take: Does Penn State currently have the Big Ten's best recruiting class for 2010? It sure looks that way as Bolden gives the Nittany Lions six watch list commitments out of 12 overall. Both Bolden and Paul Jones should be able to operate effectively in the Spread HD offense.

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: The quality of Purdue's commits seems to be getting better as quarterback Sean Robinson and defensive tackle Josh Davis came aboard. Robinson joins Marve and Caleb TerBush in the quarterback mix, while Davis boasts excellent size (6-foot-5, 250) for a young interior lineman.

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Frank Tamakloe
  • Quick take: The quarterback position might be a question mark this season, but it's shaping up well for the future as Joseph Brennan committed to the Badgers. Brennan has good mechanics and accuracy, and he should get better with increased strength. Cameron Ontko could be a contributor at fullback or H-back down the line.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 7, 2009
7/07/09
11:10
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Not surprisingly, there has been plenty of recruiting news throughout the Big Ten since the last scorecard. Here's a snapshot of what went down during the last two weeks. 

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer
  • Quick take: After landing several dynamic skill players, Illinois bolstered its line with guards Andy Gallik and Dexter McDonald. The Illini now have four in-state commits. 

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Defensive end Jibreel Black highlights a very strong recruiting push for the Hoosiers. Black, whose older brother Larry will contend for a starting job on the Hoosiers' D-line this fall, had offers from 25 other schools, including Michigan State. Matt Perez and Antonio Banks give Indiana some depth at running back.  

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end Matt Hoch
  • Quick take: Hoch is the latest addition to a Hawkeyes defensive line that appears to be getting stronger and stronger for the future. He passed up a chance to join his older brother at Missouri and stayed home with the Hawkeyes. 

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: Things have finally slowed down for Michigan, which has stocked up on skill players for the 2010 class. It would be nice to see a few more linemen added, though it's clear speed will always be Rich Rodriguez's top priority in recruiting. 

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough, quarterback Joe Boisture
  • Quick take: The quarterback position got another boost as Boisture switched his commitment from Boston College to the Spartans. All seven commits hail from the state of Michigan, and Boisture, Bullough and Gholston rank among the state's top 10 prospects. 

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Gophers haven't made a huge splash yet, but they continue to add solid prospects, especially in the trenches. Tim Brewster's commitment to better line play and the power run game is paying off, as offensive linemen Mark Lenkiewicz and Zac Epping pledged maroon and gold. 

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: What the Wildcats lack in quantity, they make up for with quality prospects, most recently offensive lineman Paul Jorgenson. Offensive line continues to be Northwestern's best position in recruiting, though the team still needs a few more wide receivers. 

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham, running back Roderick Smith
  • Quick take: Smith is a very impressive addition for Ohio State, bringing an impressive blend of size and speed to the backfield. Ohio State beat out several of its Big Ten brethren for his services. After making a run at several 2010 quarterbacks, the Buckeyes finally landed one in Taylor Graham.

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 11
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz, defensive tackle Evan Hailes
  • Quick take: Hailes gives Penn State as many Top 150 prospects as Michigan, and possibly just as strong a class as the Wolverines. The Lions have found a nice balance between linemen and skill players, picking up Jordan Norwood's little brother Levi at wide receiver. 

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 6
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: Things picked up quickly for the Boilermakers, who added five high school players in the last two weeks. Quarterback Sean Robinson highlights the group of new commits and gives Purdue another option if Marve doesn't pan out. The Boilers got some help for their quarterbacks with tight end De'Ron Flood and two wideouts. 

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 6
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Frank Tamakloe
  • Quick take: Tamakloe is an excellent get for the Badgers, who are restocking their defense in the 2010 class. At 6-2 and 172 pounds, Tamakloe should grow into his frame and be a force in the secondary. He'll contend for immediate playing time along with Konrad Zagzebski.

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