Big Ten: Garrett Taylor

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With a few weeks of senior film to evaluate, ESPN’s scouts have updated the ESPN 300. We are around the midpoint of the season as well, so teams are looking to finish off their classes and fill any remaining needs.

There is plenty to discuss at this point in the Big Ten. Here are five things to know within the conference:

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

October, 14, 2014
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There weren't too many big games within the Big Ten this past weekend, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any recruiting news. Offers were extended, commitments were made and decommitments were contemplated.

We take a look at the week that was and what could happen in the future within the conference.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

October, 7, 2014
Oct 7
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We are in the thick of the college football season and recruiting has started to heat up. With commits taking visits, offers going out and prospects committing, there is plenty to talk about within the Big Ten.


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This is the time of year when recruiting starts to heat up, especially as prospects show off their stuff at various camps. With commitments pouring in, it's time to take another look at the recruiting scorecard for the 2015 class in the Big Ten.

Penn State continues to lead the way, as coach James Franklin has already piled up 16 commitments for 2015. The Nittany Lions' seven ESPN 300 recruits are tied for fourth most in the country. The numbers are starting to add up for other Big Ten squads as well. The usual caveat here applies -- signing day is not until February, and a whole lot of things can change between now and then -- but here's a closer look at how recruiting stands in the league in mid-June.

PENN STATE
2015 verbal commitments: 16
ESPN 300 prospects: 8
Highest-rated recruit (according to ESPN.com): QB-DT Brandon Wimbush
Spotlight: When offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins committed to Franklin over the phone, Franklin was at a Penn State caravan in Hershey. Franklin held his cell phone out to the crowd and got a "We Are ..." chant started. It was only the start of the good news, as Wimbush committed the same day.

WISCONSIN
2015 verbal commitments: 13
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Quarterback Austin Kafentzis
Spotlight: Gary Anderson's staff has been on a roll, picking up nine commitments in the past six weeks, including seven in the past 11 days. Sam Madden was the latest of three offensive tackles to give his pledge, and at 6-foot-7 and 340 pounds, he's bringing a whole lot of beef to Madison.

NORTHWESTERN
2015 verbal commitments: 12
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Athlete David Dowell
Spotlight: The Wildcats' latest commitment came this month when New Jersey offensive lineman Andrew Otterman told Pat Fitzgerald yes. He was an under-the-radar recruit who was being pursued by Ivy League schools, and he plans on being a pre-med major.

RUTGERS
2015 verbal commitments: 11
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: TE-H Nakia Griffin
Spotlight: Kyle Flood has added three commitments in the past week. The highest-rated one was 6-6, 280-pound Blake Camper of Virginia, who will likely play offensive tackle for the Scarlet Knights.

NEBRASKA
2015 verbal commitments: 10
ESPN 300 prospects: 1
Highest-rated recruit: Cornerback Eric Lee
Spotlight: The Huskers have held steady, with their last commitment coming on May 15. That was from Atlanta safety Aaron Williams. He wasn't really getting recruited by SEC schools, but new secondary coach Charlton Warren, who's from Atlanta, obviously saw something he liked.

IOWA
2015 verbal commitments: 9
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Athlete Drew Cook
Spotlight: The Hawkeyes grabbed their first eight commitments early, then added offensive lineman Brett Waechter last week. He sounds like the typical Kirk Ferentz project: a player from a small school in Iowa (Hartley) whom the recruiting services don't know much about. At around 6-5 and 265 pounds, he's got a nice baseline for that Hawkeyes development program to use.

MARYLAND
2015 verbal commitments: 9
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Cornerback Kareem Ali, Jr.
Spotlight: After being quiet on the trail for months, the Terrapins picked up eight commitments in the past 25 days. That includes Ali, who chose Maryland over offers from Penn State, Michigan State, Florida, Rutgers and others.

MICHIGAN
2015 verbal commitments: 7
ESPN 300 prospects: 4
Highest-rated recruit: Cornerback Garrett Taylor
Spotlight: Offensive tackle Grant Newsome gave the Wolverines a boost last week, picking Brady Hoke's team over Penn State. The 6-7, 290-pounder also reportedly had offers from Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Notre Dame and loads of others. Given Michigan's recent struggles on the O-line, this came as particularly good news.

OHIO STATE
2015 verbal commitments: 7
ESPN 300 prospects: 2
Highest-rated recruit: Athlete Eric Glover-Williams
Spotlight: Buckeyes fans who were getting nervous about the slow start to recruiting were reassured when five players committed between May 27 and June 10. One of those is a long snapper -- Liam McCullough from Columbus. Long snappers don't often get scholarship offers, but McCullough had them from Michigan State and Wisconsin and is rated No. 2 nationally at his position. If he plays and you never hear his name again, the scholarship was well worth it.

ILLINOIS
2015 verbal commitments: 6
ESPN 300 prospects: 1
Highest-rated recruit: Offensive tackle Gabe Megginson
Spotlight: The Illini saw something in Washington D.C. running back Reggie Corbin, whose only other major offer was from Washington State. Since Tim Beckman missed out on USC transfer Ty Isaac, Corbin could get some early playing time in the backfield.

MICHIGAN STATE
2015 verbal commitments: 5
ESPN 300 prospects: 2
Highest-rated recruit: Offensive tackle Kyonta Stallworth
Spotlight: Quarterback Jayru Campbell, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after being charged with assaulting a school security officer, decommitted from the Spartans, which was likely a two-way street. Michigan State had already found another quarterback in this class in Brian Lewerke from Phoenix. Running back Khari Willis committed over the weekend.

PURDUE
2015 verbal commitments: 5
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Quarterback Elijah Sindelar
Spotlight: Darrell Hazell picked up four commitments in the past week, including three-star running back Robert Ennis from Millville, N.J. Purdue joined Ohio State in offering a scholarship to a long snapper, Ben Makowski, which inspired this post.

INDIANA
2015 verbal commitments: 4
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Wide receiver Leon Thornton
Spotlight: The Hoosiers have added two recruits this month, including sought-after quarterback Tommy Stevens. With Tre Roberson transferring, Kevin Wilson needs to add a quarterback in this class.

MINNESOTA
2015 verbal commitments: 3
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Safety Jacob Huff
Spotlight: All three of Minnesota's commits have come since May 30, and none have been rated yet by ESPN.com. Two of the three are twins, as defensive back Jacob Huff and linebacker Julian Huff each gave their pledge on June 5. Twin Cities, indeed.

Michigan and Ohio State went in different directions on the field this past season, with the Buckeyes competing for a Big Ten championship and the Wolverines trying to regroup.

Both teams are looking to add firepower to their rosters, though, and the rivals will definitely be battling on the recruiting trail for 2015 prospects. Ohio State will be targeting quite a few Southern prospects, but there are still some overlapping targets for fans to keep an eye on. Here is a look at where each school stands.


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The calendar now reads May (happy Cinco de Mayo to you, too) and it's a good time to check the recruiting scorecard for the 2015 class. Thirteen of the Big Ten's 14 squads are on the board -- Minnesota is still waiting for its first verbal pledge -- and several teams are filling up fast.

The James Franklin effect continues to boost Penn State, which not only has the most verbal commitments (13) in the Big Ten -- the second-most in the FBS behind Alabama -- but also the most ESPN 300 prospects (six). Nebraska also is in double digits for 2015 recruits, and Northwestern and Iowa also are off to quick starts.

Remember, February is a long way away and many things can and will change between now and national signing day, but here's where Big Ten teams stand right now:

PENN STATE
2015 verbal commitments: 13
ESPN 300 prospects: 6
Highest-rated recruit (according to ESPN Recruiting Nation): Offensive tackle Ryan Bates
Spotlight: PSU has added to its defensive line in recent weeks with a pair of defensive tackles from Maryland. Adam McLean, an ESPN 300 prospect, committed during Blue-White Weekend. Then, after a relatively quiet three weeks, Penn State added Jonathan Holland on Saturday. Holland has good size at 6-foot-5, and at 225 pounds could fill out some more.

NEBRASKA
2015 verbal commitments: 10
ESPN 300 prospects: 2
Highest-rated recruit: Cornerback Eric Lee
Spotlight: The Huskers had a nice surge toward the end of spring practice, picking up four verbal commitments, including one from quarterback Kevin Dillman. An ESPN 300 prospect, Dillman is a native of Sweden who started his high school career in California and will finish it in Texas. An intriguing prospect, to say the least.

NORTHWESTERN
2015 verbal commitments: 9
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Athlete David Dowell
Spotlight: Northwestern picked up eight of its nine commits during a five-day stretch last month (April 11-15). The surge included the Dowell twins, David and Andrew, a running back. David played both cornerback and wide receiver for Saint Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. He'll likely suit up in the secondary at Northwestern.

IOWA
2015 verbal commitments: 8
ESPN 300 prospects: 1
Highest-rated recruit: Athlete Drew Cook
Spotlight: After adding four recruits in March, Iowa has been fairly quiet, other than picking up a familiar name in Brady Reiff. The younger brother of former Hawkeye star offensive tackle Riley Reiff committed in late April. Brady is a defensive end at Parkston (S.D.) High School. Riley also came to Iowa as a defensive end before switching to offense.

RUTGERS
2015 verbal commitments: 7
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Quarterback Michael Dare
Spotlight: The Scarlet Knights had a nice surge of commits toward the end of spring ball, including running back Charles Snorweah. Born in Liberia, Snorweah boasts good speed and has played both running back and fullback during his high school career.

MICHIGAN
2015 verbal commitments: 5
ESPN 300 prospects: 3
Highest-rated recruit: Cornerback Garrett Taylor
Spotlight: After losing two coveted recruits in the winter, Michigan picked up a key player in Taylor, the nation's No. 10 cornerback prospect. Taylor is the latest top prospect from Virginia to go blue, joining running back Derrick Green (2013 class) and quarterback Wilton Speight (2014 class).

WISCONSIN
2015 verbal commitments: 4
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Quarterback Austin Kafentzis
Spotlight: The Badgers traditionally have done a good job of securing their borders with top offensive line recruits, and they continued the trend with Jon Dietzen. A native of Seymour, Wis., Dietzen had offers from Nebraska, Miami and Michigan State but opted to stick with his home-state school.

MICHIGAN STATE
2015 verbal commitments: 4
ESPN 300 prospects: 2
Highest-rated recruit: Offensive tackle Kyonta Stallworth
Spotlight: The Spartans added only one recruit during spring ball but potentially a key piece in quarterback Brian Lewerke from Phoenix. Rated as the No. 9 pocket passer in the 2015 class, Lewerke picked MSU over several Pac-12 schools, Louisville, Florida and others. He's the second quarterback recruit to pick the Spartans, joining Jayru Campbell, who last week reached a plea deal after being charged with assaulting a school security officer.

ILLINOIS
2015 verbal commitments: 3
ESPN 300 prospects: 1
Highest-rated recruit: Offensive tackle Gabe Megginson
Spotlight: Megginson is a big get for coach Tim Beckman, who needs to attract more of the state's best players. Rated as the nation's No. 20 tackle prospect, Megginson had several Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 offers. Illinois' first three 2015 recruits are from the state, a good early sign for the embattled Beckman.

OHIO STATE
2015 verbal commitments: 2
ESPN 300 prospects: 2
Highest-rated recruit: Athlete Eric Glover-Williams
Spotlight: The class is off to a bit of a slow start, and Glover-Williams' status remains shaky because of some off-field issues. But Ohio State hasn't been a fast starter under coach Urban Meyer and still brings in top classes when all is said and done. Safety Ben Edwards changed his commitment last month from Ohio State to Auburn.

MARYLAND
2015 verbal commitments: 1
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Highest-rated recruit: Offensive tackle E.J. Donahue
Spotlight: Donahue remains the only 2015 prospect on Maryland's board, but the team picked up a nice addition for its secondary in junior-college cornerback Denzel Conyers, who signed with the Terrapins after visiting last month. Conyers boasts nice size at 6-3 and 200 pounds. The Florida native played last season for Butte College in California. He's expected to enroll in June and contribute this season.

PURDUE
2015 verbal commitments: 1
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Spotlight: Quarterback Elijah Sindelar committed in February and remains the only player on Purdue's 2015 board. Sindelar, a native of Princeton, Ky., is the nation's No. 14 pocket passer. He continues the trend of nice quarterback pickups for coach Darrell Hazell.

INDIANA
2015 verbal commitments: 1
ESPN 300 prospects: 0
Spotlight: Indiana didn't have to wait quite as long for its first recruit as it did in 2013 as offensive lineman Simon Stepaniak picked the Hoosiers this past weekend. A native of Hamilton, Ohio, Stepaniak had several Big Ten offers but picked an IU team that quietly has produced terrific offensive lines under coach Greg Frey.

Big Ten Tuesday mailblog

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
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It's tax day and you owe me some emails. No refunds granted here, unless you follow us on Twitter.

To the inbox ...

Brutus from The Ninth Circle writes: What's your take on where B1G recruiting stands at the moment, and where do you think it will be, come signing day? I'm not sure which is more surprising, that Penn State is as strong as it is at the moment, or that Ohio State and Michigan aren't that high in the lists. Granted, there is still quite a bit of time to go until signing day, but momentum is important. Do you think this all evens out by signing day and Ohio State takes the No. 1 spot within the B1G?

Adam Rittenberg: Brutus, although the recruiting cycle is accelerated, it's way too soon to draw conclusions about the Big Ten recruiting for 2015. Penn State's early surge is notable because coach James Franklin came in making bold declarations and so far has backed them up. Michigan typically has been a very fast starter and the Wolverines already have five verbals for 2015, led by ESPN 300 cornerback Garrett Taylor. Ohio State often makes its push later on, even before signing day, and has the luxury of being patient. There are pros and cons to racking up a bunch of early commitments.

It's a good thing for Penn State. As running backs coach Charles Huff recently told me, "We're the new girl in school, so a lot of guys want to date us." But I wouldn't worry about Ohio State and Michigan. They'll both be fine.


Brian from Atlanta writes: Adam, I've often seen you support more weeknight and Saturday night games for the B10. On the other hand, I've seen the presidents and ADs in the P12 complain incessantly about how many weeknight and Saturday night games they have. In 2013, they played 33 night games to our 18 (both split equally between ESPN/FOX and BTN/P12N/FS1). Is this a case of the grass always being greener, or is there a sweet spot in the middle?

Adam Rittenberg: Another great question, Brian. Keep 'em coming. It really comes down to what's best for each conference. The Big Ten boasts the biggest stadiums and some of the largest fan bases in college football. It still moves the needle even though on-field performance has been down for some time. The Big Ten should be competing for that Saturday night TV window as often as possible. Until recently, the league has been missing out.

The Pac-12, meanwhile, loses a huge audience when its games kick off after 5 p.m. local time. If you start a game at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time, most of the country has tuned out. There are pros and cons to weeknight games, and I understand the concern about an early weeknight kickoff -- like Oregon-Stanford -- as it’s hard to fill the stands. But TV is king here, and the Pac-12 needs to showcase its product.


Josh C. from Atlantic City, N.J., writes: Hey Adam, Big Rutgers fan here. Couldn't be more excited for the new season in the B1G. In fact lots of people in NJ are talking about the move and better competition. I've heard a lot of talk about "non-existent" RU fans. Do you think the rest of the B1G is underestimating the volume of fans? Whether it be quantity or quality.

Adam Rittenberg: I hope so, Josh, and it's good to hear the buzz is building in the Garden State for Rutgers' Big Ten arrival. I sense that there's a portion of Rutgers fans waiting to come out and support the team when things improve on the field. We saw a lot of enthusiasm for the program during the breakout season in 2006 (Who can forget Jeremy Ito?). Rutgers followed up with several solid seasons before taking a step back in 2013. The Big Ten move should generate excitement and support, especially when teams such as Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin visit Piscataway. But Rutgers needs to perform well to show the Big Ten that its fan base is significant.


Austin from Iowa writes: What are the chances Jake Rudock has the best Career of any quarterback in the Ferentz era with two years to go and a stacked offense matched with a decent Iowa defense in a division with no real power team at the moment? Is it possible for Rudock to really make a name for himself nationally and lead Iowa to a couple of division, maybe conference titles?


Adam Rittenberg: Austin, at first I thought it would be really tough for Rudock to eclipse other Kirk Ferentz-era quarterbacks Ricky Stanzi, Brad Banks or even Drew Tate. Banks had a phenomenal year in 2002 but struggled at times the previous season. Stanzi led Iowa to an 18-4 record as the starter in 2008 and 2009 and had his best statistical season by far in 2010, but the team massively underachieved that fall. Tate had good years in 2004 and 2005 but struggled in his final season in 2006. So yes, Rudock has a chance. I wouldn't say Iowa's offense is stacked, though, and the Hawkeyes must show more explosiveness at the skill positions. A favorable schedule gives Iowa a great chance to reach the Big Ten title game this year, which would put Rudock in the category with the other Hawkeyes QBs mentioned.


Tom from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Adam -- a few months ago a local TV station ran an interview with FauxPelini, but agreed not to show his face or reveal his identity. Turns out he lives in the Chicago area. So I gotta ask: Is it you?

Adam Rittenberg: I wish I were that funny, Tom. No, it's not me. But if I ever locate Faux in Chicago, I'm buying him a beer for bringing me a lot of laughs over the years. I'm quite happy that Bo has regained custody of the cat. I'm allergic to them.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

January, 20, 2014
Jan 20
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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:


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ESPN Junior 300 analysis: Big Ten 

November, 19, 2013
11/19/13
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The newest version of the ESPN Junior 300 is out and there was plenty of movement within the list to interest Big Ten fans. Here is a look at what changes were made from a Big Ten perspective.


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