Big Ten: Jaden Gault

Big Ten's lunch links

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
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Back from vacation. Hope you had a great holiday weekend.

B1G spring position breakdown: OL

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
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We're taking snapshots of each position group with each Big Ten team entering the spring. Up next: the big uglies.

Illinois: This is another group that appears to be in significantly better shape now than at the start of coach Tim Beckman's tenure. The Illini lose only one full-time starter in tackle Corey Lewis, as four other linemen who started at least eight games in 2013 return. Senior tandem Michael Heitz and Simon Cvijanovic are two of the Big Ten's most experienced linemen, and guards Ted Karras also has logged plenty of starts. Right tackle appears to be the only vacancy entering the spring, as Austin Schmidt and others will compete.

Indiana: The Hoosiers have somewhat quietly put together one of the Big Ten's best offensive lines, and the same should hold true in 2014. Everybody is back, and because of injuries before and during the 2013 season, Indiana boasts a large group with significant starting experience. Jason Spriggs should contend for first-team All-Big Ten honors as he enters his third season at left tackle. Senior Collin Rahrig solidifies the middle, and Indiana regains the services of guard Dan Feeney, who was sidelined all of 2013 by a foot injury.

Iowa: The return of left tackle Brandon Scherff anchors an Iowa line that could be a team strength this fall. Scherff will enter the fall as a leading candidate for Big Ten offensive lineman of the year. Iowa must replace two starters in right tackle Brett Van Sloten and left guard Conor Boffeli. Andrew Donnal could be the answer in Van Sloten's spot despite playing guard in 2013, while several players will compete at guard, including Tommy Gaul and Eric Simmons. Junior Austin Blythe returns at center.

Maryland: Line play will go a long way toward determining how Maryland fares in the Big Ten, and the Terrapins will make the transition with an experienced group. Four starters are back, led by center Sal Conaboy, who has started games in each of his first three seasons. Tackles Ryan Doyle and Michael Dunn bring versatility to the group, and Maryland should have plenty of options once heralded recruit Damian Prince and junior-college transfer Larry Mazyck arrive this summer. Prince is the top Big Ten offensive line recruit in the 2014 class, according to ESPN RecruitingNation. New line coach Greg Studwara brings a lot of experience to the group.

Michigan: The Wolverines' line is under the microscope this spring after a disappointing 2013 season. Michigan loses both starting tackles, including Taylor Lewan, the Big Ten's offensive lineman of the year and a projected first-round draft choice. The interior line was in flux for much of 2013, and Michigan needs development from a large group of rising sophomores and juniors, including Kyle Kalis, Kyle Bosch, Jack Miller, Graham Glasgow, and Patrick Kugler. Both starting tackle spots are open, although Ben Braden seems likely to slide in on the left side. Erik Magnuson is out for spring practice following shoulder surgery, freeing up opportunities for redshirt freshman David Dawson and others.

Michigan State: The line took a significant step forward in 2013 but loses three starters, including left guard Blake Treadwell, a co-captain. Michigan State used an eight-man rotation in 2013 and will look for development from top reserves such as Travis Jackson (Yes! Yes!) and Connor Kruse. Kodi Kieler backed up Treadwell last season and could contend for a starting job as well. Coach Mark Dantonio said this week that converted defensive linemen James Bodanis, Devyn Salmon and Noah Jones will get a chance to prove themselves this spring. It's important for MSU to show it can reload up front, and the large rotation used in 2013 should help.

Minnesota: For the first time since the Glen Mason era, Minnesota truly established the line of scrimmage and showcased the power run game in 2013. The Gophers return starters at four positions and regain Jon Christenson, the team's top center before suffering a season-ending leg injury in November. Right tackle Josh Campion and left guard Zac Epping are mainstays in the starting lineup, and players such as Tommy Olson and Ben Lauer gained some valuable experience last fall. There should be good leadership with Epping, Olson, Marek Lenkiewicz and Caleb Bak.

Nebraska: Graduation hit the line hard as five seniors depart, including 2012 All-American Spencer Long at guard and Jeremiah Sirles at tackle. Nebraska will lean on guard Jake Cotton, its only returning starter, and experienced players such as Mark Pelini, who steps into the center spot. Senior Mike Moudy is the top candidate at the other guard spot, but there should be plenty of competition at the tackle spots, where Zach Sterup, Matt Finnin and others are in the mix. Definitely a group to watch this spring.

Northwestern: Offensive line struggles undoubtedly contributed to Northwestern's disappointing 2013 season. All five starters are back along with several key reserves, and coach Pat Fitzgerald already has seen a dramatic difference in the position competitions this spring as opposed to last, when many linemen were sidelined following surgeries. Center Brandon Vitabile is the only returning starter who shouldn't have to worry about his job. Paul Jorgensen and Eric Olson opened the spring as the top tackles, and Jack Konopka, who has started at both tackle spots, will have to regain his position.

Ohio State: Like Nebraska, Ohio State enters the spring with a lot to replace up front as four starters depart from the Big Ten's best line. Taylor Decker is the only holdover and will move from right tackle to left tackle. Fifth-year senior Darryl Baldwin could step in at the other tackle spot, while Pat Elflein, who filled in for the suspended Marcus Hall late last season, is a good bet to start at guard. Jacoby Boren and Billy Price will compete at center and Joel Hale, a defensive lineman, will work at guard this spring. Ohio State has recruited well up front, and it will be interesting to see how young players such as Evan Lisle and Kyle Dodson develop.

Penn State: New coach James Franklin admits he's concerned about the depth up front despite the return of veterans Miles Dieffenbach and Donovan Smith on the left side. Guard Angelo Mangiro is the other lineman who logged significant experience in 2013, and guard/center Wendy Laurent and guard Anthony Alosi played a bit. But filling out the second string could be a challenge for Penn State, which could start a redshirt freshman (Andrew Nelson) at right tackle. The Lions have to develop some depth on the edges behind Nelson and Smith.

Purdue: The Boilers reset up front after a miserable season in which they finished 122nd out of 123 FBS teams in rushing offense (67.1 ypg). Three starters return on the interior, led by junior center Robert Kugler, and there's some continuity at guard with Jordan Roos and Justin King, both of whom started as redshirt freshmen. It's a different story on the edges as Purdue loses both starting tackles. Thursday's addition of junior-college tackle David Hedelin could be big, if Hedelin avoids a potential NCAA suspension for playing for a club team. Cameron Cermin and J.J. Prince also are among those in the mix at tackle.

Rutgers: Continuity should be a strength for Rutgers, which returns its entire starting line from 2013. But production has to be better after the Scarlet Knights finished 100th nationally in rushing and tied for 102nd in sacks allowed. Guard Kaleb Johnson considered entering the NFL draft but instead will return for his fourth season as a starter. Rutgers also brings back Betim Bujari, who can play either center or guard, as well as Keith Lumpkin, the likely starter at left tackle. It will be interesting to see if new line coach Mitch Browning stirs up the competition this spring, as younger players Dorian Miller and J.J. Denman could get a longer look.

Wisconsin: There are a lot of familiar names up front for the Badgers, who lose only one starter in guard Ryan Groy. The tackle spots look very solid with Tyler Marz (left) and Rob Havenstein (right), and Kyle Costigan started the final 11 games at right guard. There should be some competition at center, as both Dan Voltz and Dallas Lewallen have battled injuries. Coach Gary Andersen mentioned on national signing day that early enrollee Michael Deiter will enter the mix immediately at center. Another early enrollee, decorated recruit Jaden Gault, should be part of the rotation at tackle. If certain young players develop quickly this spring, Wisconsin should have no depth issues when the season rolls around.
Tags:

Purdue Boilermakers, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten Conference, Michigan State Spartans, Northwestern Wildcats, Indiana Hoosiers, Illinois Fighting Illini, Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan Wolverines, Wisconsin Badgers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Maryland Terrapins, Corey Lewis, Josh Campion, Brandon Vitabile, Darryl Baldwin, Blake Treadwell, Pat Fitzgerald, Travis Jackson, Miles Dieffenbach, Justin King, Zac Epping, Gary Andersen, Brett Van Sloten, Andrew Donnal, Rob Havenstein, Dallas Lewallen, Brandon Scherff, Paul Jorgensen, Donovan Smith, Austin Blythe, Tommy Olson, Angelo Mangiro, Jack Konopka, Jake Cotton, Jeremiah Sirles, Kyle Kalis, J.J. Denman, Kyle Dodson, Eric Olson, Michael Heitz, Simon Cvijanovic, Spencer Long, Collin Rahrig, Greg Studrawa, Kodi Kieler, Jordan Roos, Cameron Cermin, Taylor Decker, Robert Kugler, Jack Miller, Kyle Bosch, Evan Lisle, Jason Spriggs, Mark Pelini, James Franklin, Patrick Kugler, Kyle Costigan, Andrew Nelson, Ted Karras, Jon Christenson, Dan Feeney, Erik Magnuson, James Bodanis, Jaden Gault, Graham Glasgow, Marek Lenkiewicz, Eric Simmons, Pat Elflein, Matt Finnin, Damian Prince, Michael Deiter, David Hedelin, Mike Moudy, Zach Sterup, Conor Boffelli, B1G spring positions 14, Austin Schmidt, Tommy Gaul, Sal Conaboy, Ryan Doyle, Michael Dunn, Larry Mazyck, Connor Kruse, Devyn Salmon, Noah Jones, J.J. Prince, Kaleb Johnson, Betim Bujari, Keith Lumpkin, Mitch Browning, Dorian Miller

Big Ten class rankings analysis 

November, 13, 2013
11/13/13
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There has been movement on the recruiting trail within the Big Ten conference, so it's time once again to take a look at a few trends and changes among the teams. Here is a look at the latest for the Big Ten class rankings.

Trending up:

Tom VanHaaren: Michigan State has a chance to move up in the rankings if it can close strong. ESPN 300 prospects Jamil Kamara (Virginia Beach, Va./Bishop Sullivan Catholic) and Kiy Hester (Wayne, N.J./DePaul Catholic) recently added the Spartans to their top list, while Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) and Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) are still listing Michigan State in their top group as well. The strong defensive play on the field has Michigan State in position to play for a Big Ten championship, which could further help this recruiting class.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
8:00
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The Big Ten conference standings are taking shape and battles are heating up on the recruiting trail. Here is a look at the latest happenings in recruiting over the weekend.


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From commitments, to targets about to make a pledge, to pledges taking other visits, here’s a look at the recruiting happenings in the conference this week.

Hawkeyes on the prize

Iowa picked up a running back commit with some eye-popping numbers when Markel Smith (St. Louis/St. John Vianney) chose Iowa over Missouri and Ole Miss.


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Best Big Ten recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
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video
Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

Michigan and Ohio State both sit in the top 10 recruiting rankings this year after each landed top 10 classes in 2013 -- the Buckeyes were third, while the Wolverines were sixth.

That's why it should come as no surprise that the two schools have the top four recruiters in the Big Ten Conference for the Class of 2014 so far.

Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters in the Big Ten and why they deserve such high praise:


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Big Ten class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
10/09/13
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Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the Big Ten conference, check out our conference rankings:

1. Michigan, 15 commits: The Wolverines are No. 6 in the RecruitingNation class rankings, which includes nine ESPN300 prospects -- among them headliner and No. 2 overall Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic High). Michigan could make a move into the top-5 by winning the race for No. 4 Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge High). Defensive tackle and No. 67 Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mi./Southfield High) is another top target still in play. No. 41 overall John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Polytechnic High) will visit Nov. 29, and is another top target remaining.

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There are still a ton of prospects on the board for Big Ten teams, so conference recruiting reporters Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival take a look at the best and worst case scenarios remaining for each team.

Illinois
Best-case scenario: Illinois picked up an offensive line commit on Monday with Peter Cvijanovic (Great Barrington, Mass./East Coast Prep), which gives the Illini two offensive line commits. Despite having four wide receiver commits on board, it looks like the staff would take another receiver in this class.

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Big Ten's 2014 impact freshmen 

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
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Who’s the next Johnny Manziel? For that matter, who has an opportunity to start for a Big Ten team? Is there a Heisman Trophy candidate in the mix in this year’s Big Ten recruiting class?

Recruiting writers Brad Bournival and Tom VanHaaren tackle those questions in this week’s version of The List:

Current 2014 QB prospect that could start immediately:

Tom VanHaaren: Most schools either have a returning starter, or younger quarterbacks who will likely be ahead of the 2014 prospects so there likely isn’t anyone.

If I had to pick a few that could see playing time I would say Northwestern commit Clayton Thorson (Wheaton, Ill./Wheaton North), potentially Chris Durkin (Youngstown, Ohio/Ursuline) if Michigan State can’t figure out the offense and maybe Wilton Speight (Richmond, Va./Collegiate) if there is an injury to Devin Gardner.

Brad Bournival: The problem with most of the Big Ten QB signees is that there’s already a big name QB in front of them. Iowa could make a case here with Jay Scheel (La Porte City, Iowa/Union), but the fact it has three signal-callers returning kind of ends that talk. Like VanHaaren, I’m going with Durkin at Michigan State. The Spartans are hardly set at the position and Durkin comes in with the athleticism and arm strength needed to succeed at the next level. If he can shore up his reads, Durkin could be the guy in East Lansing.

Program changing 2014 recruiting class:

VanHaaren: Michigan is filling a lot of holes with its 2014 class and there is a good chance it continues to add to it. The Wolverines have landed nine ESPN 300 commitments and could still add more. The biggest piece, though, is five-star defensive back Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic) who is Michigan’s highest-rated prospect since the inception of ESPN’s rankings.

Bournival: Ohio State loses four offensive linemen and is light at linebacker and wide receiver. This class has three linemen already as well as three 'backers, and the Buckeyes are the favorite to land the top-rated 'backer in ESPN 300 standout Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County). Where the Buckeyes shine is at the wide receiver/athlete position as six standouts with 4.5 40-yard dash speed or better make up the class.

Current 2014 prospect with Heisman potential:

VanHaaren: The only Big Ten commit I would feel somewhat comfortable in this category is probably Peppers. Even for him that’s going to be a stretch, but he is the only commit who I think could fall in this category.

Bournival: Like VanHaaren said, this is a tough one as the top-ranked players are Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge), McMillan, Peppers and Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) coming in. That said, defense isn’t that sexy to Heisman voters. If Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland/Glenville) picks a Big Ten team and IF he plays offense, he might be the best bet. But that’s a lot of ifs.


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There are still big holes to fill in recruiting for the 2014 class and top targets still on the board. A lot of position groups are being addressed in recruiting, but not many have been completely filled.

Big Ten recruiting writers Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival take a look at the most important position for each Big Ten team in the 2014 class.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
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The opening weekend of college football and the beginning of a fall evaluation period means there is plenty to talk about in recruiting. Here is a look at what happened this weekend in Big Ten recruiting:


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The Big Ten needs to add impact players across the board, so this 2014 recruiting class is going to be a crucial one. While Michigan and Ohio State lead the way in the class rankings, each team has important commitments in their own right.

Here is a look at the most important commit for each Big Ten team in the 2014 class:

Illinois
WR Tyrin Stone-Davis
6-3, 190
ESPN 300 Rank: N/A (Juco)

Jabrill Peppers
Jared Shanker/ESPNFive-star defensive back Jabrill Peppers, a Michigan commit, is the highest ranked commitment Michigan has landed since 2006.
Illinois has four senior receivers this season, so the offense is going to need help in that category. Since Stone-Davis is a junior college prospect he will most likely be able to make an impact earlier than other receivers coming in this class. Add in the fact that he’s coming as a package deal with his twin brother Tyree, a cornerback, then it’s an added bonus for the Illini.


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Now that we've moved into June, it's time once again to take stock of the Big Ten's 2014 recruiting efforts.

Indiana got its first commitment for 2014 over the weekend, giving every league team at least one in this class. Michigan continues to lead the way and currently has ESPN.com's No. 1 ranked class in the country. Ohio State is at No. 14, followed by Penn State at 16 and Northwestern at No. 19. Michigan also leads all teams with nine ESPN 150 commitments.

With the usual caveat that it's a long way away from signing day and much can change between now and February, here's a look at how the Big Ten teams are faring:

Michigan

2014 verbal commitments: 11

Spotlight: Cornerback Jabril Peppers, whom ESPN ranks as the No. 2 prospect in the country, committed to Brady Hoke late last month in memorable style. He explained his choice while rapping on live TV. That takes some guts, and that's what you want to see from the guys who will be on an island defensively.

ESPN 150 selections: 9

Highest rated: Peppers (ESPN grade: 95)

Northwestern

2014 verbal commitments: 11

Spotlight: The Wildcats have a Top 20 class right now, according to ESPN.com. Pat Fitzgerald got six commits in May alone, the latest being 260-pound defensive tackle Fred Wyatt. Northwestern doesn't have an ESPN 150 player yet, but Fitzgerald has done a great job identifying the right kinds of players for his program, and now he's improving the overall speed.

ESPN 150 selections: 0

Highest rated: QB Clayton Thorson (ESPN grade: 82)

Penn State

2014 verbal commitments: 10

Spotlight: Scholarship restrictions haven't slowed down Bill O'Brien, who can only offer 15 initial counters in for the 2014 class. He's already got 10 lined up, so Penn State can be very choosy with its final five.

ESPN 150 selections: 1

Highest rated: ATH De'Andre Thompkins (ESPN grade: 84)

Ohio State

2014 verbal commitments: 9

Spotlight: To oversimplify things, Michigan's Brady Hoke has been cleaning up with early commitments, while Urban Meyer is arguably the best closer in the business. The Buckeyes have just two commitments since early April but are hot on the trail of man big-time prospects and are looking for a quarterback to headline the class.

ESPN 150 selections: 1

Highest rated: CB Damon Webb (ESPN grade: 84)

Michigan State

2014 verbal commitments: 8

Spotlight: The Spartans' coaches are known as great evaluators of talent, so the lack of stars next to recruits' names don't bother them. It remains to be seen how much the rise of Michigan and Ohio State will affect Mark Dantonio's efforts. Quarterback Chris Durkin, at 6-foot-4, has an accurate arm and can move.

ESPN 150 selections: 0

Highest rated: ATH Byron Bullough (ESPN grade: 80)

Wisconsin

2014 verbal commitments: 6

Spotlight: Though Gary Andersen's roots are out west, five of his six commitments in his first full recruiting class are from the state of Wisconsin. The exception is Ula Tolutau, an athlete from Andersen's native Salt Lake City, Utah. The five Wisconsin players are not surprisingly all linemen. The more things change ...

ESPN 150 selections: 1

Highest rated: OT Jaden Gault (ESPN grade: 83)

Illinois

2014 verbal commitments: 5

Spotlight: One thing Tim Beckman has to sell is playing time, and don't be surprised to see him hit the juco route again. One such transfer, tight end Trevor Kanteman, is listed as a 2014 recruit but could play this fall.

ESPN 150 selections: 0

Highest rated: DE Tito Odenigbo (ESPN grade: 77)

Iowa

2014 verbal commitments: 3

Spotlight: The Hawkeyes' second commitment of this class was a big one, as they landed top-ranked offensive guard Ross Pierschbacher in January. They've had only one commitment since then and none since April 3 despite some inclinations to offer players earlier. With offensive lineman comprising two of the three commits, Iowa still has a lot of work to do to upgrade its talent at the skill positions.

ESPN 150 selections: 1

Highest rated: Pierschbacher (ESPN grade: 84)

Minnesota

2014 verbal commitments: 3

Spotlight: The Gophers typically take their time, and so you don't see a whole lot of early commitments under Jerry Kill. He has landed one of the top in-state prospects in running back Jeff Jones.

ESPN 150 selections: 0

Highest rated: Jones (ESPN grade: 78)

Purdue

2014 verbal commitments: 3

Spotlight: The Boilermakers picked up their third commitment last Friday when Georgia receiver Gregory Phillips said yes to Darrell Hazell. Purdue fans are still waiting for some blue-chippers to hop on board.

ESPN 150 selections: 0

Highest rated: LB Brandon Garner (ESPN grade: 70)

Nebraska

2014 verbal commitments: 2

Spotlight: The Huskers have had a slow go of it on the recruiting trail thus far, getting commitments from only a pair of safeties. This time a year ago, Nebraska had eight verbal commitments. It's disappointing, to be sure, but the coaching staff is hoping to land a bunch of commitments this summer when prospects come to Lincoln for camps and visits.

ESPN 150 selections: 0

Highest rated: S Jason Hall (ESPN grade: Not ranked)

Indiana

2014 verbal commitments: 1

Spotlight: Kevin Wilson didn't get his first commitment until linebacker Michael Barwick pledged over the weekend. But remember that the Hoosiers had no commitments in early June 2013 and ended up with one of the top-ranked classes in recent program history. So it's no time to panic.

ESPN 150 selections: 0

Highest rated: Barwick (ESPN grade: Not ranked)
By now you've had time to digest the 2013 recruiting classes in the Big Ten. Many of you turned the page to 2014 long ago, so it's time for us to catch up.

The Big Ten has 19 verbal commits for the 2014 class, which ranks fourth among FBS conferences and 11 behind the SEC. Nine Big Ten schools have received commitments, and future Big Ten members Maryland and Rutgers both are on the board with one commit each.

Here's a snapshot of 2014 recruiting in the Big Ten ...

ILLINOIS

Commits: 0
Comment: The Illini didn't get their first 2013 commitment until Feb. 28, 2012, and they're pursuing several coveted in-state prospects. Some recruits might wait and see with Illinois as coach Tim Beckman faces a pivotal season after a disastrous 2012.

INDIANA

Commits: 0
Comment: The Hoosiers didn't get their first 2013 commitment until last June, so there's not a major rush here. Indiana finished the past recruiting cycle very strong and was able to flip a few players who had pledged elsewhere.

IOWA

Commits: 2
Comment: The Hawkeyes are off to a good start with offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher, an in-state prospect who has received good reviews. Iowa also remained within its borders for athlete Jay Scheel, who had received interest from other area teams like Nebraska and Iowa State. Both men are on ESPN's Watch List.

MICHIGAN

Commits: 3
Comment: Fast starts have been a hallmark of Brady Hoke's recruiting at Michigan, and the trend is continuing for the 2014 class. Size stands out among all three Wolverines' commits, including 6-foot-6, 230-pound quarterback Wilton Speight from Richmond, Va., who reclassified for the 2014 class after breaking his collarbone as a junior. ESPN Watch List prospects linebacker Michael Ferns and defensive tackle Bryan Mone are nice additions.

MICHIGAN STATE

Commits: 3
Comment: The class is off to an excellent start as all three commits are on ESPN's 2014 Watch List. The intrigue surrounds wide receiver prospect Drake Harris, who has received interest from Ohio State, Michigan and other top programs and could be pried away from Michigan State. The class also includes another Bullough, this time Byron, the younger brother of current Spartans Max and Riley.

MINNESOTA

Commits: 1
Comment: Running back Jeff Jones not only puts Minnesota on the board for 2014, but he's a solid in-state prospect on the ESPN Watch List. A lack of homegrown talent hurt Minnesota in the 2013 class, which included just one in-state prospect, so Jones' pledge is a good sign.

NEBRASKA

Commits: 0
Comment: It's still early, Huskers fans, although your anxiety about Bo Pelini's recruiting won't be quelled until Nebraska gets on the board with some decorated prospects. Nebraska's first 2013 recruits didn't commit until mid-April of last year.

NORTHWESTERN

Commits: 1
Comment: The Wildcats' defensive back recruiting has improved in recent years, and the coaches hope they've made another good addition in safety Jordan Thomas, an ESPN Watch List prospect from Klein, Texas.

OHIO STATE

Commits: 4
Comment: Although Ohio State continues to recruit aggressively in the Southern states, its first four commits for 2014 come from the Midwest (3 Ohio, 1 Michigan). The Buckeyes went to Detroit's Cass Tech High School, a traditional Michigan hotbed, for cornerback Damon Webb. They recently lost a commitment from defensive end Lawrence Marshall, who is still considering the Buckeyes but also Michigan and Michigan State.

PENN STATE

Commits: 1
Comment: Running back is and will be a major need for Penn State, especially after the 2012 season. The addition of Maryland native Mark Allen, who committed back in October, should help.

PURDUE

Commits: 0
Comment: New Boilers coach Darrell Hazell took his time putting together a staff and had to focus on finishing the 2013 recruiting cycle, so the lack of commits isn't a huge surprise. It will be interesting to see Hazell's vision/strategy for his first full class at Purdue and how successful he'll be on the trail.

WISCONSIN

Commits: 4
Comment: All four Wisconsin commits made their pledges last year, before the coaching change. New coach Gary Andersen did a good job of keeping Wisconsin's 2013 recruits on board and will need to do the same with this group, which includes ESPN Watch List selections in quarterback Chance Stewart and offensive lineman Jaden Gault.

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