Big Ten: Jay'ru Campbell

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.
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.

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Big Ten Friday mailblog

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In 3, 2, 1 ...

Sam from Nashville writes: Do you think the B1G would ever allow the title game to be in a central location outside of "B1G Country"--like Nashville or Louisville--or is the conference's "SEC inferiority complex" too great? LP Field is big, new, actually outdoors, and warmer in December -- plus, it's only a 13 hour drive from the B1G's peripheral schools. Indy, by comparison is a 10-hour drive, and Chicago is 12.

[+] EnlargeMichigan State Spartans
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY SportsIt's hard to imagine the Big Ten title game not utilizing Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Adam Rittenberg: While I'm sure LP Field is great, and that Brian Bennett would love to have the Big Ten title game in his home city, I don't really see the point of moving the game outside league borders. It has nothing to do with the SEC. Would the SEC ever play its title game in Indianapolis? Of course not. It has a great thing going in Atlanta. Fans love it, schools love it. Why mess with it? The Big Ten would be doing a major disservice by moving its game to Nashville or even Louisville when Indy or Chicago work much better for most fans.

Ndamukong Suh from The House of Pain writes: You give no credit from my Huskers beating OSU in 2011. You make excuses that that year OSU was just mediocre, not saying that you are wrong here, but some credit belongs to Nebraska for gutting out the win. I can make the argument that the B1G got Nebraska aboard during one of its historic low points. From 2002 through 2013 Nebraska has been at its lowest win percentage since 1951 to 1961 (64 percent). That is good enough to tie for third-best win percentage with Iowa, only OSU (75 percent) and Wisconsin (70 percent) are higher in the B1G. So why do you insist on belittling that victory over the Buckeyes in 2011? The real difference between Nebraska and the top of the B1G is the turnovers. Granted it is part of the game, but when the Huskers do get a handle on that there isn't a team in the conference that they cannot compete with and beat.

Adam Rittenberg: If this really was Suh, I'd be entering the Witness Protection Program. Sure, I'll give Nebraska some credit for a historic comeback against Ohio State, but to use that win in an argument why Nebraska is all of a sudden going to dominate the Big Ten West Division rings hollow. Nebraska has some decent wins since joining the Big Ten. It also has had some stinkers, none more so than in the 2012 Big Ten championship game. As to Nebraska's historic low period, so what? Nebraska is down (according to you) and Ohio State was down in 2011, so that game really doesn't matter. I agree completely with your last points about the turnovers holding back Nebraska and the fact the Huskers can compete with anyone. I never said they couldn't.

TM Ryan from Evanston, Ill., writes: Adam: Will the Big Ten continue with a football championship game? It sounds like the SEC's game is the only true moneymaker (always sold out) among all conference title games and with the playoff coming in, the game allows for a playoff contender to pick up a late loss which can eliminate them from the playoff. Seems like there isn't much to gain any longer.

Adam Rittenberg: There are certainly downsides, Ryan, but I think the Big Ten title game will be a moneymaker in most years, like the SEC's. It certainly was last year with two top 10 teams squaring off. If the selection committee puts emphasis on winning your league, which it says it will and which Jim Delany is fighting for, the game will have significance in the playoff picture. There will be some years where the Big Ten champ doesn't go to the playoff, but in most years, the Rose Bowl will be on the line, too. So there's more at stake -- and more money to make -- in having the game.

A.P. from East Lansing, Mich., writes: I'm sure you've heard/seen the incident with Cass Tech QB Jayru Campbell. I fully expect Mark Dantonio to take his offer back. While this is disappointing (since he was a 4-star recruit), do you think this will affect anything for MSU moving forward in terms of recruiting? We'll be fine in the QB position because we'll have Damion Terry and possibly Connor Cook, too. What are your thoughts on the whole incident?

Adam Rittenberg: It's always disappointing to see an incident like that, especially involving someone who has a promising future at stake. Michigan State surely will wait to see if charges are filed against Campbell -- nothing has come down yet -- and will want to know all the details. But it certainly doesn't look good for a recruit who has had other issues with violence and plays a position where you need discipline and maturity. Michigan State seems set at quarterback for the next few years either way.

Samuel from Iowa City, Iowa, writes: Adam, just finished reading about the continuing troubles with Penn State's AD. Which has brought me back to a question I've had for awhile. Why are AD hires not more high-profile news? Who are these guys who decided who will get millions, who will recruit the teams of the future? A lot rides on the B1G's ADs, and they are mostly enigmas to me.

[+] EnlargeMark Dantonio
Mike Carter/USA TODAY SportsNo Big Ten coach in the BCS era fashioned better defenses than Mark Dantonio.
Adam Rittenberg: It's a good point, Samuel, but in general we care a lot more about coaches than those above them. The coaching searches in the pro sports are similar, while general manager hirings usually aren't huge news (unless you live in Chicago and the Cubs hire Theo Epstein). Texas' somewhat recent AD hire generated some buzz, and like Dave Joyner, Steve Patterson has some baggage. Penn State's situation certainly was unique after the scandal, and Joyner certainly isn't your typical AD hire, especially for a program that large.

Mac from As Far South While Being Considered North writes: Who were the best offensive-minded and defensive-minded coaches in the B10 during the BCS era? My pick for defensive mind is Mark Dantonio for what he did at OSU in 2002 and MSU the past four years. I found offense a little more hard to pick, my thoughts were Jim Tressel, Bielema and Lloyd Carr. Your thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: It's an interesting topic, Mac, although some of your picks for offense are off base. Bret Bielema is a defense guy (former coordinator at Kansas State and Wisconsin), while few would describe Jim Tressel and Lloyd Carr as offensive geniuses. My pick would be Joe Tiller at Purdue. He changed the game in the Big Ten with his spread system and had tremendous success early in his tenure. Dantonio would be my pick for his accomplishments both as a coordinator and head coach in the B1G. I'd mention Norm Parker, too, as he did a great job as Iowa's longtime defensive coordinator.

King from Los Angeles writes: You told Brent from Iowa that "It's a what-have-you-done-lately type of deal." to support putting Nebraska ahead of Iowa. But a few questions down, you told Kenny from Nebraska that "Wisconsin ended the season poorly but had a better, more consistent squad than Nebraska for much of the season." Doesn't that contradict each other?

Adam Rittenberg: I can see how it might be interpreted that way. I should have used different language. It comes down to which team I/we think is better at that moment if they played. Despite Iowa's convincing win against Nebraska five weeks earlier, I would pick Nebraska if the two squared off today after seeing both in bowls. And I'd pick Wisconsin to beat both.

Big Ten lunchtime links

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I'm Carlos Danger, and I approved these links.

Big Ten recruiting mailbag

August, 9, 2013
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It’s time to dip into the Big Ten recruiting mailbag and answer some of your questions. We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered. We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter to @bbournival or @TomVH. Feel free to email us as well at brad.bournival.espn@gmail.com or TomVHESPN@gmail.com.

@BeerTheDeer: What are Wisconsin’s chances with Joe Mixon and Damien Mama? If the Badgers can pull them both, does that do anything to raise Wisconsin’s recruiting pull?

Brad Bournival: Absolutely. You have to consider that seniors only get five official visits, so the Badgers are already way ahead of the game when it comes to landing the duo. Wisconsin’s offensive line legacy and strong education isn’t lost on Mama. The Badgers’ ability to turn running backs into stars isn’t lost on Mixon either. As far as what it would do to help Wisconsin in the recruiting scene, history shows that teams on a roll stay on a roll, especially on a year-to-year basis. Once a team gets hot with top recruits, others start taking a look.

@McArthurMatt: Will Michigan State start putting the pinch on Michigan’s Detroit Cass Tech pipeline with the commitment of Jayru Campbell?

Tom VanHaaren: It depends on what you mean by pinch. Campbell didn’t have a Michigan offer, so I don’t know if you can consider that in your question. I think Michigan will still land players from Cass Tech, but Michigan State hiring Curtis Blackwell will certainly make for more competition.

Blackwell was involved with a lot of prospects in Detroit, so his relationship with the prospects and their families is a big bonus. I do think Michigan State has a shot with Cass Tech defensive end Joshua Alabi, who does have an offer from the Wolverines.

If Michigan State lands Alabi, then this is an argument that can be talked about. That would be a big win for the Spartans if they were to land him, but that’s yet to be seen.

Michigan State will be a player for a lot of the local prospects now, but I don’t think it will have a huge impact overall on Michigan’s recruiting efforts.

@roberthendricks: What do you think about Damian Prince? Where is he headed?

Bournival: The three teams that look to be separating themselves are Florida State, Maryland and Ohio State, but I think this is a two-team battle between the Terrapins and Buckeyes. Maryland might be selling the in-state angle, but it’s more than that as the Terrapins wouldn’t mind having him be the face of the program. With 13 offensive linemen under scholarship next season and four starters leaving after this season, the Buckeyes can sell playing time and depth chart to the ESPN 300 offensive tackle. In the end, I think Prince stays home and becomes a part of Maryland’s 2014 class.

@Paul_Zinn24: Overall, how is the Big Ten stacking up in recruiting to other major conferences?

VanHaaren: Not great. Michigan and Ohio State are holding the fort down with the No. 6 and 12 ranked classes, respectively and Penn State (20) and Northwestern (24) are in the top 25.

Outside of those four teams it doesn’t look good. The Big Ten has 25 commitments in the ESPN 300 and 20 of those come from Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Northwestern. If you don’t feel like doing the math, that means that the other eight teams have five ESPN 300 commitments combined.

The SEC has 77 ESPN 300 commits and the ACC has 35, so the Big Ten is behind significantly.

With that being said, there is still plenty of time left and there are a lot of ESPN 300 prospects that could pick Big Ten schools. Northwestern, Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State are all in on some top targets, so that number could still go up.

@dcarey71: Is it true because of early enrollments that Penn State will be allowed to offer 17 scholarships instead of 15 this year?

Bournival: That is correct with a couple of stipulations. The Nittany Lions need to stay at 15 scholarships a year, but it can also count early enrollees toward the class before it. So, since there’s some wiggle room in the 2013 class, Penn State can sign 17 prospects in the 2014 class -- as long as two enroll early. Those numbers would meet the NCAA requirements under the sanctions, including the 65-maximum scholarship stipulation as well.

Incidentally, quarterback Michael O’Connor and defensive tackle Antoine White have both stated they want to enroll in January.

Big Ten lunch links

August, 8, 2013
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Happy happiness happens day.

Big Ten recruiting storylines: Aug. 8 

August, 8, 2013
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9:00
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Big Ten fodder is never hard to find, especially in recruiting. Here’s a look at a few programs that highlighted a busy week in Big Ten recruiting:

Another Wangler on campus

WolverineNation Sunday links: Lining up

March, 25, 2012
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Chantel Jennings writes: Michigan is revamping its offensive line, as Ricky Barnum moves from guard to center and the coaches look for a starter at one guard spot and one tackle spot.

Michael Rothstein writes Insider: Junior Will Hagerup and sophomore Matt Wile are using the spring to resume the punting battle they carried out last season.

Jennings writes Insider: Detroit Cass Tech linebacker William White goes over his evaluation process as his recruitment starts to take off.

Jennings writes Insider: 2015 quarterback Jayru Campbell and running back Johnny Miggins were two of 10 Detroit Cass Tech prospects to visit Michigan on Saturday.

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