Big Ten: Jelani Jenkins

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Lots to link after national signing day, so we'll go in alphabetical order. 

"Rodriguez proved once again that challenges only fuel him. There were those at West Virginia who said he couldn't win with two- and three-star recruits. Opposing recruiters said the 3-9 record would be his death, that it would run him out of Ann Arbor, leaving his offense there and a new coach who didn't care. Through it all, the opportunity for playing time and the vision Rodriguez presented to players and parents, resonated. Others said at Michigan he couldn't recruit and keep the warm-weather players he loved, yet this class features eight from Florida and a few from Arizona."

"I believe every one of the skilled kids have a chance to get on the field because that's where we have the biggest need," Hope said.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Several significant bits of Big Ten recruiting news broke while I was over at SportsNation chatting away (too many SEC questions for my liking). 

As expected, Michigan landed a much needed second quarterback as Denard Robinson of Deerfield Beach, Fla., announced he would play for the Wolverines. Robinson and high school teammate Adrian Witty both pledged to Michigan, continuing the team's late recruiting momentum. 

After losing commits Kevin Newsome and Shavodrick Beaver, Michigan needed a second quarterback in this class alongside Tate Forcier. Both Forcier and Robinson will be in the mix for the starting job in spring practice, and both seem to fit head coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense. 

Illinois can breath a sigh of relief after wide receiver Terry Hawthorne of East St. Louis, Ill., sent in his letter of intent this morning. Hawthorne's verbal commitment to the Illini had been questioned in recent days, and the rumors only ramped up this morning after his high school teammate and fellow Illinois commit, wide receiver Kraig Appleton, picked Wisconsin over Illinois.

Hawthorne, ranked as the nation's 10th best wide receiver by Scouts Inc., could step in right away this season. 

There is also a report out of Tennessee that top wide receiver prospect Marlon Brown will pick Ohio State this afternoon. Brown would be an excellent addition to a young and talented receiving corps. 

Penn State was unable to land top linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who is headed to Florida

Here is our updated signing list for the Big Ten. 

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Recruiting has truly become the second season in college football, and it all culminates in less than 24 hours with national signing day. 

Want to know where Ohio State's recruiting class stacked up with the best in the country? How did Michigan overcome poor on-field play with excellent recruiting? What does Michigan State's 2009 class mean for the future of Mark Dantonio's program?

Get those answers and much more on ESPNU, which will have nine hours of signing day coverage from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. ET. In addition to expert analysis, there will be live announcements from top recruits making their college choices, including linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who is considering Penn State, and wide receiver Marlon Brown, who is deciding between Ohio State and three SEC programs. Michigan is waiting to hear from high school teammates Denard Robinson and Adrian Witty. 

There also will be interviews with coaches and top prospects like Matt Barkley and Russell Shepard.

ESPN2 will broadcast a special hour-long edition of College Football Live at 2 p.m. ET, and I will be chatting about signing day at 11:15 a.m. ET.   

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

When Sean Lee tore his ACL during spring practice last year, Penn State suddenly had major uncertainty at its flagship position.

For the first time in a while, Linebacker U. entered the 2008 season without a clear-cut headliner in the defensive midsection. Then Navorro Bowman came along and had a breakout season, tallying 16.5 tackles for loss as quite possibly the Big Ten's best linebacker. 

With Lee returning to the mix this year and promising young players like Michael Mauti in the fold, Penn State could have one of the nation's best linebacking corps in 2009. 

Jelani Jenkins might be the final piece of the puzzle. 

Jenkins, ranked as the nation's No. 9 overall prospect and No. 2 linebacker by ESPN's Scouts Inc., will announce his college choice on national signing day. The Wheaton, Md., prospect is choosing between Penn State and national champion Florida. Notre Dame, USC and Stanford also are in the mix. 

Jenkins' high school teammate, cornerback Mike Wallace, committed to Penn State last weekend, though most reports seem to indicate Florida is in the lead for Jenkins. 

Penn State already has two linebackers on board for 2009 in early enrollee Gerald Hodges and Glenn Carson. Should Jenkins sign with the Lions, the linebacker spot should be stable for years to come.