Big Ten: John Plasencia
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
So, did you miss me? By the look of several e-mails, the answer is yes. Anyway, I'm back and ready to blog after a week in the Caribbean island of Curacao, where I got plenty of sun, dined on iguana and ran across a floating bridge. Good times, except for when I turned into a lobster for a few days (my Midwestern pasty skin didn't fare well in the sun). Not much of a Big Ten presence there, though I did spot a Penn State hat and an Ohio State hat on my trip.
Many thanks to my blog colleagues for filling in during my absence. Let's take a look at what went on in the Big Ten while I was away. I'll catch up on recruiting news a little later today with an updated scorecard.
- Iowa continued to dominate the offseason headlines. The team announced Monday that reserve linebacker Jacody Coleman has left the program, a move that had been rumored for some time. Coleman, who appeared in every game last season and recorded 28 tackles, will head to his home state of Texas and play for Lamar University. Iowa also announced that offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde had surgery for an undisclosed injury and could miss time early in the season. Vandervelde started nine games at guard last season.
"We were hopeful that Julian's injury could be healed through normal rehab, but it became apparent surgical repair was the best path to take," head coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. "Julian may miss some playing time, but we are optimistic he will return to full strength very early in the season."
- Hawkeyes fans are also waiting for an update on running back Jewel Hampton, who reportedly sustained a knee injury Friday. Hampton is expected to take over for Shonn Greene as the starter after racking up 463 rush yards and seven touchdowns last year as a true freshman.
- Good news for Ohio State recruit Jaamal Berry, who had his drug possession charge reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor. Berry wouldn't have been allowed to play with a pending felony case, while his fate now lies in the hands of the Buckeyes coaches. He reported for summer school at Ohio State and is enrolled at the school.
- Illinois defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of jail after serving time for drunken driving, though his playing status hasn't been determined. Brent, who was indefinitely suspended following his arrest, should be back with the team soon.
- Purdue announced Monday that reserve defenders Kris Cooke and Kevin Green were dismissed from the program for repeated violations of team policy. The Boilermakers have updated their roster and will report for preseason camp Aug. 7.
- Several future Big Ten players helped Team USA cruise to victory in the IFAF Junior World Championship. Five Big Ten recruits -- Ohio State's Storm Klein and Jack Mewhort, Northwestern's John Plasencia, Michigan State's Chris Norman and Indiana's Aaron Price -- were named first-team all-tournament.
- This really got me excited for a while, but apparently Michigan won't be opening the 2010 season against Georgia. The Bulldogs definitely would qualify as the big splash Michigan is looking to make at the renovated Big House. Perhaps Michigan will take my advice and bring Boise State to Ann Arbor.
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Seven Big Ten incoming freshmen have been named to the USA Football Junior National Team, which will compete this summer at the inaugural International Federation of American Football junior world championships.
The USA team, which features 45 players ages 19 years and younger, will compete against seven teams at the championships, held June 27-July 5 in Canton, Ohio. Players were nominated by their high school and college teams.
The Big Ten participants are:
- Ohio State linebacker Storm Klein*
- Ohio State offensive lineman Jack Mewhort*
- Michigan State linebacker Chris Norman
- Northwestern tight end John Plasencia
- Michigan State offensive lineman Micajah Reynolds
- Northwestern offensive lineman Brian Smith
- Indiana cornerback Nick Zachery
Chuck Kyle of Cleveland powerhouse St. Ignatius High School will serve as head coach for the USA team, which will face squads from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Sweden.