Big Ten: Kyle Kerrick

Big Ten lunch links

June, 25, 2013
6/25/13
12:00
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Refill!

 

Big shoes to fill: Michigan State

February, 27, 2012
2/27/12
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With spring practice around the corner, Big Ten teams will start the process of replacing stars from the previous year. Some shoes are bigger to fill than others. We're taking a look at two key departed players from each team and who might take on their roles this season.

Today, we take a look at Michigan State. Though Kirk Cousins obviously left big shoes to fill, we know that Andrew Maxwell is his successor. So we'll focus on a couple of different spots on the Spartans.

[+] EnlargeJerel Worthy
Andrew Weber/US PresswireMichigan State's Jerel Worthy (99) was a force on the defensive line for the Spartans.
BIG SHOES TO FILL: Jerel Worthy, DT

Why: Worthy was an All-American who had such a good junior season that he decided to jump to the NFL. He registered 10.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, though that only tells part of the story about how disruptive he was in the middle of the defensive line. Worthy was also an emotional leader who provided the Spartans defense with some of its swagger. While Michigan State brings back most of its outstanding defense from last year, Worthy will be a difficult player to replace.

Replacement candidates: Anthony Rashad White (6-2, 316, Sr.), Micajah Reynolds (6-5, 320, Jr.), James Kittredge (6-4, 270, Soph.), Damon Knox (6-4, 275, RFr.), Brandon Clemons (6-3, 262, RFr.), Mark Scarpinato (6-3, 270 RFr.), Joel Heath (6-5, 270, RFr.), David Fennell (6-3, 275 incoming freshman).

The skinny: Michigan State lost not only Worthy but fellow starting defensive lineman Kevin Pickelman and top backup Johnathan Strayhorn to graduation. But Mark Dantonio was prepared for this development and has a lot of players in the pipeline ready to prove themselves. Though White played the other tackle spot last year next to Worthy, he has the size, talent and experience to replicate Worthy's production. This is a key spring for Reynolds, who has also spent time on the offensive line. Kittredge sat out last season after transferring from Vanderbilt, and Michigan State was able to redshirt five other potential tackles in 2011. Fennell will likely take that route this year. This group is largely unproven, but at least there are plenty of candidates.

BIG SHOES TO FILL: B.J. Cunningham, WR


Why: Cunningham completed his career as the school's all-time leader in receptions and yards, which is saying something given the program's history at receiver. He emerged as a true star receiver in 2011 with career bests of 79 catches, 1,306 yards and 12 touchdowns. Whenever Cousins needed a big play, he usually looked Cunningham's way. Fellow seniors Keshawn Martin and Keith Nichol also are gone, leaving a big void at the wideout position for the Spartans.

Replacement candidates: Bennie Fowler (6-1, 215, Jr.), Tony Lippett (6-2, 189, Soph.), DeAnthony Arnett (6-1, 175, Soph.), Keith Mumphrey (6-0, 202 Soph.), Andre Sims Jr. (5-8, 180, RFr.) Juwan Caesar (6-3, 197, RFr.), Monty Madaris (6-2, 190, incoming freshman), Aaron Burbridge (6-0, 180 incoming freshman), MacGarrett Kings (5-10, 175, incoming freshman), Kyle Kerrick (6-3, 190, incoming freshman).

The skinny: This is a situation much like the defensive tackle spot, in which Michigan State hopes a crowd of candidates means that one or two standouts will emerge. The difference here is that some true freshmen will likely get thrown into the mix right away. Fowler is the veteran who hobbled through an injury-plagued 2011, while Lippett moves back to offense after seeing time at defensive back last year. A lot could depend on whether Arnett, a Tennessee transfer, wins his case with the NCAA to become immediately eligible. If not, the Spartans may have to rely on at least one of the receivers they signed in this year's class or hope that a redshirt freshman takes a big step forward.

Big Ten lunchtime links

February, 3, 2012
2/03/12
12:00
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I love riddles!
After a flurry of Big Ten recruiting news in recent days, I decided to share some thoughts Thursday afternoon.

Guess I should have waited a few more hours.

A surge of commitments continued throughout the evening, making Thursday the most productive recruiting day for the league in recent memory. The Big Ten added 13 verbal commitments on Thursday, spread between seven different squads. We likely won't see such a large league-wide haul on one day for quite some time.

Some highlights from the day ...

NORTHWESTERN

The Wildcats added three commitments Thursday night, bolstering its blocking for the future.

Offensive tackle prospects Adam DePietro and Eric Olson committed together on a conference call with Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald. DePietro was deciding between Big Ten schools Northwestern, Wisconsin and Michigan State, and also recently visited Illinois.

From Rivals.com:
DePietro committed first and Fitzgerald "went crazy," he said. Then, DePietro said "I have a surprise for you," and Olson, the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder from Cambridge (Mass.) Buckingham Browne & Nichols, came on the line and committed.

Northwestern also landed a commitment Thursday from Jack Schwaba, who will play superback (tight end/fullback) in Evanston. The Wildcats now have 11 commitments for 2012.

INDIANA

After failing to a secure a verbal commitment through the first part of June, Indiana now has eight players on board. The impressive surge continued Thursday as wide receiver Kevin Davis and linebacker Jordan Wallace pledged for the Hoosiers.

Davis and Wallace are stepbrothers and played together at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, one of the state's top programs.
"It's a dream come true,” Wallace told The (Bloomington) Herald-Times. "We've always wanted to play with each other since little league. Even academically it fits for both of us. We won't find it anywhere else. We can both do what we want to do."

Indiana also secured a commitment Thursday from linebacker Mike Cotton after adding receiver Caleb Cornett on Wednesday.

MICHIGAN STATE

After making a big splash nationally by securing a commitment from defensive end Se'von Pittman last week, Michigan State added three more recruits this week, including two on Thursday.

Linebacker Jamal Lyles and tight end Josiah Price committed Thursday, following receiver Kyle Kerrick, who gave his pledge Wednesday. Lyles had offers from Iowa and Illinois, among other schools.

Michigan State now has nine commitments for 2012: five Ohio prospects, two from Michigan and one from both Pennsylvania and Indiana.

OTHER NUGGETS
  • Both Iowa and Nebraska secured verbal commitments Thursday from coveted defensive prospects. Iowa added Chicago prospect Maurice Fleming, a four-star player rated as the nation's No. 36 athlete by ESPN Recruiting. Fleming will play defensive back at Iowa but also could be used as both a receiver and a return man. Nebraska added three-star defensive end Greg McMullen from Akron, Ohio, a promising sign as the Huskers likely will focus more of their recruiting on Ohio as a Big Ten team. McMullen visited Nebraska four times and never heard much from Ohio State, which he described as a "black hole" because of the recent turmoil.
  • Wisconsin added two defensive recruits from the Pittsburgh area, tackle Arthur Goldberg and defensive back Reggie Mitchell. Goldberg had several Big East offers, including Pitt, while Mitchell reportedly received his first offer from the Badgers.
  • Purdue doesn't have to worry about recruiting specialists for some time. A day after kicker/punter Thomas Meadows committed, another specialist, Paul Griggs, gave his pledge to the Boilers. Purdue will need to replace the bionic-legged Carson Wiggs after the season.

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