Big Ten: Ricardo Miller

Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges likes what he has to work with this spring. And who wouldn't be excited about Denard Robinson and Fitz Toussaint returning in the backfield as the offensive core?

But like every team, the Wolverines have some issues. One of the key concerns is building a solid two-deep along the offensive line.

"It's a position where we feel good about the kids who are playing," Borges said. "We just need to enhance our depth."

Michigan must replace Rimington Trophy winner David Molk at center, and Ricky Barnum will get the first crack at the gig. Barnum was injured most of last season, and has played left guard in the past.

"He's athletic," Borges said. "Ricky can move. He's really has the profile more of a center. He's smart, he understands who to block and he's played some guard, which should have some carry-over to center. So I think Ricky is going to be fine."

Making up for Molk's leadership might be the toughest task this spring. Borges said Barnum, left tackle Taylor Lewan, and senior guard Patrick Omameh should help pick up the slack in that area.

The starting group up front should be solid, with senior Elliott Mealer taking over at left guard, and Michael Schofield moving to right tackle to replace Mark Huyge. Behind them is a lot of inexperience. Borges said redshirt freshmen Jack Miller and Chris Bryant should contribute. And an incoming freshman like Kyle Kalis has a chance to crack the depth chart.

"We'll see how quick they can pick it up," Borges said.

Another area of concern is tight end, which loses departed seniors Kevin Koger and Steve Watson. Borges said senior Brandon Moore, who has played sparingly, and Ricardo Miller, who's more of a receiving tight end, will get the bulk of the work this spring. But it's a position that remains unsettled.

"We're looking at other kids, and the jury is still out," Borges said. "It's a position where, if a freshman came in and showed something, he could probably make a contribution."

Incoming recruit Devin Funchess could be that guy, though he'll likely need to put on some weight. The Wolverines also signed A.J. Williams as a tight end prospect.

"Seeing who's going to come to the forefront and be our starting tight end this spring, that's huge," Borges said.

Practice nuggets from Michigan

August, 20, 2010
8/20/10
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My apologies for posting this late, but I finally got a chance to review the Big Ten Network's football preview tour stop at Michigan. The crew of Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith attended a Wolverines practice last week.

Here are some nuggets and observations:
  • We get to see Tate Forcier's wing-less helmet very early in the show, although we know now that he has regained his wings. Forcier seemed to be No. 3 in the quarterback rotation during drills, behind both Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner. "Denard and Devin got most of the reps today," DiNardo said. But head coach Rich Rodriguez maintains the race is open. Forcier, to his credit, made some crisp throws in the practice.
  • The BTN crew picked Robinson to be the starter when the season opens Sept. 4. Although he misfired on a few outside throws in individual drills, he looked more comfortable overall as a passer.
  • Gardner's size and mobility make him a pretty exciting young prospect. He likely won't be the starter for the opener, but you figure he'll be in the mix at some stage. "He has the most ability of the three quarterbacks," DiNardo said.
  • We learned quite a bit during the M drill, where a running back dashes through a line of four blockers and four defenders. Michael Cox had several nice runs, following a block from tight end Brandon Moore on one play. Kelvin Grady followed a block by Erik Gunderson and shot through the line, while burly back Stephen Hopkins broke through tackles with a powerful run on one play. Defensive standouts in the drill included end Jibreel Black, safety Brandin Hawthorne and tackle Will Campbell, who made a very nice tackle on Hopkins. There also were some good team efforts, including blocks from Michael Schofield and Quinton Washington, and a team tackle by Richard Ash and Jonas Mouton.
  • The secondary remains a concern, but a few players stood out in individual drills. Safety Vlad Emilien had a huge hit against Fitzgerald Toussaint, and safety Josh Furman forced a fumble by freshman receiver Ricardo Miller in a 1-on-1 matchup.
  • There's no reason defensive tackle Mike Martin shouldn't have an excellent year for Michigan. He's got excellent strength and good size at 6-2, 299. "There’s very little he doesn’t do well," DiNardo said. Campbell also looked good in this practice, both physically and with his play. DiNardo thinks Campbell will be most effective when lined up directly over the center. "He's really picked up his game," Griffith said. Griffith also likes the freshman Black.
  • It was really fun to watch Martin and center David Molk go at it in a 1-on-1 drill. A ton of strength in that matchup, which it appeared Molk won. Offensive tackle Perry Dorrestein and defensive tackle Renaldo Sagesse also had a good battle. It was a pretty good day overall for the offensive line. DiNardo particularly likes tackle Patrick Omameh.
  • We didn't see a ton from the linebackers, although the first group in one drill was Craig Roh, Mouton and, yes, Mark Moundros, the team's starting fullback, at middle linebacker. It'll be interesting to see how much Moundros pushes Obi Ezeh and others for playing time.
  • Cox looked the best among the running backs, although several of them have impressive speed, including Toussaint. Hopkins certainly stands out from the group because of his size (6-foot, 227 pounds).
  • The BTN crew really likes Michigan's wide receivers, especially Roy Roundtree. They also noted the play of freshman Jeremy Jackson, one of the team's bigger receivers at 6-foot-3. "They’ve got the right number at wide receiver," DiNardo said. "You can't say that about every position in the program."
  • In interviews, Martin talked about the defense being closer this year, and Rodriguez expressed concern about the kicking game.

Wolverines announce 27-man class

February, 3, 2010
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Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for Michigan to announce its full recruiting class after heralded safety Demar Dorsey officially signed about an hour ago.

The Wolverines bring in 27 new players, at least 12 of whom will try to help a beleaguered defense that really needs a jolt in 2010. Michigan started very quickly in recruiting, and while UM might not have a ton of elite prospects, the class is very solid across the board. Obviously, Dorsey gives Michigan a big name at a very big position.

A few notes on Michigan's class:

  • The class consists of players from nine different states, including 11 from Ohio, four from Michigan and three players from both Florida and Pennsylvania.
  • Seven of the signees have already enrolled for the winter 2010 semester: quarterback Devin Gardner, running back Stephen Hopkins, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, offensive lineman Christian Pace, wide receiver Jerald Robinson and running back Austin White.
  • UM signed a pair of brothers, cornerback Terrence Talbott and defensive tackle Terry Talbott, from Wayne High School in Huber Heights, Ohio. In addition to the Talbott brothers, the Wolverines had Warren G. Harding teammates Davion Rogers and D.J. Williamson join the fold.
  • The Wolverines signed two players on the ESPNU 150: Dorsey (12) and Gardner (128).
Michigan quarterback recruit Devin Gardner has officially enrolled at the school.

Gardner told me Tuesday afternoon that he enrolled and started classes earlier in the day. University officials confirmed the enrollment, and Gardner's name now appears in Michigan's online student directory.

The 6-foot-4, 198-pound quarterback was unable to enroll for the start of the term, and it appeared as though he wouldn't start practicing with the team until August. But Gardner completed his requirements at Inkster (Mich.) High School and enrolled a week and a half after the semester started (Jan. 6).

He joins six other early enrollees at Michigan: Austin White, Jeremy Jackson, Ricardo Miller, Christian Pace, Stephen Hopkins and Jerald Robinson.

Gardner now will be able to practice with the team this spring, which should really help him as he tries to push Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson on the depth chart. Forcier enrolled early last year and had a clear advantage over Robinson, who didn't arrive until preseason camp.
Six of Michigan's incoming recruits enrolled early at the school for the spring semester, but the bigger news is who won't be on campus.

Quarterback Devin Gardner, an ESPNU 150 prospect, didn't make the deadline to start classes at Michigan.

Gardner hoped to graduate from Inkster High School in time to start at Michigan on Wednesday. He also would have been able to participate in spring practice, much like Wolverines starting quarterback Tate Forcier did last year as a true freshman. Instead, Gardner will join the team this summer, where he still intends to compete for the starting job.

It would have been interesting to see Gardner out there in spring ball, which clearly helped Forcier gain the inside track to the top job last year. Gardner, thought by some to be Michigan's ultimate answer at quarterback, would have had 15 practices plus the whole summer before preseason camp. Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson generated buzz in the preseason last August with his athletic ability, but it was clear he didn't have as strong a grasp on the system as Forcier when the season started.

If Gardner wants to be a factor this fall, he'll need to catch on very quickly in August.

Who ended up enrolling early at Michigan? Wide receivers Jeremy Jackson, Jerald Robinson and Ricardo Miller, running backs Stephen Hopkins and Austin White, and offensive lineman Christian Pace.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 30, 2009
7/30/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Penn State and Ohio State both add big-name recruits, and other teams fill in the gaps. Here's your updated recruiting scorecard. 

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Quick take: No new commits for the Illini, but a solid class is taking shape with Fiedorowicz's recent pledge. Wide receiver Kyle Prater remains a good possibility for Illinois, which will take advantage of a strong in-state crop in 2010. 

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Indiana's fast start is one of the more intriguing early storylines in Big Ten recruiting. Time will tell if the Hoosiers are being too impulsive with their offers, but several of their additions look solid. Linebacker Jack Denton is a very nice pickup for Mike Yeager, and Cameron Cole adds depth in the secondary.

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end Matt Hoch, tackle Andrew Donnal
  • Quick take: Things have slowed down a bit for Iowa, which got its last commitment from Donnal on July 13. Iowa has bolstered both lines and its linebacking corps, which loses Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds after the season. The next step: more skill guys.

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 16
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: Nothing new for Michigan, which should be fairly selective from here on out after a very quick start. Rich Rodriguez will look to bolster both lines after stocking up on skill guys early on.

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough, quarterback Joe Boisture
  • Quick take: Safety Isaiah Lewis fits the Mark Dantonio mold in the secondary and gives Michigan State its second defensive back commitment for 2010. The Spartans have good balance among their 10 commits and soon could add heralded wide receiver Tony Jones. 

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: All has been quiet on the Gophers' recruiting front since a flurry of additions in late June and early July. Minnesota's re-commitment to the run game has paid off with Donnell Kirkwood and Lamonte Edwards. Tim Brewster now must address the defense in the coming weeks and months.

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: No new commitments for the Wildcats, who are still looking to land their first in-state prospect. Northwestern has more high-level early commits (Paul Jorgenson, Trevor Siemian) than in past seasons, and Pat Fitzgerald seems willing to be patient as he fills out a smallish class. 

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham, running back Roderick Smith, defensive end Darryl Baldwin, wide receiver James Louis
  • Quick take: Look out, here come the Buckeyes. Wideout James Louis gives Ohio State six watch list commits out of 10 and bolsters the passing game for the future. What's more impressive is that the Buckeyes went into Florida and plucked one of the state's best prospects, who had offers from all of the SEC powers. 

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz, defensive tackle Evan Hailes, quarterback Robert Bolden, wide receiver Alex Kenney, defensive end Dakota Royer
  • Quick take: It's now official: Penn State has the Big Ten's top recruiting class at this point in the process. Royer gives the Nittany Lions eight watch list prospects, three of whom play defensive line. Tight end Kevin Haplea is another solid addition for Penn State, which has turned the page after some recruiting struggles during the middle part of this decade. 

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: Chalk up two more Florida recruits for Purdue, which added defenders E.J. Johnson and William Lucas since the last scorecard. Lucas is a bit undersized at linebacker but makes up for it with good quickness and strength. After signing 14 players from Florida in his first recruiting class, Purdue head coach Danny Hope continues to look to the Sunshine State for talent.

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 12
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Frank Tamakloe
  • Quick take: The Badgers are clearly leaning toward the defense with their 2010 class and added two more defenders in safety Michael Trotter and linebacker Cody Byers, who played a lot of safety in high school and could see time there. It's not an official Wisconsin recruiting class without a running back, and Bret Bielema satisfied his quota with Jeff Lewis, a decent in-state prospect with good size.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 21, 2009
7/21/09
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

A lot of coaches were on vacation last week, so things got a bit quiet. Let's take a trip on the Big Ten recruiting trail. 

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Quick take: No action during the last week for the Illini, but a very solid class is shaping up for Ron Zook. After a very strong start with in-state recruits, Illinois could soon branch out to other areas. Linebacker Jonathan Brown is on the radar

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 13
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Indiana has been one of the Big Ten's most active teams in early recruiting, and the results are paying off. Linebacker Ishmael Thomas is a very solid addition, and guard Bill Ivan provides depth along the offensive line. Though the group doesn't include a watch list prospect, Indiana has done very well in its region. A 3-9 season last year doesn't seem to be hurting the program at all in recruiting. 

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end Matt Hoch, tackle Andrew Donnal
  • Quick take: No new additions for the Hawkeyes, who have to be pleased with their class so far. The team loses several key pieces in the defensive front seven after the 2009 season, but players like Hoch and James Morris could make an early impact.

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 16
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: Austin White became the third running back to commit to the Wolverines, who hope they've solidified depth in the backfield for the foreseeable future. Michigan beat out Michigan State for White, who has two brothers who play for the Spartans. 

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough, quarterback Joe Boisture
  • Quick take: Nothing new for Michigan State last week, though Mark Dantonio has to be pleased with what he sees right now. The Spartans continue to target in-state prospects like C.J. Olaniyan and Tony Jones.

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Some Gophers fans took offense at my claim that the team hadn't made a big splash in recruiting yet. To be fair, offensive lineman Jimmy Gjere qualifies as a very nice pickup. The big fish is still out there, though, in local product Seantrel Henderson. Cornerback Jabari Price would be a very nice addition. 

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Northwestern's efforts in central Florida haven't gone unnoticed, as three of the team's six commits hail from the Sunshine State. The Wildcats continued to look out of state for center Brandon Vitabile, a New Jersey native who bolsters the offensive line. Next step: Pick up a prospect or two from within the state of Illinois. 

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham, running back Roderick Smith, defensive end Darryl Baldwin
  • Quick take: Penn State and Michigan have generated most of the recruiting headlines so far, but here come the Buckeyes. Baldwin's commitment gives Ohio State five watch list prospects out of nine and even more depth for the defensive line. He's already a physical presence who should only get better under Jim Heacock. 

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 13
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz, defensive tackle Evan Hailes, quarterback Robert Bolden, wide receiver Alex Kenney
  • Quick take: The Nittany Lions kept Kenney at home, giving them seven watch list prospects out of 13. Kenney always seemed likely to pick Penn State, but there are no guarantees in recruiting. He gives Penn State seven in-state commits, a good sign for a program that saw its recruiting dip several years ago.  

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: Head coach Danny Hope isn't afraid to wait for recruits, but he has a nice nucleus for the 2010 class. Purdue has addressed the passing attack with two quarterbacks -- Marve and Sean Robinson -- two wide receivers and a tight end. Hope is trying to tap his Florida roots for defensive lineman Brandon Wilkinson. 

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Frank Tamakloe
  • Quick take: Kansas State's loss is Wisconsin's gain as defensive end Warren Herring will play for the Badgers after originally committing to the Wildcats. Interesting subplot: Wisconsin coach Bielema used to work for Kansas State and Bill Snyder. The Badgers have recruited well on the defensive side so far with Herring, Tamakloe and linebacker Konrad Zagzebski. 

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 14, 2009
7/14/09
11:01
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Illinois picks up a major commit at tight end, while Penn State bolsters its quarterback position and other teams add key pieces. Here's your latest recruiting rundown in the Big Ten.

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer, tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Quick take: Fiedorowicz is a big get for the Illini, who lose starting tight end Michael Hoomanawanui after the 2009 season. Illinois also will be breaking in a new starting quarterback and could lose superstar wideout Arrelious Benn to the NFL draft, so Fiedorowicz should be a big help during the transition.

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Things have slowed down a bit for the Hoosiers, who are still glowing from the commitment of defensive end Jibreel Black from Cincinnati. Indiana has found a good offense-defense balance so far in the 2010 class.

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end Matt Hoch, tackle Andrew Donnal
  • Quick take: Both lines have been the focus of Iowa's recruiting so far, and the Hawkeyes made a big splash with Donnal, who could protect his fellow Ohioan Ricky Stanzi at some point down the line. At least seven of Iowa's commits could contribute on the offensive or defensive lines.

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: The nucleus for Michigan's 2010 class is in place, and the team hasn't added a commit since Courtney Avery on June 20. There are a ton of great athletes in this group, and Michigan likely will turn its attention to line play to wrap up the class.

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough, quarterback Joe Boisture
  • Quick take: After landing its first seven commits from within state borders, Michigan State went into enemy territory -- or Mark Dantonio's home state, depending on how you look at it -- to pick up offensive linemen Travis Jackson and Michael Dennis. The two Ohio natives balance out a class that is shaping up well for the Spartans.

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Gophers already have a strong in-state recruiting haul, and they went to the southeast for running back Donnell Kirkwood, a workhorse-type back who generated a lot of interest. Minnesota also remains in the mix for arguably the nation's biggest prize, local product Seantrel Henderson.

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 6
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Pat Fitzgerald should never have a hard time recruiting linebackers, and Northwestern landed a good one -- with a good name -- in Chi Chi Ariguzo from Columbus, Ohio. Ariguzo can also play safety and should contribute on special teams early in his career. Northwestern has yet to land an in-state prospect.

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham, running back Roderick Smith
  • Quick take: A quiet week for the Buckeyes after filling their backfield needs with Smith and quarterback Taylor Graham. Ohio State hopes to go back into Florida for star linebacker Jeff Luc and possibly linebacker Deon Rogers.

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 12
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz, defensive tackle Evan Hailes, quarterback Robert Bolden
  • Quick take: Does Penn State currently have the Big Ten's best recruiting class for 2010? It sure looks that way as Bolden gives the Nittany Lions six watch list commitments out of 12 overall. Both Bolden and Paul Jones should be able to operate effectively in the Spread HD offense.

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: The quality of Purdue's commits seems to be getting better as quarterback Sean Robinson and defensive tackle Josh Davis came aboard. Robinson joins Marve and Caleb TerBush in the quarterback mix, while Davis boasts excellent size (6-foot-5, 250) for a young interior lineman.

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Frank Tamakloe
  • Quick take: The quarterback position might be a question mark this season, but it's shaping up well for the future as Joseph Brennan committed to the Badgers. Brennan has good mechanics and accuracy, and he should get better with increased strength. Cameron Ontko could be a contributor at fullback or H-back down the line.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 7, 2009
7/07/09
11:10
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Not surprisingly, there has been plenty of recruiting news throughout the Big Ten since the last scorecard. Here's a snapshot of what went down during the last two weeks. 

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer
  • Quick take: After landing several dynamic skill players, Illinois bolstered its line with guards Andy Gallik and Dexter McDonald. The Illini now have four in-state commits. 

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 9
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Defensive end Jibreel Black highlights a very strong recruiting push for the Hoosiers. Black, whose older brother Larry will contend for a starting job on the Hoosiers' D-line this fall, had offers from 25 other schools, including Michigan State. Matt Perez and Antonio Banks give Indiana some depth at running back.  

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end Matt Hoch
  • Quick take: Hoch is the latest addition to a Hawkeyes defensive line that appears to be getting stronger and stronger for the future. He passed up a chance to join his older brother at Missouri and stayed home with the Hawkeyes. 

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: Things have finally slowed down for Michigan, which has stocked up on skill players for the 2010 class. It would be nice to see a few more linemen added, though it's clear speed will always be Rich Rodriguez's top priority in recruiting. 

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 7
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough, quarterback Joe Boisture
  • Quick take: The quarterback position got another boost as Boisture switched his commitment from Boston College to the Spartans. All seven commits hail from the state of Michigan, and Boisture, Bullough and Gholston rank among the state's top 10 prospects. 

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Gophers haven't made a huge splash yet, but they continue to add solid prospects, especially in the trenches. Tim Brewster's commitment to better line play and the power run game is paying off, as offensive linemen Mark Lenkiewicz and Zac Epping pledged maroon and gold. 

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: What the Wildcats lack in quantity, they make up for with quality prospects, most recently offensive lineman Paul Jorgenson. Offensive line continues to be Northwestern's best position in recruiting, though the team still needs a few more wide receivers. 

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham, running back Roderick Smith
  • Quick take: Smith is a very impressive addition for Ohio State, bringing an impressive blend of size and speed to the backfield. Ohio State beat out several of its Big Ten brethren for his services. After making a run at several 2010 quarterbacks, the Buckeyes finally landed one in Taylor Graham.

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 11
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz, defensive tackle Evan Hailes
  • Quick take: Hailes gives Penn State as many Top 150 prospects as Michigan, and possibly just as strong a class as the Wolverines. The Lions have found a nice balance between linemen and skill players, picking up Jordan Norwood's little brother Levi at wide receiver. 

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 6
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: Things picked up quickly for the Boilermakers, who added five high school players in the last two weeks. Quarterback Sean Robinson highlights the group of new commits and gives Purdue another option if Marve doesn't pan out. The Boilers got some help for their quarterbacks with tight end De'Ron Flood and two wideouts. 

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 6
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Frank Tamakloe
  • Quick take: Tamakloe is an excellent get for the Badgers, who are restocking their defense in the 2010 class. At 6-2 and 172 pounds, Tamakloe should grow into his frame and be a force in the secondary. He'll contend for immediate playing time along with Konrad Zagzebski.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

June, 22, 2009
6/22/09
2:30
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Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

A fairly busy week for Big Ten recruiting, highlighted by Michigan State landing defensive end William Gholston. Here's your updated recruiting scorecard (note: because of my upcoming vacation, the next scorecard will appear July 7).

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer
  • Quick take: Safety Daniel Easterly gives Illinois another dynamic defensive back, this time from the heart of Michigan State/Michigan territory in Detroit. Easterly also can play linebacker or wide receiver. Illinois appears to be close to landing several more Top 150 prospects.  

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: A good week for Bill Lynch and the Hoosiers, who added four high school prospects to the commit list. Wideout Logan Young is a big target at 6-5, 190, and tight end Leneil Himes also adds to the passing arsenal. 

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 6
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Hawkeyes picked up an intriguing prospect in quarterback Austin Vier. He boasts very impressive size at 6-7, 220 pounds, but he didn't put up great numbers as a high school junior. Vier looks like a project who could pay off down the line for Iowa. 

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: Michigan continues to add recruits and has started to address the defense after stocking up on offensive skill players. Defensive back Courtney Avery originally committed to Stanford but switched after a recent offer from the Wolverines. The big question will be whether Michigan has both quantity and quality in its class.

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Defensive end William Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough
  • Quick take: Gholston is a huge get for Michigan State and gives Mark Dantonio an elite defensive prospect from within the state. The cousin of former Ohio State star Vernon Gholston headlined an excellent week for the Spartans, who also added talented cornerback Mylan Hicks. All five commits are from Michigan, continuing a promising trend for the Spartans. 

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: A quiet week for the Gophers, but more commitments likely are on the way after camps this week. Cornerback Allen Veazie could contribute early in his career. 

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 3
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Wildcats finally got on the board and had a big week with three commits, all surprisingly from the South (2 Florida, 1 Louisiana). Running back Shontrelle Johnson looks a lot like Tyrell Sutton on film, and quarterback Trevor Siemian will provide depth behind Evan Watkins. Northwestern is still looking for another quarterback in the class. 

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham
  • Quick take: It's awfully quiet in Columbus right now. No need to panic, but the Buckeyes didn't end up with William Gholston and are still waiting on quarterback Andrew Hendrix. Expect some action soon for the Buckeyes. 

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz
  • Quick take: Things have slowed down a touch after a busy late-spring push for the Nittany Lions. Dieffenbach and Baublitz are key early commits to fortify the offensive and defensive fronts. 

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 1
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: Danny Hope takes a very patient approach toward recruiting and doesn't understand the early offer craze. Still, it will be interesting to see when the Boilermakers land their first high school prospect. Purdue is in the mix for running back Austin White and punter Drew Basil.  

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 3
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Badgers should add a commit or two later this week as they continue a strong in-state recruiting push. 

Big Ten lunch links

June, 16, 2009
6/16/09
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

This isn't 'Nam, this is bowling. There are rules!

One final programming note. Just got confirmation that Penn State head coach Joe Paterno will be on College Football Live later this afternoon (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET). Be sure to check it out!

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

An excellent summer suggestion by reader Derek from New Jersey:

Hey Adam. Is it possible to get a weekly recruiting report around the BigTen? Just who picked up commits at how many were top150.Thanks!

Excellent call, Derek. With Big Ten teams on break or just starting summer workouts, most of the news right now comes on the recruiting trail. I'll post updated scorecards every Monday or Tuesday from now until training camp.

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 3
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper, quarterback Chandler Whitmer
  • Quick take: My mistake for leaving Whitmer off the watch list the last time. He'll provide a big help to the Illini offense in future years, and he's already helping to recruit some other top prospects to Champaign. Cooper, meanwhile, is still considering some other schools in addition to Illinois.

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 1
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: The Hoosiers beat out a number of schools for juco cornerback Andre Kates, a one-time Florida commit who recorded 49 tackles and three interceptions last year.

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: It's been all defense so far for the Hawkeyes, who are solidifying their front seven with players like linebacker James Morris, who blew up recently at the Nike Camp in Illinois.

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 13
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, guard Christian Pace, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: An extended offseason apparently paid off for Rich Rodriguez and his staff, who have put together the Big Ten's strongest recruiting class to this point. Defense should be a bigger focus with the next few commitments.

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 2
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Linebacker Max Bullough
  • Quick take: Some Spartans fans are a bit concerned about the low number of commits, but Michigan State should be fine, especially if quarterback Robert Bolden or defensive end William Gholston hop on board.

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Another solid start for head coach Tim Brewster, who got commitments from two in-state prospects (Jimmy Gjere and Lamonte Edwards) and talented Chicago-area wideout Antoine Lewis. The Gophers also are still alive in the Seantrel Henderson sweepstakes.

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 0
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Panic time? Could be getting close to it. But Northwestern can be much more selective than usual with a very small recruiting class for 2010, not to mention Pat Fitzgerald's tendency to redshirt a lot of freshmen.

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham
  • Quick take: This won't be a huge class for the Buckeyes, and three "watch list" prospects out of five isn't too shabby at all. It has been a while since Scott McVey committed, so expect things to pick up soon.

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd, center Miles Dieffenbach, defensive end Kyle Baublitz
  • Quick take: Penn State is pushing Michigan for the Big Ten's top recruiting class thus far, and the recent additions of Dieffenbach, Baublitz and guard Tom Ricketts are very encouraging. JoePa might be off the recruiting trail, but defensive coordinator Tom Bradley and others have done a fabulous job.

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 1
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Robert Marve (2007 watch list)
  • Quick take: No high school verbals for the Boilermakers yet, but Marve's decision to transfer could be huge. If Marve can turn a page on his troubles at Miami, he could be Purdue's quarterback of the future beginning in 2010.

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 3
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: In-state prospect Konrad Zagzebski was an excellent pickup for Wisconsin, which likely will look to add a few defensive backs in the coming months.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Rich Rodriguez still describes his first December without bowl preparation since 2001 as "miserable."

But the premature end to Michigan's football season didn't completely go to waste.

"Instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourselves, it did give us time to work and try to identify our needs," Rodriguez told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "We were able to do that pretty quickly."

Recruiting the Class of 2010: Big Ten
Team Total commits Commits on
ESPNU 150 List
Michigan 13 5
Penn State 7 3
Ohio State 5 3
Iowa 5 0
Minnesota 4 0
Illinois 3 2
Wisconsin 3 0
Michigan State 2 1
Purdue 1 1*
Indiana 1 0
Northwestern 0 0
* Miami transfer Robert Marve was a ESPNU 150 selection in 2007.

Rodriguez and his assistants hit the recruiting trail hard, and they're seeing the results pay off right now. Michigan already has 13 commitments for its 2010 recruiting class, six more than any other Big Ten school and eight more than top rival Ohio State.

Of those 13 commitments, five are ranked on the ESPNU 150 Watch List. No other Big Ten team has more than three ESPNU 150 prospects at this point.

After undoubtedly the worst season in team history, Michigan is putting together a pretty solid offseason, highlighted by the quick start to recruiting.

Sure, there have been setbacks, namely more player departures and quarterback Nick Sheridan's broken leg. But spring practice brought some encouraging signs, including the development of freshman quarterback Tate Forcier. Michigan quickly ended its flirtation with Greg Paulus and recruits continue to say yes to Rodriguez and his staff.

"Normally you wouldn't have 12, 13, 14 commitments at this point, but it seems that's more and more the trend," Rodriguez said. "For us, it's just happening. There may be another four or five commitments before the end of summer. I feel comfortable where we're at.

"Our message is getting out. We're filling up pretty quickly."

Michigan doesn't expect to sign a huge class in 2010, so the group could be finalized well before the end of the 2009 season.

Rodriguez partly attributes the fast start to the coaches having a better idea of their needs after going through a season in Ann Arbor. Recruits who watched Michigan trip all over itself last fall also sensed the chance to contribute right away.

"One thing about when you struggle a little bit, young men see opportunity," Rodriguez said. "We've got a lot of offensive skill guys that wanted to jump on board, and that's great. But we've got to make sure we recruit guys for defense. As a head coach and as a staff, we say, 'OK, we really like this guy, but can he help us at this position of need?'

"I wish we had 35 scholarships because we have certain needs and we want to try to build that depth at every position."

Michigan's first four commitments came from wide receivers and the first 10 came from skill players before two linemen joined the class several weeks ago. Quarterback Devin Gardner and wideouts Ricardo Miller and Jeremy Jackson all have been named to the ESPNU 150 Watch List.

"Guys look at the depth chart or they look at where we have less bodies at," said Rodriguez, who cannot discuss specific recruits until they have signed. "They've seen the history of the offense. Whether it's wide receivers or tight ends or running backs or quarterbacks, they all get an opportunity to show their skills."

The recruiting gains are part of what Rodriguez describes as a greater comfort level throughout the program.

While Michigan continues to recruit the South and Southeast hard, assistants are making more inroads in the Midwest to land commitments from players like Gardner (Inkster, Mich.), guard Christian Pace (Avon Lake, Ohio) and defensive end Jordan Paskorz (Allison Park, Pa.). Michigan already has eight commitments from recruits who grew up in Big Ten states. The entire 2009 recruiting classes included only seven.

Rodriguez also sees players settling in better during the offseason. They understand the scheme, and the results from the strength and conditioning program have been more encouraging, Rodriguez said.

Year 2 also has brought less chaos for Rodriguez, who
was still dealing with his ugly departure from West Virginia at this time last year.

"There was a whole lot of drama and things," he said. "We tried to stay focused on our job at hand and not pay too much attention to that, but it did make for a longer year in a lot of ways than I wanted it. But that's all in the past and everybody's moved on.

"We're all eager to prove ourselves."

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

National Signing Day is less than nine months away, and several Big Ten teams have been collecting commitments for 2010. Here's a look at where each team stands midway through May. 

And if you don't read it already, check out Bill Kurelic's excellent Midwest recruiting blog

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 3
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Safety Corey Cooper
  • Quick take: Cooper bolsters the Illini secondary, which fell off at the safety spot last year, while Chandler Whitmer provides depth at quarterback. 

INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 1
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Hoosiers beat out a number of schools for juco cornerback Andre Kates, a one-time Florida commit.

IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 3
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: With starting linebackers Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds set to depart after 2009, Iowa is bolstering the midsection of its defense early on in recruiting. 

MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 10
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Quarterback Devin Gardner, wide receiver Jeremy Jackson, wide receiver Ricardo Miller, safety Marvin Robinson
  • Quick take: Michigan has started 2010 recruiting stronger than any Big Ten team, bolstering several of its skill positions, particularly safety with Robinson. 

MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 2
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Linebacker Max Bullough
  • Quick take: Last year's fast start in recruiting was likely an aberration, and Michigan State is gradually building another strong class with top prospects like Bullough. 

MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 4
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Two in-state prospects (Jimmy Gjere and Lamonte Edwards) further strengthen Minnesota's local presence under head coach Tim Brewster. Keep in mind that February's biggest prize, tackle Seantrel Henderson, is right in the Gophers' backyard. 

NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 0
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Slow start is a bit unsettling after such a strong 2009 season, but head coach Pat Fitzgerald appears to be aiming for better prospects this year.

OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Tackle Andrew Norwell, linebacker Jamel Turner, defensive end David Durham
  • Quick take: A solid start to what figures to be a small to medium-sized recruiting class for Ohio State, which continues to land first-rate offensive linemen like Norwell.

PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 5
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: Wide receiver Adrian Coxson, running back Silas Redd
  • Quick take: Maryland pipeline continues with Coxson, a fast and physical wide receiver. Penn State is off to a good start recruiting the skill positions. 

PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 0
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: Boilers picked up a lot of late commits this year, so no major cause for concern. The addition of Miami transfer Robert Marve at quarterback would be huge. 

WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 2
  • ESPNU 150 Watch List: None
  • Quick take: After a good haul on signing day in February, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema needs to follow up with another solid class. In-state prospect Konrad Zagzebski looks like a solid, versatile linebacker.

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