Big Ten: Roderick Smith

Big Ten chat wrap: July 13

July, 13, 2011
7/13/11
2:15
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The Big Ten chat returned today, and it was an entertaining one.

In case you missed out on the fun, here's a full wrap-up.

Some highlights:
rob (iowa): Adam whith the difficulty of Nebraskas schedule and the break Iowa gets by not playing OSU or Wisconsin and getting Michigan, MSU and NW all at home am I crazy to think Iowa has a shot at winning their division this year even with all the losses they need to replace?
Adam Rittenberg (12:03 PM): You're not crazy Rob, but keep in mind Nebraska also gets Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa on its home turf. Nebraska's division schedule actually is very beneficial in my view, despite the tough crossover games. But you're right: if Iowa can take care of business at Kinnick Stadium and steal some wins on the road, it'll be in the mix for a division title.
Adam Rittenberg (12:09 PM): GOL!!!
Craig (Virginia): With Rob Bolden coming back, who do you think will start at QB for Penn State this fall?
Adam Rittenberg (12:23 PM): Craig, I think it will be Bolden. He was the team's top option when healthy and should have been used in the Outback Bowl, a decision both Joe Paterno and Jay Paterno regret. While I don't fully trust that he'll remain at Penn State if McGloin is named the starter, I think Bolden gets the nod for the opener.
Lucas (NYC): You say an undefeated B1G champion would go to the NC game, but Ted Miller says an undefeated Oregon would be a lock. We all know what C Low would say. Which one of them is wrong?
Adam Rittenberg (12:30 PM): There's definitely a belief that the SEC champion, whether undefeated or with 1 loss, will make the title game no matter what. I guess when you win five consecutive championships, you've earned that right. If we somehow get undefeated teams from the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten, someone gets left out, and it could be the Big Ten squad if Oregon or Stanford runs the table. But the chances of this happening seem pretty slim to me.
Illini Mike (Chicago IL): Hey Adam, I truely believe Illinois will fill those gaps on defense. Last year it seemed VK did a great job nuturing and developing talent. I think he'll continue that production into this year. Mark my words, towards the end of the year you'll be call Illinois the most underratted defense in the league.
Adam Rittenberg (12:42 PM): Mike, I agree Vic did a great job in his first season as coordinator. Although the defense seemed to let down in November against Michigan, Minnesota and Fresno State, the unit's overall strides shouldn't be dismissed. I think the secondary will be fine and even better than last year's unit, especially if Hawthorne and Sanni stay healthy. The front seven concerns me, especially after losing Liuget, but if Ian Thomas, Akeem Spence and others step up, Illinois should be in decent shape.
Brandon (Las Vegas, NV): Who's replacing Boom for the Bucks? My guess is a tandem of Berry and Smith with Hall mixed in every now and then. Although, I have heard rumblings of Carlos Hyde showing promise.
Adam Rittenberg (12:47 PM): Brandon, I tend to think it'll be a mix of backs as well. The NFL has showed us that you typically need two running backs, and Ohio State has several good options as well as some nice variety. Smith can be your bruiser, and both Hall and Berry can provide a change-up with their speed. I'm really excited to see who emerges among that group.

Thanks again for the questions, and my apologies to those whose questions weren't answered. Let's do it again next week!
Lucas (NYC)

You say an undefeated B1G champion would go to the NC game, but Ted Miller says an undefeated Oregon would be a lock. We all know what C Low would say. Which one of them is wrong?
Adam Rittenberg
(12:30 PM)

There's definitely a belief that the SEC champion, whether undefeated or with 1 loss, will make the title game no matter what. I guess when you win five consecutive championships, you've earned that right. If we somehow get undefeated teams from the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten, someone gets left out, and it could be the Big Ten squad if Oregon or Stanford runs the table. But the chances of this happening seem pretty slim to me.


Opening spring ball: Ohio State

March, 31, 2011
3/31/11
10:00
AM ET
After a tumultuous few weeks, Jim Tressel and the Ohio State Buckeyes return to the practice field Thursday for the first of 15 spring practices.

Here's a snapshot of the Scarlet and Gray this spring:

The big story: Ohio State begins preparations for life without Tressel and the Tat-5. Although a return to football should be therapeutic for Ohio State, the upcoming suspensions of Tressel and five players, including starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor, hovers over the program. The Buckeyes need to figure out who starts the season at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and left tackle. Co-defensive coordinator Luke Fickell will handle Tressel's game-day responsibilities. The most pressing concerns could come at quarterback, where Pryor has been a mainstay since September 2008, and at wide receiver, where DeVier Posey is the only player with legitimate game experience. Although the suspended players will be involved in spring drills, the spotlight certainly shifts to their teammates.

Position in the spotlight: Quarterback. The Buckeyes need a starter for the first five games, and the competition kicks off this spring. Joe Bauserman has backed up Pryor for the past two seasons but needs to show improvement in practice. Sophomore Kenny Guiton and redshirt freshman Taylor Graham also in the mix, but the most intriguing candidate is true freshman Braxton Miller, who enrolled early and will go through spring ball. Buckeyes coaches say Miller will get a real shot at winning the top job, and it will be interesting to see how quickly the heralded recruit catches on.

Coaching changes: Ohio State loses receivers coach/assistant head coach Darrell Hazell, who left to become head coach at Kent State. Tressel looked to Florida's staff and plucked Stan Drayton as Hazell's replacement. Drayton is a strong recruiter who boasts extensive experience coaching running backs, but he'll work with receivers for the first time this spring. The new assistant will be challenged as Ohio State doesn't return much experience at receiver and will be without Posey for the first five games.

Keep an eye on: Running back Rod Smith. The redshirt freshman generated a lot of buzz during bowl practices with his play. If he follows it up with a strong spring, he could emerge as Ohio State's top option at running back during Dan Herron's suspension (and possibly beyond). Running back should feature a fascinating combination this spring with all sorts of backs, but keep an eye on the 6-3, 220-pound Smith.

Spring game: April 23

Opening camp: Ohio State

August, 6, 2010
8/06/10
5:00
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Schedule: Ohio State's first preseason practice takes place today in Columbus.

What's new: Not that much. Jim Tressel's staff remains intact, and Ohio State returns 16 starters, including 10 on offense. The only spot that sees a decent amount of turnover is safety, as the Buckeyes lose both Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell. They also will have a new look along the defensive line, although Cameron Heyward is a familiar face, one opposing offensive linemen won't be happy to see.

Sidelined: Ohio State is healthy entering camp, although the Buckeyes are down a running back as Jermil Martin will transfer. The Scarlet and Gray will have incoming freshman running back Rod Smith on the field after Smith met his academic requirements.

Key battle: Let's start at kicker, a position that always means a lot to a Tressel-coached team. Aaron Pettrey departs, and Devin Barclay needs to rebound after struggling at times this spring. Punter Ben Buchanan and freshman Drew Basil are possibilities if Barclay can't hold down the top job. The other key battle takes place at left tackle, as junior Mike Adams tries to lock up a starting spot ahead of Andrew Miller and others.

New on the scene: Ohio State isn't deep at wide receiver and could find room for James Louis and Corey Brown. Defensive back Christian Bryant will have a chance in the secondary, and linebacker David Durham also might make an early impact. Carlos Hyde could work his way into a crowded mix at running back after enrolling a year later than expected. Basil will be a factor on special teams.

Back in the fold: Tyler Moeller is cleared for full contact after suffering a head injury last summer as an assault victim. Moeller played linebacker early in his career, but was on track for a possible starting job at safety in the spring of 2009. As Ohio State looks to replace Coleman, Moeller might be the answer.

Breaking out: Everyone is raving about sophomore defensive lineman John Simon, a weight-room superstar who saw some action last season. There also was some buzz this spring about linebacker Etienne Sabino, who should join Ross Homan and Brian Rolle in the starting lineup. Ohio State needs a No. 3 wide receiver, and watch out for redshirt freshman Chris Fields.

Quotable: "We're a very capable team. I think we should be a team that's being targeted. I know we'll be a team that's being targeted. And we'll always get everyone's best shot. And with that in mind, we better make sure our best shot's ready each Saturday. But it's just part of the deal." -- head coach Jim Tressel

Big Ten mailblog

June, 29, 2010
6/29/10
5:00
PM ET
Ready ... break!

Eric from Denver writes: If the B10 goes to 2 divisions w/a protected crossover game, how could they NOT go to 9 conf games? With only 8 games, you'd only play 2 of your remaining 5 (non-protected) crossdivision rivals each year. That means some schools would only get UM, OSU, or PSU at home twice each decade. That's alot of missed revenue. Agree?

Adam Rittenberg: Eric, that's a great point and one that I'm certain is on the radar for the Big Ten and its athletic directors. There are quite a few ADs and even some coaches, like Purdue's Danny Hope, who would favor a nine-game conference schedule. It would ease the burden of scheduling for the ADs, although I would be concerned about quality of nonconference matchups, which are already mediocre to poor in the Big Ten. But you can bet the ADs from places like Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois and Minnesota see the value of having Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska coming into their home stadiums as often as possible.


Michael from St. Louis writes: If the Big Ten keeps its "negative space" logo after expansion, I suggest Nebraska and Penn State play for the Negative Space Trophy; a piece of wood with a trophy-shaped hole cut out of it.

Adam Rittenberg: Excellent suggestion, Michael. I'll pass it on to Jim Delany next time I see him. Hey, the Negative Space Trophy might be easier on the eyes than the Land Grant Trophy, which is just brutal.


Darek from Santa Monica, Calif., writes: Hey Adam, thanks for keeping college football alive year 'round. Everyone knows about Ohio State's backfield with Boom and Zoom and we've been salivating over the potential of Jamaal Berry, Carlos Hyde, and Roderick Smith (if he stays). Still, Jordan Hall is who we saw with the action last year and he looked pretty explosive to me. Does Hall keep the number 3 spot or does he lose it to one of the 4 star recruits?

Adam Rittenberg: Hall actually caught my eye quite a bit during the Ohio State practice I attended this spring. He's obviously not very big (5-foot-9, 195), but he runs hard and can do some damage in space. Hall did some nice things last season, averaging 5.2 yards a carry. He looked more impressive than Jaamal Berry, although it was only one practice. I wouldn't dismiss Hall from the running back mix at all, but I've got a feeling Brandon Saine is going to be more of a featured guy this fall. I really liked the way he finished the 2009 season, and he'll have a veteran offensive line blocking for him this fall.



Mike from Dallas writes: Adam,Here are four issues that I believe will keep Michigan from returning to championship form in the next decade. 1. Loss of national respect in a postmodern era with ADHD and short sighted recruits. 2. Loss of a foundational recruiting base after metro Detroit?s economic and demographic exodus. 3. Loss of booster and institutional funding due to economic hardships in Michigan. 4. Improved parity in college football. It takes much more than players and coaches to make a football team great. It takes the right combination of hundreds of little things and a whole lot of luck as well. I believe that Michigan has a lot bigger hill to climb than most realize. Thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: Mike, while you're absolutely right that it takes more than players and coaches to be a winning program these days, I don't think the situation in Ann Arbor is as dire as you present. For starters, let's look at "loss of booster and institutional funding." I just don't see this happening at all. I spent two days this spring in Michigan's football complex, which includes an indoor practice facility that I've got to believe is the best in the country. Michigan's football facilities are much better now than they were when Rich Rodriguez arrived, and that will help the program now and in the future. The recruiting argument you make is interesting, but I still think Michigan has the talent to win in the Big Ten. Whether the players come from Detroit or Florida, they're good enough to help. Keep in mind that national champ Alabama went 6-7 in 2006. Florida went 7-5 in 2004. So these things can turn around rather quickly, especially for traditional powerhouses.



Charles from Prattville, Ala., writes: when was the last time alabama played penn state in football ?

Adam Rittenberg: The teams last met on Oct. 27, 1990, as Penn State blanked Bama 9-0 in Tuscaloosa. It was Gene Stallings' first season as Crimson Tide coach, and Alabama went 7-5 that fall. Penn State dropped its first two games in 1990 before going on a nine-game win streak to end the regular season. The Nittany Lions fell to Florida State in the Blockbuster Bowl to finish 9-3. Alabama leads the all-time series 8-5.


Mike B. from Bloomington, Minn., writes: Came up with this division alignment over the weekend."West" : Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan St."East" : Ohio St., Penn St., Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois"Permanent cross-overs" : Nebraska/Penn St., Ohio St./Michigan, Michigan St./Indian, Wisconsin/Illinois, Iowa/Purdue, Minnesota/NorthwesternMakes sense geographically. Keeps all of the main rivalries in tact. Provides national appeal. And while the "east" is top-heavy, the championship game would be competitive every year. Thoughts?

Adam Rittenberg: I like your proposal, Mike, but I wonder whether the divisions have long-term competitive balance. As important as the rivalries are, competitive balance is No. 1, and the "West" division definitely looks a bit stronger from my seat. If Northwestern continues to make strides and Purdue gets back to the program we saw in the early part of the last decade, I'd feel a little more comfortable with this setup.

Big Ten lunch links

June, 22, 2010
6/22/10
12:00
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Rough Monday for Ohio State.

Ohio State doesn't know if it has an Eddie George or an Archie Griffin or a Beanie Wells on the roster.

[+] EnlargeSaine
Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesBrandon Saine could play a larger role in the passing game next season.
None of the Buckeyes' current running backs has distinguished himself as a potential featured guy. Then again, several candidates haven't had the chance to do so ... yet.

What Ohio State knows it has at running back is options. Lots of them. More than they've had in recent memory.

"Without question," offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said when asked if this is the most running back depth Ohio State has had during his tenure. "Going into [spring practice], yeah. There's some good depth at tailback, a position where you always need to have it."

Senior Brandon Saine and junior Dan "Boom" Herron entered spring practice atop the depth chart after combining for 1,339 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 307 carries in 2009. Neither man has established himself as a featured back, but both came on strong late in the season.

Saine had 232 rushing yards on 37 carries (6.27 ypc) in Ohio State's final three games, wins against Iowa, Michigan and Oregon. He had several breakaway runs against the Hawkeyes and Wolverines, and his true versatility showed in the Rose Bowl, as he caught two passes for 59 yards and a score. Herron, primarily a between-the-tackles runner, also had multiple receptions in his final two games last fall, and Bollman hinted that both backs would play larger roles in the passing game this fall, especially since Ohio State is thinner at wide receiver than running back.

"There's a lot of knowledge on what Boom and Brandon can do," Bollman said. "Should we have them carry the ball 50 times a day? I don't know if that accomplishes what we or they need. To help them increase their overall knowledge of the game, blitz pickup, being a bigger part of the passing game, trying to extend those guys that way is one way for us to approach things. And really test some of the younger guys carrying the ball."

Who are the young guys? Get out a pen and a big sheet of paper.

Jordan Hall stepped up nicely as a true freshman last fall, rushing for 248 yards on 48 carries (5.2 yards per rush). Sophomore fullback Jermil Martin brings a big body (5-foot-10, 235) to the backfield and averaged 7.6 yards per carry as a redshirt freshman in 2009.

Then there's redshirt freshman Jaamal Berry, the most talked-about back on the Buckeyes' roster. Fans wanted to see Berry last fall, but a nagging hamstring injury kept him sidelined. The heralded recruit from Miami is now in a position to compete for carries.

"He showed flashes of some things he can do," Bollman said, "but [he's] got to improve, got to become much more consistent, a guy that everybody can trust. Jordan got a lot of game experience, much more than he or us probably would have thought, and did a really good job. He really had an outstanding year last year.

"Those are a couple good guys to be battling for those next couple spots."

Carlos Hyde, another 2009 recruit, also is in the mix after spending last year at Fork Union Military Academy to boost his academics. Ohio State signed two more backs in February: decorated recruit Roderick Smith and Adam Griffin, the son of Archie.

"When you have all those guys, the secret is everybody progressing as a team," Bollman said. "If everybody starts worrying about how many touches they're getting, then it's easy for the whole thing to come apart at the seams. You've got to stay unified and understand roles."

Ohio State recruiting analysis

February, 4, 2010
2/04/10
10:00
AM ET
Ohio State Buckeyes

The class

Recruits: 18 (16 high school seniors, two prep school players, one player enrolled already)

Top prospects: Defensive back Christian Bryant should see the field early. Running back Roderick Smith could be a factor as the starting job remains a bit unsettled. Linemen Darryl Baldwin and Andrew Norwell and wide receivers James Louis and Corey Brown also come in with plenty of accolades.

Sleepers: Speedy Bradley Roby is a late signee who only gained major attention in recruiting after switching from wide receiver to cornerback as a senior. Quarterback Taylor Graham struggled with injuries in high school but has a good pedigree as the son of former NFL QB Kent Graham. Defensive tackle Johnathon Hankins is a big body on the interior.

Needs met: Ohio State addressed a mini need in the secondary with Bryant and Roby. The Buckeyes would have liked one more offensive lineman -- Seantrel Henderson or Matt James -- but they added depth at both wide receiver and running back.

Analysis: Ohio State might not have hit a home run with this class, and the Buckeyes lost a few key in-state products to other teams, namely Jordan Hicks. But Jim Tressel and his staff brought in plenty of speed and versatility, and added several key wide receivers who could contribute early following graduation losses and Lamaar Thomas' transfer. Unless Henderson dumps USC in the coming weeks, Ohio State will need to add more offensive linemen in the 2011 class.

Scouts Inc. grade: B

What Jim Tressel said:

  • "If you asked coach [Jim] Bollman how many offensive linemen he would have liked, we had pigeonholed two. He probably would have liked three or four, but we could afford two within our budget. So we'll see how we end up there."
  • "With the way the game has changed, you need so many guys who can play out in space. In this class, we have a lot of guys with skills and speed."
My in-season responsibilities prevented me from updating the scorecard for quite a while, but it's back now. And with recruiting season heating up and several big prizes (Seantrel Henderson, Jordan Hicks) still out there, this is the perfect time to see how teams are doing.

For all your recruiting needs, go here and here.

ILLINOIS

  • 2010 verbal commits: 8
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Another disappointing season finally cost Illinois on the recruiting trail, as tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, an ESPNU 150 prospect, switched his verbal to Iowa. The Illini still boast several good prospects, including quarterback Chandler Whitmer, who remains in Ron Zook's corner. Illinois hasn't had a verbal commitment since early August, so Zook really needs to work his magic in the coming weeks.
INDIANA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 21
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Jibreel Black's decommitment and switch to Cincinnati stings the Hoosiers, but IU still brings in a sizable class that includes some solid players. Indiana hasn't had a verbal commitment since late August, but the class looks pretty complete.
IOWA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 20
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: TE C.J. Fiedorowicz
  • Comment: The Hawkeyes' success on the field has translated very well to recruiting, as the team added several excellent players during the fall. Fiedorowicz headlines a class that also includes Iowa prep star A.J. Derby. Iowa has received six verbals since the start of the season.
MICHIGAN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 21
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: QB Devin Gardner
  • Comment: Gardner hasn't wavered in his commitment to head coach Rich Rodriguez and the Wolverines, and the lure of early playing time likely has kept the class in place. Michigan got a big commitment from cornerback Cullen Christian days after the season ended, though things have been fairly quiet since the summer.
MICHIGAN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: DE William Gholston
  • Comment: Gholston could reopen his recruitment, which would leave Spartans fans holding their breath. The top-rated player in the state of Michigan would be a major boost for MSU. Mark Dantonio's team picked up three verbals during the season, including one from wide receiver Keith Mumphery.
MINNESOTA

  • 2010 verbal commits: 22
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Tim Brewster and his staff continue to recruit at a high level and landed several solid prospects during the season. Among them is wide receiver Chris Hawkins, who could make an immediate impact in 2010. Running back Josh Huff from Texas also is a solid addition. Minnesota picked up 11 verbals during the season, tops among Big Ten teams.
NORTHWESTERN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 15
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: After a slow start, Northwestern is putting together a solid 2010 class. The Wildcats recently added running back Ibraheim Campbell, the fifth player to commit during the season. The class seems heavy on defensive tackles and offensive skill players, both areas of need.
OHIO STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 13
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: RB Roderick Smith, WR James Louis, DE Darryl Baldwin, WR Corey Brown
  • Comment: Offensive firepower might be an issue in Columbus right now, but help is certainly on the way. Brown has been Ohio State's only in-season commit, but other big names soon could follow. Ohio State has bolstered the wide receiver and defensive end/linebacker spots.
PENN STATE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 20
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: DE Dominique Easley, LB Khairi Fortt, DT Evan Hailes, DE Dakota Royer, WR Adrian Coxson, QB Robert Bolden, C Miles Dieffenbach, DE C.J. Olaniyan
  • Comment: Penn State entered the season with the Big Ten's best recruiting class and has only made it better. The Nittany Lions staff has done a fabulous job with this class, landing Fortt, Easley, Olaniyan and two other prospects during the season. Penn State has addressed almost every position and should be very pleased on national signing day.
PURDUE

  • 2010 verbal commits: 20
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Danny Hope and his assistants continue to raid the state of Florida, and now they're bringing in more coveted prospects to Purdue. Wide receiver O.J. Ross from Daytona Beach, Fla., headlines a class that already includes seven Floridians. Purdue added eight verbals during the season, including cornerback Ricardo Allen.
WISCONSIN

  • 2010 verbal commits: 18
  • ESPNU 150 prospects: 0
  • Comment: Wisconsin has a tradition of turning solid players into stars and should have ample opportunities with this class. The Badgers added six verbals during the season, including safety/linebacker Manasseh Garner and offensive tackle Rob Havenstein.

Big Ten in the recruiting rankings

September, 30, 2009
9/30/09
3:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


The fine folks at ESPN's Scouts Inc. have published their September recruiting rankings, which feature two Big Ten teams in the top 15.

Penn State comes in at No. 7, two spots below its August mark but still tops in the conference . Ohio State moves down a spot to No. 10. Despite a fast start to the 2010 class and the commitment of quarterback Devin Gardner, Michigan didn't make the rundown.

Here are the comments about both the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes.

No. 7 Penn State

Commits: 18
ESPNU 150 Commits:
6
Top Prospect: DE Dominique Easley

Penn State's stellar class got a big bump last week with the commitment of 260-pound end Dominique Easley (Staten Island, N.Y./Curtis). The talented pass-rusher is one of the quickest players off the ball in this class. In addition to Easley, Joe Paterno and his staff will be bringing two other supremely talented D-linemen in Dakota Royer (Manheim, Pa./Central) and Evan Hailes (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith). Penn State needs quarterbacks, and it got two in this class with P.J. Jones (McKees Rocks, Pa./Sto-Rox) and heralded Robert Bolden (Orchard Lake, Mich./St. Mary's). Bolden is the more athletic of the two. Wideouts Adrian Coxson (Baltimore/City College) and Alex Kenney (State College, Pa./State College) and running back Silas Redd (Stamford, Conn.) give this class excellent skill talent that will help to support the young quarterbacks -- both of whom could be candidates to replace Daryll Clark.

No. 10 Ohio State

Commits: 13
ESPNU 150 Commits: 5
Top Prospect: RB Roderick Smith

The Buckeyes are adding some offensive weapons in this class, highlighted by four-star RB Roderick Smith (Fort Wayne/Harding). He will provide a bruising dimension in the backfield. He resembles former Buckeye great Beanie Wells on film and is tall, has great bulk and is still lean enough through the waist and lower body to remain fluid with some wiggle. He joins a pair of Under Armour All-American WRs in James Louis (Delray Beach, Fla./Atlantic Community) and Corey Brown (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara). Both have explosive speed, quickness and acceleration. Ohio State also added some playmakers on defense, including a pair of four-star DEs in Darryl Baldwin (Solon, Ohio/Solon) and David Durham (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian). Baldwin, 6-5, 255 pounds, has a great physical build to go with good tools. Durham, 6-2, 225 pounds, is a talented and versatile player who can play a number of positions, but will likely wind up at end.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Attention, recruitniks: the ESPNU 150 recruiting rankings are out, along with a breakdown of how the selections were made and some nuggets from JC Shurburtt.  

It won't take you long to notice a pattern, and I'm not talking about the fact the top six players are uncommitted.

The rankings are very heavy on players from the south and southeast, while prospects from Big Ten territory are few and far between. 

Only four players in the top 50 hail from Big Ten states: linebacker Jordan Hicks (No. 2, Ohio), offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (No. 4, Minnesota), defensive end William Gholston (No. 33, Michigan) and wide receiver Kyle Prater (No. 43, Illinois). 

Does this mean there's no talent in Big Ten states? Hardly. But at least according to these ratings, more and more elite prospects play their high school football in warm-weather states. It's why we're seeing more Big Ten teams expand their recruiting efforts to the south and southeast. 

Here's the list of ESPNU 150 prospects committed to Big Ten teams:

  • No. 33: William Gholston, DE, Michigan State
  • No. 58: Roderick Smith, RB, Ohio State
  • No. 71: Dakota Royer, DE, Penn State  
  • No. 81: Evan Hailes, DT, Penn State
  • No. 83: Evan Louis, WR, Ohio State
  • No. 86: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Illinois
  • No. 103: Adrian Coxson, WR, Penn State
  • No. 112: Darryl Baldwin, DE, Ohio State
  • No. 114: Robert Bolden, QB, Penn State
  • No. 115: Andrew Norwell, OT, Ohio State
  • No. 117: Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
  • No. 134: Miles Dieffenbach, C, Penn State
As for the team breakdowns, Penn State leads the way with five commits, followed by Ohio State with four. Michigan State, Illinois and Michigan each have one. 

Check Thursday's blog for your updated recruiting scorecard.

Big Ten recruiting scorecard

July, 30, 2009
7/30/09
4:00
PM ET

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
2:30
PM ET

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
AM ET

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
AM ET

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.

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