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Monday, January 13, 2014
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten

By Tom VanHaaren

We are almost out of the dead period, which ends on Jan. 15. That means things are starting to heat up for Big Ten teams on the recruiting trail. Here is a look at what happened throughout the conference this past week.

Biggest commitment:
Indiana landed ESPN 300 receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike), when he announced his decision on Jan. 7. Booth had been committed to Tennessee, but he decommitted and will now enroll early for the Hoosiers.

He is a big pickup for the Indiana offense and is a high ranking in-state prospect who coach Kevin Wilson and his staff are keeping home.

Nebraska also secured a wide receiver with Jariah Tolbert (New Orleans/Edna Karr) on Thursday. Tolbert joined his teammate, athlete Jaevon Walton, in Nebraska’s 2014 class.

Minkah Fitzpatrick
Minkah Fitzpatrick, No. 29 in the ESPN Junior 300, has received an offer from Michigan.
Biggest offer:
Michigan sent out five new offers to 2015 and 2016 prospects throughout the week. ESPN Junior 300 prospects Jalen Dalton (Clemmons, N.C./West Forsyth), Juval Mollette (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) and Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s Prep) all received offers in the 2015 class.

In-state offensive lineman Thiyo Lukusa (Traverse City, Mich./Traverse City West) and running back Kareem Walker (Irvington, N.J./DePaul Catholic) were the lucky recipients for the 2016 class. Lukusa also received an offer from Wisconsin shortly after the Wolverines extended their offer.

The Badgers also extended an offer to ESPN Junior 300 linebacker Jerome Baker (Cleveland, Ohio/Benedictine), one of the top prospects in the Midwest.

Northwestern got into the action as well by offering 2015 tight end Jackson Harris (Columbia, Tenn./Columbia Central), who has started to pick up a lot of steam on the recruiting trail.

Nebraska is also hoping to capitalize on new Penn State coach James Franklin leaving Vanderbilt by offering former Vanderbilt running back commit Mikale Wilbon (Chicago/DeLaSalle).

The three-star running back opened up his recruitment after Franklin accepted the Penn State position and is now back on the market.

Biggest answer:
Franklin said he would dominate recruiting as Penn State’s head coach, and he is already proving that.

Franklin flipped two Vanderbilt commits to Penn State in Chance Sorrell (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) and Lloyd Tubman (Louisville, Ky./Seneca) mere hours after he was introduced as coach.

Franklin wasted no time with the 2015 class as well by offering ESPN Junior 300 offensive lineman George Brown (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods) on Saturday.

Franklin will need to hit the ground running with the 2015 class, but he also has some work left to do in 2014. He will need to convince ESPN 300 defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) to stay on board with Penn State. Holley and his family have been in a wait and see mode so Franklin will need to get in front of Holley as soon as the dead period is over on Jan. 16.

Biggest question:
What new names will pop up after the dead period is over on Jan. 15? Will there be any surprise visitors, and which recruits will get new offers from Big Ten schools?

As prospects make their decision for other programs, teams will need to identify new targets, which always makes for a fun few weeks leading up to national signing day.

Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and a few other Big Ten teams could be looking for last-minute additions so it will be fun to watch.

Being social:
Recruits are all over social media so here is a look at some tweets from Big Ten prospects and commits for the week.

When Michigan offered Minkah Fitzpatrick, Wolverines commit Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic) took to twitter to show he will be recruiting his friend, Fitzpatrick.

Need I say more?.. RT @minkfitz_21: Michigan has offered!! #GOBLUE

— Breez (@JabrillPeppers) January 9, 2014

Northwestern commit Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) dug up an old photo featuring himself, Michigan State commit Enoch Smith (Chicago/Mount Carmel), LSU commit Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) and Notre Dame commit Nyles Morgan (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee).

Old Skoo #throwback @ESmithJr_56 @CG340 @Obey_Pride

— (Parrker¡Westphal( (@Megatron21HB) January 7, 2014

Early enrollees at Penn State are getting their school identification shortly before they met with Coach Franklin for the first time.

One of the first stops of the day for our Early Enrollees - the Penn State ID office!

— Penn State Recruits (@PSURecruits) January 11, 2014