Monday, December 9, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten
By Tom VanHaaren
The Big Ten championship was the main focus this week, but that just gave coaches extra time to put in on the recruiting trail. Here is a look at what happened around the conference over the weekend.
Michigan State won the Big Ten championship and also nabbed a commitment from ESPN Junior 300 offensive lineman Kyonta Stallworth (St. Clair Shores, Mich./St. Clair South) shortly after. Not a bad weekend for the Spartans.
Stallworth is the No. 187 ranked prospect in the country, and he might help Michigan State land a few other in-state prospects in his class.
Iowa scored a key early commitment in the Class of 2015 in quarterback Jack Beneventi.
Iowa also landed a big commitment for the future in ESPN Jr. 300 quarterback Jack Beneventi (Lisle, Ill./Benet Academy). Beneventi had taken multiple trips out to in-state program Illinois, but ultimately chose the Hawkeyes and could be a big help in recruiting other prospects.
The biggest commitment of the weekend, though, probably came from ESPN 300 tight end Garrett Dickerson (Oradell, N.J./Bergen Catholic), who chose Northwestern.
Dickerson is the No. 4 ranked tight end and 276 overall, so he is a huge pickup for the Wildcats. He will bring a ton of versatility to the team on offense and could provide an impact early on.
Michigan missed on 2015 defensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt (Warren, Ohio/Warren G. Harding), who chose Arkansas over Michigan and Florida State. The Wolverines wasted no time in offering a potential replacement in defensive tackle Tim Settle (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson).
Settle is the No. 6 ranked prospect in the 2015 class and has a ton of big offers. He has already been out to Michigan on a visit and has a good amount of familiarity with the program.
That wasn’t the only offer the Michigan coaches sent out, though, as 2015 quarterback David Sills (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) also received an offer.
Sills has been committed to USC since seventh grade, but has two teammates who are currently committed to Michigan. This is only the second offer to a quarterback for Michigan in the 2015 class, so it’s a significant one.
Sills said that he wants to wait to talk to new USC coach Steve Sarkesian before commenting on his commitment status.
Nebraska also extended a big offer on Sunday to juco defensive back Danzel McDaniel (Dodge City, Kan./Dodge City C.C.), the No. 44 ranked junior college prospect in the country.
McDaniel’s teammate, Terrell Clinkscales, recently committed to Nebraska, so the Cornhuskers could benefit from that relationship in the end.
Most important visit:
There were plenty of big visits this past weekend, including trips to Northwestern and Purdue, but the biggest might have been outside the conference.
Defensive lineman Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) took his official visit to Alabama, which could be concerning to a few Big Ten teams. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are all still in the mix for the No. 68 ranked prospect in the country.
Penn State had a big weekend hosting uncommitted ESPN 300 prospects with defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) and offensive lineman Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh/Mount Lebanon) on campus.
Nnadi is the No. 257 ranked prospect and has the Nittany Lions in his top group with Florida State, Virginia Tech and Ohio State. Bookser also has Penn State in his top group, but could likely end up at Pittsburgh when he makes his decision.
Purdue held a big weekend as well and landed a commitment from 2014 linebacker Jawhaun Bentley (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha). The Boilermakers still might benefit from the weekend, as defensive linemen Keiwan Jones (Dunnellon, Fla./Dunnellon) and Renell Wren (St. Louis/Lutheran North) were also on campus. Jones will be making his decision on Monday, and Wren will announce within the next week.
With Michigan State’s successful season and Big Ten championship, the recruiting scene in the Midwest is going to be fierce. There are always plenty of battles between Big Ten teams, but it could get interesting in 2015.
With Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State all recruiting well, it’s shaping up to be an outstanding class to cover.
The biggest question right now is how each school will close out the year. A dead period starts on December 15, which means there is no in person contact for 2014 prospects. Time is slipping away, so coaches need to put it in high gear to land the remaining targets on their board.
ESPN 300 defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) has Michigan State, Northwestern and Vanderbilt in his top group. He is fresh off of a visit to Northwestern and will host Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin for an in-home visit Dec. 12.
Westphal will make his decision shortly after that, and is unsure of where he will end up as of now.
Each program in the conference still has big prospects on the board that they are hoping to land. Ohio State has some of the biggest, with linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County), safety Erick Smith (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) and athlete Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) still on their board.