Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Big Ten class rankings analysis
By Tom VanHaaren
The Big Ten was on fire after landing eight commitments this week. Based on that, here was sure to be movement in the class rankings so here is a look at how the Big Ten stacks up.
To say it has been a good week for Ohio State would be an understatement. The Buckeyes landed two top-50 prospects in the 2014 class with linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County) and receiver Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer).
Ohio State had already moved up to the No. 8 class in the country, and it is now sitting with the No. 5 class overall after the outstanding additions.
Purdue also needs some recognition as the Boilermakers have landed nine commitments in the month of December. Defensive back Ladarius Wiley (Los Angeles/Cathedral) is one of the most recent, and he could end up being a steal for Purdue.
The Boilermakers quickly went from having very few commitments to only having one spot remaining in their class.
Penn State is another team who rose in the rankings, moving up to No 24 from 26 with the addition of ESPN 300 defensive tackle Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln).
While it won’t impact the 2014 class ranking, Michigan just lost the No. 2-ranked prospect in the 2015 class, athlete George Campbell (East Lake, Fla./Tarpon Springs). That is a huge setback for the Wolverines considering his size and speed and what he would have been able to do for Michigan’s offense.
With so few spots left in the 2014 class, Michigan really only has two targets left with Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) and running back Vic Enwere (Sugar Land, Texas/Fort Bend Austin). The Wolverines have already been passed over by the Buckeyes in the class rankings, and with such little ability to add any other players, there isn’t much room to move up in the rankings.
If Michigan misses on McDowell, who has visits planned to SEC schools and rival Ohio State, it would be another big loss.
One to watch and bold predictions
Since signing day is fast approaching, we will point out a number of prospects to watch, what teams could be watching and mix in a prediction or two.
Wide receiver Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) is the No. 232-ranked prospect and already signed financial aid papers to Indiana. He hasn’t committed to the Hoosiers, but Indiana is one to watch here.
Malik McDowell is taking other visits outside of Michigan, but the Wolverines are still the favorites -- for now.
Teammates Marshon Lattimore (Cleveland, Ohio/Glenville) and Erick Smith, both ESPN 300 prospects, have been flirting with other schools, but Ohio State is the one to watch here. The two talented prospects could end up as Buckeyes in the very near future.
Defensive back Shawn Boone (Palm Beach Gardens/Dwyer) just saw his teammate, Johnnie Dixon, make his commitment to a Big Ten team. Boone could also end up in the Big Ten, potentially with Penn State.
Wisconsin fans are going to have to wait until the Army All-America game for ESPN 300 running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) to announce his decision. The Badgers are in it, and have a shot, but most believe he stays on the West Coast.
ESPN 300 defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) is still mulling over his decision, but it is likely to come very soon. He is down to Northwestern, Vanderbilt and Michigan State so two Big Ten teams could be impacted by this decision. He is the last real target for Northwestern in this class, and there is a good shot that’s where he ends up. The two most likely destinations seem to be Northwestern or Vanderbilt.