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Tag:Kevin Wilson
Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:33 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2012 1:12 pm
 

Big Ten Signing Day Overview



Posted by Bryan Fischer


National Signing Day is almost here and recruits across the country are gearing up for plenty of last-minute pitches and school visits as head coaches look to shape their program for years to come. The Big Ten used to be like the football on the field against SEC opponents, a step slow and a little behind. That's no longer the case thanks to recent hires Urban Meyer at Ohio State and Brady Hoke at Michigan. They say the rivalry between the two schools is everyday and based on how the two newcomers are hitting the recruiting trail, the Midwest is suddenly one of the top battlegrounds in the country.

MaxPreps.com Top 25 Team Rankings, Big Ten
College Commits Top 100 Moving
3. Michigan 24 4
5. Ohio State 23 5

Top storylines

1. Who else does Urban Meyer flip?

Big Ten meet Urban, he's a good recruiter. Some would call him relentless. In just a short time since his hiring, Meyer has taken the Buckeyes from middle of the back in the conference to one of the top five classes nationally. He's flipped several players and seems to have targeted what was Penn State's recruiting class in particular. Not everybody was spared, including Michigan State who lost Se'Von Pittman. Although scholarship reductions will put a crunch on the numbers, the current group isn't a finished product and the Buckeyes are still in the running for players like Armani Reeves so it's possible Meyer scores another big time player.

2. Does Michigan win the head-to-head battle with Ohio State?

At one point, Michigan was lapping the rest of the Big Ten when it came to recruiting but with Meyer in Columbus, the equation has changed slightly. The Wolverines have undergone some defections in the last month but the group of current commitments still adds depth at much needed positions and gives the program what might be the best incoming offensive line group in the country. It's possible to call the two schools' classes equal on the home stretch even if Michigan is ahead in the latest Maxpreps team rankings. The Buckeyes have more star power and are loaded along the defensive line, will that be enough to overtake a deep group of UM commits come Signing Day? Should be interesting to find out.

3. Does anyone else come close?

There's only two conference teams listed in the top 25 classes and that about sums up the situation in the Midwest. To be in an analogous mood, Ohio State is like a Ferrari and Michigan is a Lamborghini while the rest of the Big Ten is driving Yugos. It's not that there's bad players coming in, it's just that there's not enough of them. Indiana, Minnesota and others appear to be set in terms of recruiting but they are not filled with elite players. Michigan State, Wisconsin and others have gone for quality but haven't come close to getting any quantity. It should make for an interesting conference reset come February 2 to see if anybody can cobble together a top 25 class and even come close to what Michigan and Ohio State have done on the recruiting trail.

4. What does newcomer Nebraska's class look like?

It's not big, it's not spectacular and it's left many fans wondering what the heck is up. We're not talking about the latest menu addition at Jack-in-the-Box but Nebraska's recruiting class. Although the season fell short of expectations not many expected the Cornhuskers to struggle this much in terms of recruiting. There's some solid players among the commits, such as wide out Jordan Westerkamp and linebacker Michael Rose but there doesn't appear to be a huge name to be found among the bunch that can come in and leave an impression. The overall number of commits, 13 a week away from Signing Day, is also concerning. It's very possible that Bo Pelini ends up with a decent class of 2012 but, at the moment, it's going to take a lot of work to do so.

Most impressive class: Ohio State

Most underrated class: Wisconsin

Work left to do: Nebraska

Top Players to Watch
Name Pos Committed
3. Noah Spence DE Ohio State
14. Stefon Diggs WR Uncommitted
26. Josh Garnett OL Uncommitted
34. Vince Biegel LB Wisconsin
40. Phillip Nelson QB Minnesota
 47. Tommy Schutt DT Ohio State
49. Adolphus Washington DE Ohio State
52. Chris Wormley DL Michigan
54. Greg Garmon RB Iowa
55. Jordan Westerkamp WR Nebraska
 

Assistant recruiters of note:

Mike Ekeler, Indiana
Eric Johnson, Iowa
Fred Jackson, Greg Mattison and Mark Smith, Michigan
Pat Narduzzi, Michigan State
Matt Limegrover, Minnesota
John Papuchis, Nebraska
Matt MacPherson, Northwestern
Luke Fickell, Tom Herman and Everett Withers, Ohio State
Larry Johnson, Mac McWhorter and Ron Vanderlinden, Penn State
Gary Nord, Purdue
Mike Markuson and Matt Canada, Wisconsin

Head coach under pressure: Bill O'Brien, Penn State

Top Big Ten class prediction: Ohio State

Top Big Ten signee: Noah Spence

Big Ten school-by-school
Legends Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
19 DE Faith Ekakite
RB Greg Garmon
DT Jaleel Johnson
A solid class that is heavy along both lines, Ekakite and Johnson are two top pick ups for the Hawkeyes. Given depth issues and his talent, Garmon has a chance to start right away.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
OL Kyle Kalis
OL Erik Magnuson
DB Terry Richardson
The Wolverines held the top spot in the class rankings for most of the year and still have a chance to finish there on Signing Day. This is a great group, especially on the o-line, that fills most of the team's depth needs and should make defensive coordinator Greg Mattison very happy.
- Team page
- Commitment list
16 WR Aaron Burbridge
LB Jamal Lyles
QB Tyler O'Connor
A solid but not spectacular class, the Spartans have several diamonds in the rough (so to speak). O'Connor might need a few years but he's got the talent to develop into a very good Big Ten signal-caller.
- Team page
- Commitment list
28 QB Phillip Nelson
OL Jonah Pirsig
 It's not often the Gophers land one top 250 player so it's impressive that Jerry Kill was able to snag two of them. Nelson is a local kid who should adjust well after a redshirt year. There's plenty of Juco transfers to help provide an immediate boost.
- Team page
- Commitment list
13 DE Greg McMullen
OL Paul Thurston
WR Jordan Westerkamp
Needless to say, Bo Pelini still has a lot to work on with this class. The size stands out first and it remains to be seen if the Huskers close strong or just fill out spaces this year. Westerkamp is a good pick up who should play early.
- Team page
- Commitment list
20 RB Malin Jones
DE Ifeadi Odenigbo
OL Ian Park
It's always difficult to project where Northwestern's class ends up but there a lot of solid contributors in this group mixed with some impact players like Jones. Odenigbo is a huge boost and should be a situational pass rusher from the start.
Leaders Division Commits Top Players Notes
- Team page
- Commitment list
15 DB TaJarvis Fuller
DT Teko Powell
DT Vontrell Williams
Ron Zook didn't exactly get this class off to a flying start and once he was fired, it took a further nose dive. There's some solid players committed so far but it remains to be seen what becomes of this essentially lost class.
- Team page
- Commitment list
24 LB Jacarri Alexander
WR Kevin Davis
Kevin Wilson has gone after a few guys that fit his system and though they might not be as big or fast as others, might work out just fine in Bloomington.
- Team page
- Commitment list
23 RB Bri'onte Dunn
DT Tommy Shutt
DE Noah Spence
DE Adolphus Washington
This class was dead in the water for most of the year but has quickly gone from so-so to top five nationally thanks to Meyer. There's a few offensive contributors but the real star power in this group is along the front seven.
- Team page
- Commitment list
18 TE Jesse James
RB Akeel Lynch
DB Armani Reeves
It's amazing this class is as big as it is given all that has happened in State College and the fact that the new head coach hasn't done any in-home visits. James is the best of the bunch and has the potential to be an all-conference tight end.
- Team page
- Commitment list
25 QB Austin Appleby
QB Bilal Marshall
OL Jordan Roos
DE Ryan Watson
The Boilermakers got themselves a steal in the strong-armed Appleby. Watson and Roos will be two solid contributors along each line too.
- Team page
- Commitment list
11 LB Vince Biegel
QB Bart Houston
OL Dan Voltz
OL Walker Williams
Quality not quantity is the phrase used for the Badgers class. While there's not a breakaway skill position player in the group, the OL is one of the best in the conference and Houston is a perfect fit for the offense at quarterback.

Posted on: December 27, 2011 6:28 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 7:06 pm
 

Top quarterback Gunner Kiel commits to LSU

Posted by Bryan Fischer

After decommitting from Indiana and delaying his decision several times, Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel has finally pulled the trigger and committed to LSU.

"I can't wait to play in the SEC," Kiel told 247Sports. "A lot of people call it the NFL of college football and it will be an exciting time. It would mean a lot to be a starting quarterback in such a great conference at a great school. I really love the players and the coaching staff. They were all great to me on my visit and seemed very welcoming."

Ranked as the top signal-caller in the class of 2012 and number two overall recruit by Maxpreps, Kiel holds scholarship offers from just about every program in the country, including Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan, USC and others. He surprised plenty of folks by committing to Indiana in late July and new head coach Kevin Wilson but opened things back up in October. He quickly scheduled official visits to each of his finalists, Notre Dame, LSU and Vanderbilt.

"To be honest I'm just reevaluating my decision," Kiel told CBSSports.com at the time. "I just want to go out and see other places and see if IU is the right place."

The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder threw for 2,517 yards and 28 touchdowns this season while also rushing for 11 scores. He led Columbus East to an 11-2 record his senior year and was named Indiana's "Mr. Football" by the Indianapolis Star.

Kiel's brother, Dusty, is a sophomore at Indiana and his uncle, Blair, played at Notre Dame.

The strong-armed and aptly named Gunner will enroll early in Baton Rouge after playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 7th.

The commitment of the top quarterback in the country is another big boost for the Tigers class of 2012, which now sits at 22 commits. LSU took three quarterbacks with last year's class and Kiel figures to battle talented junior college transfer Zach Mettenberger for the starting job upon arriving on campus. Prior to Kiel's pledge, Les Miles' next recruiting class was ranked 9th overall in the MaxPreps team rankings.



Posted on: October 25, 2011 12:52 am
 

National Notes: Kiel, Notre Dame's big weekend

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Quite a busy week on the recruiting trail.

Things kicked off on Friday with the decommitment of five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel from Indiana, which was surprising only in regards to the timing. Many were quite surprised when he chose the Hoosiers over national powers like Oklahoma and Alabama but it made sense on some levels - his brother was there, they were the in-state school close to home, Kevin Wilson had a good reputation for developing quarterbacks.

Still, top-flight quarterbacks do not usually wind up at schools like Indiana and especially not when there were not other major recruits coming with them and winning is a major issue. I went to see Kiel play in his playoff game but he was held out by coaches for precautionary reasons after he was slightly injured during practice. In talking with him after the game, you got the sense that because he was "reconsidering" his commitment, this was an opening for him to make sure that he took his official visits and checked out other schools.

"To be honest I'm just reevaluating my decision," he said. "I just want to go out and see other places and see if IU is the right place."

Kiel has remained fairly quiet about his recruitment but you almost get the sense that he was boxed into making his commitment too early. He was planning to announce in late June but kept pushing things back and pushing things back. Then fellow top 100 signal-caller Jameis Winston committed to Florida State, which set off a chain of dominoes. Kiel's other finalists, perhaps sensing that he wouldn't be picking them, moved on to others. It's rare for the five-star guy not to be the one that sets off the chain but that could be the case here.

Now he's back on the market and looking at schools. He was part of a star-studded visiting class in South Bend for USC-Notre Dame (more on that later) and figures to quickly schedule several visits to schools. It's hard to say which schools are in the running since he's pretty tight-lipped but polished quarterbacks like Kiel don't fall off trees and you'd have to think he received quite a few calls from college coaches. Since he wants to enroll early this won't be a four month ordeal but it will be an interesting six or so weeks for the country's number two player.

Stars came out in South Bend
There are some games that just seem to draw the official visitors out and Notre Dame's rivalry game against USC was billed as their Super Bowl on and off the field. 12 members from the Maxpreps Top 100 were in South Bend taking in the sights and sounds over the weekend, with several coming in Saturday so as to spend an extra night in town before flying out Monday.

Of course, things didn't exactly go as planned for the Irish on the field, falling to the Trojans 31-17 but that didn't have too much of an effect on the visitors.

"The game atmosphere was crazy, even the pre-game atmosphere was crazy," Zach Banner told 247sports. "The whole school was amped up and you could feel the tradition. It's an old rivalry and you could just feel a lot was on the line. I like how Notre Dame sticks with their tradition."

The problem for Notre Dame wasn't the weather, crowd or anything like that, it was that they A) lost the game by more than the score indicated and B) lost to a school they're recruiting against for several of the visitors. Recent USC decomit Arik Armstead was among those in attendance, as were several other California recruits. It will be awhile before the freshness of the official visit wears off of the players but, long-term, losing to USC in the manner they did doesn't exactly help Brian Kelly's efforts.

The Irish are still going to recruit very well however, and are in line for another top 15 class this year. They still have a very good chance at landing running back Keith Marshall and several others so Notre Dame fans shouldn't get too caught up in how many commitments they bring in from this group until further down the road. The biggest thing the team has to do now is win, because that seems to cure just about everything on the recruiting trail.

Video of the week

Check out this reverse by KJ Dillon and his alternative method of reaching the end zone.



Recruiting Roundup

Adolphus Washington and Dwayne Stanford will take their official visits to Ohio State this week.

With Georgia off last week, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo went to check out commit Brice Ramsey.

Guito Ervilus is back on the field and considering North Carolina, Louisville, Tennessee, Florida State and Florida.

Arkansas commit Jakarri Thomas remains firm in his commitment to the Hogs.

Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:51 am
Edited on: October 22, 2011 12:58 am
 

Top QB Gunner Kiel reopens his recruitment

Posted by Bryan Fischer

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. -- In news that was shocking only with regards to its timing, Columbus (Ind.) quarterback Gunner Kiel decommitted from Indiana and opened up his recruitment Friday.

"To be honest I'm just reevaluating my decision," Kiel said. "I just want to go out and see other places and see if IU is the right place."

Ranked as the top quarterback in the class of 2012 and number two overall in the country by Maxpreps, Kiel committed to the Hoosiers in late July over national powers such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan and USC.

"I think I made the right decision," he said of his original pledge. "Things happen. I thought hard about it but decided to go out and reevaluate it."

The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder told new Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson Thursday night, two days after he was officially selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

"I just called him and told him I was re-evaluating my decision and will go out and visit some more schools," Kiel said.

Brother Dusty is a redshirt sophomore in Bloomington and Kiel maintained that the decommitment from the program had nothing to do with Dusty or the coaching staff. Their uncle, Blair, played quarterback at Notre Dame and the aptly-named Gunner will take an unofficial visit to see the Irish play USC Saturday night as he restarts the recruiting process.

"Yeah, I'm showing some interest in Notre Dame," Kiel said. "I'm looking forward to a great atmosphere. That's definitely a big rivalry game and it should be a lot of fun."

After selecting Indiana, both of Kiel's other finalists, Oklahoma, Mizzouri and Alabama, added commitments from quarterbacks. The complicated situation with the schools he previously considered is one explanation why the signal-caller remained tight-lipped as to which programs he would be looking at.

"I'm going to consider some other schools but I'm going to keep the (list) kind of personal right now," he said. "I just want to stay low again."

No decision has been made as to where he'll take official visits to but he'll settle on the first few destinations shortly after consulting with family members. Kiel added that distance is not a factor for any school and he will be using a set list of criteria that each finalist needs to have.

"Really just the same stuff I looked at last time," he said. "There's three main things: education, how well the coaching staff gets along with the players and how the players interact with each other and if they're a big family."

Columbus East defeated Shelbyville in the opening round of the Indiana state playoffs 49-21 on Friday night but the five-star didn't take a snap in the game, sitting out after slightly injuring himself during practice.

"I'm just a little nicked up, a little sore," Kiel said. "Coach just told me to rest up this week and get healthy for our next opponent next week. I could have played, I felt really healthy. I came out here and warmed up with the guys and was running around. I was good to go, just a little sore. I'll be alright."

Kiel is set to graduate in December and will enroll after playing in the All-American game, really the only clues as to what sort of timetable he is operating on for his decision.

"I'm still going to graduate at the end of the semester," he said. "I'm on the right path and have my grades looking good and I'm ready to go."

More on Maxpreps: Notre Dame-USC game big for recruiting
Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:50 am
 

Gunner Kiel decommits from Indiana

Posted by Bryan Fischer

In news that was shocking only with regards to its timing, five-star quarterback Gunner Kiel has decommitted from Indiana and reopened his recruitment.

“I’m just reevaluating my decision and plan on taking some future visits to other colleges,” Kiel told 247Sports on Friday morning.

Ranked as the top quarterback in the class of 2012 and number two overall by Maxpreps, Kiel committed to the Hoosiers in late July over national powers such as Alabama, Oklahoma, Michigan and USC. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder told new Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson Thursday night according to the report, two days after he was officially selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Kiel's brother, Dusty, is a sophomore at Indiana and his uncle, Blair, played at Notre Dame. In addition to taking several official visits, the aptly-named Gunner will take an unofficial visit to see the Irish play USC on Saturday.

After selecting Indiana, both of Kiel's other finalists, Oklahoma and Alabama, added commitments from quarterbacks. His Columbus East team will play Shelbyville in the opening round of the Indiana state playoffs on Friday night.

 
Posted on: September 22, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Recruiting & Realignment: How does it shake out?


Posted by Bryan Fischer

Peering into the crystal ball is something recruitniks do all the time. Which kid goes where? Is this recruit leaning toward school X or school Y? He talked about early playing time but he also wants to play with his friend in the Big Ten.

There are so many data points but it is still an inexact science. It's hard, but someone has to do it.

With all of the conference realignment news still swirling around college football, it's time once again to look into the future (The future? Yes, the future) and see - at least for the short term - what the landscape might look like. CBSSports.com has gathered up all of our experts on both the football side and the basketball side to project what all six of the current BCS automatic qualifying conferences will look like in 2014.

RapidReports: Up to the minute realignment updates
Eye on College Football: Conference Realignment Central

From the looks of it, no conference is going kaput. There is some shrinking and some bloating but all-in-all, it's just a few alteration from what the landscape will look like in 2012. Here are our projections for further conference realignment once the current wheeling and dealings are complete:

  • Big Ten -- remains at 12 teams
  • Pac-12 -- remains at 12 teams
  • SEC -- Adds Texas A&M and Virginia Tech
  • Big 12 -- Adds BYU to replace Texas A&M, but only in football
  • ACC -- Adds Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Loses Virginia Tech to the SEC
  • Big East -- loses Connecticut, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Adds TCU, Houston and UCF; Navy and Air Force as football schools.

So we’ve got six conferences ranging in size from 12 to 16 programs. Which is strongest on the recruiting trail? Which is the deepest? Most top-heavy? Let’s take a look in alphabetical order.




Current picture: Four top 25 teams, 2-3 coaches on the hot seat.

#4 Florida State
#6 Virginia
#7 Miami
#17 Clemson

Future outlook: Jimbo Fisher appears to have the Seminoles back and recruiting like they were in the 1990's. Not only is Florida State attracting top talent, they're closing well and look to be a perennial contender with top five class after top five class. Clemson has recruited very well under Dabo Swinney but that hasn't translated into the bowl games the Tigers want to be playing in - which is one reason 2011 is make or break for him. One figures that Miami will get hit with serious NCAA sanctions that will hamper their recruiting abilities going forward. At the same time, the Hurricanes getting fewer players out of their own backyard could allow other schools in the conference to come in and grab better players - which could be a nice boost for schools such as Virginia or Maryland. The additions of UConn, Pitt and Syracuse don't do too much but do provide increased access to both states for the northern end of the conference.




Current picture: Three top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#2 Texas
#16 Oklahoma
#19 Missouri

Future outlook: The conference everybody is talking about will continue to be the conference everybody will be talking about. Texas and Oklahoma will still be Texas and Oklahoma as long as Mack Brown and Bob Stoops are on the sidelines for the Red River Rivalry every year. The Big 12 staying together means that schools such as Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Missouri and others will continue to have access to a good number of Texas high school players - key in any success any of them have had over the years. Texas will still grab the best players in the state, that much won't change no matter what happens. There could be increased competition however, with Texas A&M being able to play the 'We're in the SEC' card. That probably hurts Oklahoma and Oklahoma State more than anyone. BYU will enjoy reaching into the Southwest even more than they currently do.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, one coach on the hot seat.

#18 Cincinnati
#24 Rutgers

Future outlook: The realignment shakeup is all about the survival of the fittest but the Big East is, without a doubt, the least fit. They have had schools make waves in the national picture before but they've done so largely by coaching up players, not grabbing five-star recruits. Cincinnati has done a good job in the Midwest and should be helped out by nearby powerhouse Ohio State being down slightly. Rutgers is on shaky ground if Greg Schiano is let go but, if he sticks around, they should be a program that is helped by the trickle affect of Miami being down since they recruit Florida well. Not much is lost with the three schools going to the ACC, a good number of programs will still continue to recruit in states such as Pennsylvania and New York for players. TCU and West Virginia will probably be the top dogs in the rankings with both having strong ties to Texas and Dana Holgorsen's reputation proceeding him. UCF is a hidden gem that adds the most since Orlando has really come along in terms of number of BCS players the area produces.





Current picture: Five top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#1 Michigan
#13 Penn State
#20 Indiana
#21 Michigan State
#23 Wisconsin

Future outlook: Oh how the tables have been turned (off the field) in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. No one in the Big Ten has taken advantage of the turmoil in Columbus than the Wolverines under Brady Hoke. Given the quick turnaround, national prominence of the program and Hoke's ties to California, don't expect to see much drop off in Michigan recruiting over the next few years if they continue to win. Joe Paterno figures to retire at some point but Penn State sits in the middle of a talent-rich state and will continue to a solid job on the recruiting trail going forward. New Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson has done good job early on in locking up in-state talent and landing the number one quarterback in the country is a giant block to build on with future recruiting classes. Ohio State has been hampered with all that has gone but if they hire a top flight coach - as one would expect - all bets are off. The recruits in the state of Ohio alone will be able to keep them in the upper echelon of the conference regardless. Also watch out for Wisconsin, which will likely start getting better quality recruits the next few years following their success on the field.




Current picture: Two top 25 teams, five coaches on the hot seat.

#15 Arizona State
#25 Washington

Future outlook: A few strong years of West Coast talent will form the basis of a strong conference going forward. The biggest cause for concern is the number of coaches who are on the hot seat and can lose their jobs. For some programs, that means starting over in recruiting. For others, it could be an upgrade. With both Los Angeles programs each dealing with some issues, the amount of talent available to programs like Washington, Utah, Colorado and others has never been higher. NCAA issues at Oregon might hamper the Ducks a little but as long as they're wearing a crazy uniform and have Phil Knight writing checks, they'll be ok. USC has continued to get top talent despite and should rebound from sanctions quicker than most programs because of that. If anything though, California will become much more of a battleground state with more programs looking at the recruits coming out the next few years.




Current picture: Eight top 25 teams, two coaches on the hot seat.

#3 Florida
#5 Alabama
#8 Texas A&M
#9 Auburn
#10 Virginia Tech
#11 LSU
#14 South Carolina
#22 Vanderbilt

Future outlook: The nation's best conference on the field and the recruiting trail will only get better with the additions of Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. It's scary, actually, to think about. LSU, the Mississippi schools, Florida and Alabama should all benefit to increased access to Texas and the Aggies won't be any slouch by telling recruits that they can stay home and play in the SEC. The same is true of the state of Virginia, which has annually produced plenty of great players. Other schools have taken advantage of Georgia's increase in FBS talent the past several years and even though UGA has a coach on the hot seat, they'll be able to recruit well because of who's nearby. Will Muschamp has shown there's no drop off in the state of Florida for the Gators going forward and the Alabama-Auburn rivalry is becoming just as fierce on the recruiting trail going forward as the Iron Bowl has been on the field. Bottom line, no one recruits like the SEC and they're only getting stronger with their recent additions.




Posted on: August 12, 2011 11:01 am
Edited on: August 12, 2011 11:04 am
 

Ranking the Big Ten recruiting classes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

1. Michigan

Not much to say about the top class in the country other than to say you have to be impressed with what Brady Hoke has done without coaching a game. He's landed the elite Midwest talent and also gone to Utah, Tennessee and California to fill out the rest of the spots. There's plenty of players who should see early playing time as Hoke transforms the program in Ann Arbor.

2. Penn State (#20)

This is a meat and potatoes group for Joe Paterno as eight players are offensive or defensive lineman. There's no elite skill position player but quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg is a good pick up and tight end Jesse James was impressive this summer in 7-on-7. There are still some elite prospects the program could add but it's doubtful they can move up to the top spot.

3. Michigan State (#23)

The Spartans are seeing a little bit of a bounce from their big season last year with this class, landing players such as end Se'Von Pittman and Elite 11 quarterback Tyler O'Connor. They've gone out of region more and while they're not doing as well as in-state rival Michigan, there's a lot of solid, building block players.

4. Ohio State

Buckeyes are facing the double barrel of having their head coach gone and the possibility of NCAA sanctions, both of which are, without a doubt, effecting the program's recruiting. There's no true elite prospect, running back Brionte Dunn is as close as the school gets and he's has the weakest commitment in the class.

5. Indiana

Why is Indiana in the top half of the recruiting rankings? Number one quarterback and number two overall prospect Gunner Kiel is the biggest reason why. Head coach Kevin Wilson has done a good job overall of getting Midwest talent beyond the crown jewel too.

6. Wisconsin

A small but talented class, Wisconsin has the best bang for your buck in the Big Ten. Bart Houston is an Elite 11 and top 100 quarterback who is a perfect fit for the Badgers offense and linebacker Vince Biegel should be able to get into the lineup sooner rather than later.

7. Northwestern

An under the radar but solid effort from the Wildcats this year. Running back Malin Jones and guard Adam DePietro are both very good pickups. There's a little bit of a mix of in-state players and because of Northwestern's academic reputation, some national players in there too.

8. Iowa

The Hawkeyes are used to evaluating late and closing their class strong the past couple of months. This year they have a pretty solid start as cornerback Maurice Fleming is a good get from Chicago and offensive lineman Jaleel Johnson is a very good lineman.

9. Minnesota

Who wouldn't want to play for a coach named Kill? This class surprisingly has several players from the state of Florida (5) and the staff has locked up most of the in-state talent this year. Altogether a solid effort this year for the Gophers.

10. Nebraska

What's Nebraska doing down at number ten? Well it's a numbers game and the Cornhuskers just don't have them. They have a good group with linebacker Michael Rose and end Greg McMullen but they'll need to step up the number of commits soon.

11. Purdue

The headliner is quarterback Austin Appleby who has the size of a college signal-caller while still in high school. He impressed at the Elite 11 and has two targets in the pair of tight ends committed. Anytime a third of your class is kickers however, there's a reason why you're near the bottom of the conference.

12. Illinois

Also a smaller class, Ron Zook has recruited all over the country without focusing on one area in particular. There's potential in this group but the Illini still need to build some momentum.

Posted on: July 27, 2011 4:16 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 4:43 pm
 

Gunner Kiel chooses Indiana

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Kevin Wilson era at Indiana is off to a wonderful start as it appears that the Hoosiers may have pulled off the biggest recruiting upset in school history. Quarterback Gunner Kiel of Columbus East High School in Indiana has committed to the Hoosiers. Kiel is widely considered to be the top quarterback prospect in the 2012 class, and MaxPreps has him ranked as the second best high schooler in the country.

The 6-foot-4 216-pound quarterback is the nephew of former Notre Dame quarterback Blair Kiel, and Notre Dame was one of many schools that had made a scholarship offer to Kiel. Schools like Alabama, USC, Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma just to name a few.

No doubt the idea of working with Kevin Wilson played a large role in Kiel's decision, as he's seen what Wilson was able to do with quarterbacks like Sam Bradford while at Oklahoma. Not to mention that Kiel will have a good chance of being able to play right away at Indiana. 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com