Recruiting news, notes and analysis from the Big Ten Conference.
Five-star ATH Curtis Samuel could be off the market very soon.
Samuel To Decide Soon
In talking with Brooklyn (N.Y.) Erasmus Hall head coach Danny Landberg, a decision for his uber-talented five-star athlete Curtis Samuel could come by the end of the week.
Ohio State and Rutgers are the only two schools left in play, with Samuel getting a chance to visit both campuses over the last couple weeks.
Landberg told 247Sports last Friday that he was trying to get back to Ohio State on either Wednesday or Thursday of this week. Samuel is not scheduled to make the trip with him, but Landberg didn’t rule it out. As of Tuesday morning, the logistics of Landberg’s return to Columbus had not been finalized.
The Buckeyes are the consensus favorite to land the 6-foot, 185-pound Samuel, but Rutgers is making a late push.
Currently ranked by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 3 athlete and No. 25 prospect overall, Samuel would certainly provide a big boost to each recruiting class. Ohio State is sitting No. 6 nationally and tops in the Big Ten at this point, while Rutgers checks in at No. 21, which would rank the Scarlet Knights third in their future conference.
Michigan Flips Wangler, Penn State Pushes Forward
Softening the blow of seeing one of its top commits in linebacker prospect Jared Wangler flip from Penn State to Michigan over the weekend was that the Nittany Lions were also playing host two of their top targets in four-stars Montae Nicholson and Mike Gesicki.
Jared Wangler flipping to Michigan opens up a linebacker spot at Penn State.
When Bill O’Brien and his coaching staff became the first major program to extend Wangler a scholarship back in April, sources in Happy Valley indicated at that time that they’d be surprised if Michigan let a player like that leave the state.
The sources ended up being right.
Michigan State offered on May 7 but it wasn’t enough to sway Wangler from committing to Penn State three days later. The Michigan offer did the trick when it came in on Aug. 3. A Wolverines legacy, Wangler’s father John played quarterback in Ann Arbor and his brother Jack is currently a freshman receiver. He visited the campus on Aug. 8 and pulled the trigger the next day. Michigan moved up to No. 9 nationally in the 247Sports recruiting rankings with Wangler in the fold.
Even without Wangler, Penn State’s class ranks third in the Big Ten with a chance to get better. The Nittany Lions are in the lead group for both Gesicki and Nicholson, and are also near the top of the list for five-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley, four-star athlete Dravon Henry and running back Qadree Ollison.
Penn State will look to take five more in 2014, possibly six with a JUCO early enrollee. Look for new linebacker names to pop up on the board in the near future.
Iowa Loses Pierschbacher, Eyes Two Jumbo Offensive Tackles
The Hawkeyes recruiting class was definitely dealt a blow over the weekend when long-time in-state commit in Top100 offensive tackle Ross Pierschbacher flipped his verbal commitment to Alabama.
Kirk Ferentz and his staff were planning on signing four to five along the offensive front with Pierschbacher in the fold but will now likely end up taking four. The perfect scenario in Iowa City would be to close out with Brian Wallace and Lukayus McNeil.
Four-star OT Brian Wallace would be a major coup for Iowa.
The 6-foot-6, 297-pound Wallace has the Hawkeyes among his lead group and his family keeps in regular contact with the Iowa staff. The 6-foot-7, 272-pound McNeil currently favors Indiana and Michigan State, but is keeping all of his options open and is consistent in mentioning that the Hawkeyes will get an official visit.
At cornerback, Iowa offered Detroit (Mich.) King standout Jalen Embry over the weekend and they feel good about where they stand with him.
In the 2015 class, top quarterback target Jack Beneventi will be on campus on Tuesday. The Lisle (Ill.) Benet Academy signal-caller picked up an offer from the Hawkeyes during the evaluation period and scheduled his visit Monday evening. Notre Dame is currently the program to beat.
Quick Hitters From Around The Conference
-Michigan State will host offered in-state cornerback target Tyson Smith on Sunday, as the Spartans look to continue adding to the strong momentum they’ve quickly built in 2015. In East Lansing on Tuesday is the team from Detroit (Mich.) East English Village Prep. One of the top programs in the state, 2015 linebacker Kamahl March is a player to keep an eye on.
- Top247 cornerback Parrker Westphal spoke with Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald recently, and the Wildcats head coach has basically taken over the recruitment for the Bolingbrook (Ill.) High talent. There is a lot of momentum right now regarding Northwestern and Westphal on the recruiting trail. …Another target in the secondary in Clovis (Calif.) Buchanan safety Adam Soesman, wanted to take an unofficial visit to Evanston this summer but couldn’t make it, however an official visit sometime in September is looking very likely. …Northwestern hosted three of the state’s top 2015s last week in offensive lineman Trevor Ruhland, running back Leonard Ross and cornerback Antonio Shenault.
-Michigan has gotten off to a fast start in 2015 and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward Top247 cornerback Shaun Crawford jump into the fold before the season started. The Wolverines are the heavy favorite for the explosive athlete who last visited on July 28.
-Indianapolis (Ind.) Decatur Central offensive tackle Lukayus McNeil tells 247Sports he’ll visit Purdue on Saturday. …Another in-state target that could be closing in on an offer from the Boilermakers is South Bend (Ind.) Adams athlete Shaq Vann. Vann camped in West Lafayette during the summer and says if Purdue does extend a scholarship, his commitment could come shortly after. …Boilermakers commit Drue Tranquill visit Notre Dame on Saturday. The Irish recently offered and have given the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Carroll linebacker a lot to think about.
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is personally recruiting Top247 CB Parrker Westphal.
-When it’s all said and done, expect Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville running back Devine Redding to be part of Indiana’s class. The Hoosiers are way out in front for the powerful runner from the Buckeye State. …Kevin Wilson and his staff hosted a plethora of top targets back on Aug. 4 and are looking for a similar turnout on Aug. 18. Avon (Ind.) High defensive end Joey Belden has already confirmed he’ll be in Bloomington. …If Indiana moves on receiver Jamal Custis, expect the Hoosiers to quickly move up the list for the Philadelphia product.
-Oct. 12 is shaping up to be a big recruiting weekend for Wisconsin with three more major talents being added to the list of official visitors in five-star running back Joe Mixon, Top100 offensive lineman Damien Mama and four-star cornerback John Plattenburg Jr..
-A decision for Berrien Springs (Mich.) High offensive tackle Nick Padla is expected around Labor Day and Illinois is a major player along with Cincinnati. Padla visited Michigan State over the weekend and an offer from the Spartans could change the whole dynamic.