News, notes and buzz from around the Big Ten Conference.
Four-star QB Michael O'Connor is one of five to enroll early at Penn State.
Nittany Lions Run Down
The James Franklin era is off and running at Penn State.
-The Nittany Lions have landed three commits since Franklin came on board last Saturday, all following him over from Vanderbilt in four-star defensive end Lloyd Tubman and a pair of offensive tackle prospects in Chance Sorrell and Brendan Brosnan.
-On Wednesday morning, five-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley flipped to Florida, the only prospect to have left the fold thus far since Bill O’Brien’s departure through James Franklin taking the controls. With Holley moving on, the Nittany Lions class dropped nine spots to No. 28 in the 247Sports national recruiting rankings.
-Five commits have enrolled early in four-star quarterback Michael O'Connor, four-star receiver De'Andre Thompkins, four-star JUCO defensive tackle Tarow Barney, defensive tackle Antoine White and offensive tackle Chasz Wright.
-Penn State has roughly two spots remaining in the 2014 recruiting class. Don’t expect any official visits in Happy Valley until the weekend of Jan. 24 as Franklin continues to line up the rest of his coaching staff.
-Continue to follow everything Penn State related at 247Sports affiliate Lions247.
Drayton Moves To Top Of Big Ten Recruiter Rankings
Stan Drayton is currently ranked by 247Sports as the top recruiter in the Big Ten.
Landing Top100 Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville defensive backs Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 4 moved Ohio State assistant coach Stan Drayton up 26 spots to No. 1 in the 247Sports Big Ten Recruiter Rankings.
Drayton ranks 16th nationally, as he was also the primary recruiter for Lattimore and Smith’s teammate Marcelys Jones, and the secondary recruiter for five-star Curtis Samuel and linebacker Kyle Booker and receiver Parris Campbell.
Ohio State assistants Ed Warinner and Kerry Coombs rank No. 2 and No. 3 in the conference, as the Buckeyes class is tops in the Big Ten and No. 2 nationally.
Former Buckeyes assistant Mike Vrabel was No. 1 in the Big Ten before taking a position with the Houston Texans.
247Sports released its final Top247 for the class-of-2014 on Tuesday.
-Michigan pledge Jabrill Peppers is the highest-rated commit at No. 4 nationally.
LB Tegray Scales is one of 15 prospects currently expected at Indiana this weekend for an official visit.
-The biggest mover was the Ohio State bound Smith, who went up 226 spots to No. 61 nationally. Others that made huge moves, Northwestern quarterback commit Clayton Thorson up 137 spots to No. 73, Minnesota running back pledge Jeff Jones up 133 spots to 55, and Buckeyes linebacker verbal Sam Hubbard up 100 slots to No. 123.
-More notable bumps include Wisconsin offensive tackle commit Jaden Gault up 47 spots to No. 47, Ohio State defensive end commit Jalyn Holmes up 41 spots to No. 51, Penn State receiver commit Chris Godwin up 31 spots to No. 205, Buckeyes cornerback commit Damon Webb up 28 slots to No. 43 and Michigan offensive line early enrollee Mason Cole up 16 spots to No. 86.
Official Visit Central
-The Indiana campus will be buzzing this weekend with several top targets, prospects committed elsewhere and players pledged to the Hoosiers in 2014. Linebacker Tegray Scales, Ole Miss four-star linebacker commit Demarquis Gates and Louisville safety commit Nilijah Ballew highlight the 15 currently listed.
-Ashburn (Va.) Briar Woods wide receiver Melvin Holland Jr. will be at Minnesota this weekend as the Gophers are in his top three along with Rutgers and Wisconsin. Minnesota is the current 247Sports Crystal Ball favorite for Holland while the Badgers have yet to offer.
-Nebraska has three official visitors on campus this weekend. The Huskers have a strong shot to turn Louisville receiver commit Desean Blair. Another Sunshine State prospect in receiver Deion Hallmon comes in with Nebraska near the top of his leaderboard. Nebraska offered former Vanderbilt running back commit Mikale Wilbon on Saturday and will get him to Lincoln this weekend. He heads back to the Commodores campus the following weekend.
-Ohio State recently offered and looks to flip Columbus (Ohio) Bishop Ready offensive tackle Brady Taylor, a current Virginia Tech commit. With Larry Johnson now as the defensive line coach, the Buckeyes could become the darkhorse to beat the Hokies out for another major name on their board in Top100 defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi. This will be Nnadi’s first time in Columbus. He’s already heard a lot about Ohio State from his friend, OSU commit Jalyn Holmes.
-Offensive tackle remains a major position of need for Purdue and two they’ve identified as guys they want in West Lafayette will be in this weekend in JUCO A.J. Allen and Northern Illinois commit Bearooz Yacoobi.
-Former Louisville receiver commit George Rushing heads to Wisconsin this weekend, as does safety D’Cota Dixon who the Badgers may have the inside track for down the stretch. Top247 offensive tackle Kaleb McGary will be in town as well as Wisconsin will try and convince him to leave the West Coast for the Big Ten.