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B1G Notes: Buckeyes Aim For No. 1

News, notes and buzz from around the Big Ten.

The Buckeyes lead for the nation's top ILB Raekwon McMillan heading into this weekend's official visit.

Ohio State On Pace For Another Big Finish

Ohio State has a chance to finish with the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruiting classOhio State has a chance to finish with the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class.

Urban Meyer’s current 18-player recruiting class has 15 prospects holding at least four-star status, with two, outside linebacker Dante Booker and Curtis Samuel billed as five-stars.

Sitting No. 2 and trailing Alabama heading into the weekend, the Buckeyes will host a few targets for Saturday’s Penn State game that could help them ultimately pass the Crimson Tide before National Signing Day.

Five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan heads back to Columbus, this time for an official visit. Ohio State is the heavy favorite to land the nation’s top inside linebacker, with Alabama and Clemson serving as the main competition.

The Buckeyes will try and make a move with Top100 receiver Josh Malone, who may be favoring Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee at this time. Clemson and Vanderbilt are two other schools in the mix.

Three other big-timers that could be at Ohio State this weekend, but as of Wednesday morning there was no confirmation, are five-star defensive tackle Matt Elam, five-star safety Jamal Adams and Top247 receiver Trevion Thompson. Both Elam and Thompson have been to the Buckeyes campus in the past.

Beyond this weekend, Ohio State has a great shot to land five-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley, who took his official last weekend, Top50 cornerback Marshon Lattimore, elite JUCO offensive tackle Chad Mavety and four-star safety Erick Smith. The Buckeyes are also a top choice for five-star athlete John Smith (official for the Wisconsin game), Top247 receiver Johnnie Dixon (official for the Wisconsin game) and five-star offensive tackle Damian Prince.

Georgia WR Rashad Canty heads to Minnesota this weekend for his official visit.

When talking Meyer and the Buckeyes, you can never rule out the possibility of them snagging a blue-chipper not really being talked about now. It was around this time last year when rumors began to surface that Ohio State would ultimately land Top247 running back Dontre Wilson, and the former Oregon pledge is already making an impact in Columbus.

Click here for a free link to Ohio State’s target list in 2014.

Several big-time underclassmen are also expected to check out the Buckeyes this weekend.

Minnesota and Illini Hosting Visitors This Weekend

-Minnesota will receive an official visit from Riverdale (Ga.) High receiver Rashad Canty this weekend. Currently committed to Appalachian State, an offer from the Gophers could flip the three-star player and nation’s No. 161 receiver. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Canty’s other offers include Southern Miss, Tulane, UAB, Middle Tennessee State and South Alabama.

-The Illini are coming off the biggest recruiting weekend in the Big Ten for last Saturday’s primetime affair with Wisconsin. This coming Saturday, Illinois will host two of its top 2015 offensive line targets in Jacksonville (Ill.) High four-star Gabe Megginson and Indianapolis (Ind.) Bishop Chatard standout Adam Solomon.

Penn State, Indiana Land Pair, Purdue Scores One Commit

-The Nittany Lions had as big a week as anyone in the country over the last few days, landing the nation’s top tight end Mike Gesicki last Thursday and pulling in the top prospect in the state of Massachusetts in running back Johnathan Thomas on Sunday.

The nation's top TE Mike Gesicki committed to Penn State last week.

Beating out Ohio State for Gesicki, Penn State has landed an elite tight end in back-to-back recruiting classes, signing Adam Breneman, the nation’s No. 2 player at the position in 2013. The 2012 tight end signee Jesse James has already proven to be a key cog in the Penn State offense.

The 6-foot-5, 236-pound Gesicki was attracted to the way Penn State uses its tight ends on offense, and he’ll bring the Nittany Lions a home run threat that can stretch the middle of the field and be a match-up nightmare for defenses with his size and athleticism.

Previously committed to Maryland, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Thomas has been on Penn State’s radar for some time because of his toughness and versatility. The nation’s No. 27 running back has a chance to be a very good one in Happy Valley.

With Gesicki and Thomas in the fold, Penn State climbed to No. 29 in the national recruiting rankings, good for No. 4 in the Big Ten.

-Indiana picked up two more from Ohio in linebacker Airius Moore and running back Devine Redding. Six of the Hoosiers 14 commits hail from the Buckeye State. Head coach Kevin Wilson’s class ranks No. 60 nationally and No. 9 in the Big Ten. Another Ohio target Indiana remains in good shape for is sought-after linebacker Tegray Scales.

-College programs may have been sleeping on Oak Park (Ill.) River Forest athlete Simmie Cobbs, before Purdue offered him and landed his pledge. Cobbs didn’t play as a junior after transferring to Lombard (Ill.) Montini Catholic, but transferring back to River Forest for his final prep season, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Cobbs is having a big year. He’ll begin his career at Purdue as a defensive back, but could grow into a linebacker. He’s a standout receiver on the high school level. Cobbs became commit No. 10 for the Boilermakers in 2014, a class that ranks No. 68 nationally.

Bye Week Travels & Quick Hitters

-Michigan, Indiana, Purdue and Wisconsin are on bye weeks this week and have hit the road recruiting.

On the previous Wolverines bye week the coaches went and saw Top50 senior defensive lineman Malik McDowell and this go-round they’ll see five-star defensive end Da’Shawn Hand play on Friday evening. They’ve also been out to see several 2015 targets.

A key target for Wisconsin this week will be Top247 offensive tackle Kolton Miller.

Indiana will be scattered across the country checking on juniors after using the last bye week to hit most of their key 2014 targets. Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby safety Tony Fields will be one of the seniors the Hoosiers will check in on this week, but the focus will mainly be on 2015 and beyond.

Purdue checked in on several rising seniors on Monday including Bolingbrook (Ill.) High outside linebacker/defensive end Colin Castagna, Wheaton (Ill.) St. Francis running back James Butler and South Bend (Ind.) Adams running back Shaq Vann. JUCO offensive tackle prospects will be the focus at the end of the week.

-Northwestern hosted Corona (Calif.) Santiago 2015 quarterback Blake Barnett on Sunday, a day after he visited Notre Dame. Barnett has early offers from the Irish, Arizona and UCLA.

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