With National Signing Day less than two weeks away, here’s a look at five storylines to keep an eye on from the Big Ten Conference.
Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes currently hold the nation's No. 2 recruiting class with a few more big fish on the board.
Another Urban Meyer Big Finish
The Ohio State head coach is known for closing strong and the Buckeyes are in on several blue-chippers to close out what is already the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class. A pair of Top247 prospects will be in Columbus this weekend for official visits in all-purpose back Dontre Wilson, who is currently an Oregon commit, and receiver James Clark. Another big-time receiver and Oregon commit in Darren Carrington is slated to be on the Buckeyes campus the weekend of Feb. 1. As Meyer looks to continue adding big-play ability to the roster, Ohio State is also near the top of the list for JUCO receiver Corey Smith, and two more prep four-star receivers in Cornelius Elder and Ryan Timmons. The big fish remaining is five-star safety Vonn Bell, who Ohio State is battling Alabama for. Touted offensive linemen Cameron Hunt, a California commit, and Dan Skipper, a Tennessee pledge, are two more considering a switcheroo to the Buckeyes. Meyer could take three to four more in the class-of-2013.
Michigan Loading Up At Running Back
As the Wolverines move towards a pro-style offense with the graduation of quarterback Denard Robinson, Brady Hoke and company already have one big-time back in the fold in Warren (Ohio) Howland Top247 standout DeVeon Smith. On Saturday, Michigan finds out if they land its biggest fish on the board in Richmond (Va.) Hermitage blue-chipper Derrick Green. The Wolverines are considered the heavy favorite to land Green, and between him and Smith, the duo could possibly be for Michigan what Todd Gurley (222 carries, 1,385 yards, 17 touchdowns) and Keith Marshall (117 carries, 759 yards, eight touchdowns) were for Georgia as true freshmen this fall. Landing Green could help secure a top-five class for the Wolverines.
Run On Party At Penn State
Penn State coach Bill O’Brien and the Nittany Lions are holding strong in the national Top25 recruiting rankings with a 17-player class led by five-star quarterback Christian Hackenberg and four-stars Adam Breneman, Tyler Ferguson, Andrew Nelson and Garrett Sickels. Although the Nittany Lions appear to be done recruiting scholarship guys in the class-of-2013, the “Run On” program has really caught momentum. To make up for lost scholarships due to NCAA sanctions, the Nittany Lions are building their roster with preferred walk-ons. They’ll take 15 to 20 run-ons in this class, combing the backwoods for prospects, and taking chances on others that were perhaps considered an inch too short or a half step too slow by other programs. Penn State is giving overlooked prospects with high-growth potential an opportunity to fulfill their dream of playing major college football for a tradition-rich program inside a stadium that seats over 100,000 people for every home game. Many of these guys can play a number or positions. Three of the top “Run Ons” already in the fold are Von Walker, Evan Galimberti and Tom Pancoast.
Indiana Getting Defensive
The Hoosiers are looking at signing at Top50 class including one of their best defensive hauls in recent memory. Indiana has three 247Composite four-stars pledged in defensive linemen Darius Latham and David Kenney and hard-hitting safety Antonio Allen. Rashard Fant is a cornerback with a lot of ability and Chase Dutra comes in as a safety with a ton of upside. Kevin Wilson and his staff are in on a couple more guys that would be considered big-time coups in defensive tackle Maurice Swain and former Tennessee linebacker commit Zach Barnes. Barnes is also considering BYU and Texas Tech while Swain has Washington and Kentucky at the top of his list along with the Hoosiers.
Nebraska Trying To Hold On
The Cornhuskers currently hold a Top20 recruiting class, however a couple commitments are considering other schools in four-star safety Marcus McWilson, who will visit Kentucky this weekend and receiver Dominic Walker, who took an official visit to Auburn last weekend. Nebraska has already lost offensive guard Dan Samuelson to Michigan. On the flipside, the Huskers are one of the leaders for former Purdue offensive tackle commit Dwayne Johnson, and are strongly in the mix for receiver Quincy Adeboyejo and offensive lineman Chongo Kondolo, and they could also add athlete Drake Martinez, the younger brother of quarterback Taylor Martinez. Receiver James Clark is including Nebraska on his final list as well.
For a look at the 247Sports Big Ten recruiting rankings, click here.