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Best Of The Midwest: 2012

vcfThe 2011 high school football season has come to a close and we felt now would be a good time to survey the best high school football prospects in the Midwest.

Indiana QB Gunner Kiel: No. 1

We are calling it the Best Of The Midwest. (Kind of catchy, huh?)

We have defined the Midwest as the nine-state Big Ten area: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

We then took the most updated top 247 prospect list and assembled a list of the region’s top 25 prospects.

As for a state-by-state breakdown of the Midwest’s top 25 prospects, we find that nine of them are from Ohio. (Click here for a look at that state’s top 50 prospects.)

Michigan and Pennsylvania each have four Midwest top-25 prospects. Illinois boasts three, Indiana has two and Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin each have one. There are no players on the list from Nebraska.

Twenty-two of these 25 prospects have already issued verbal commitments with Michigan and Ohio State leading the way with six. Wisconsin has two players off this elite list, while Cincinnati, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Virginia Tech each having one.

Ohio State’s hiring of Urban Meyer and its recent recruiting surge has lifted OSU’s class into the top five in the most recent team rankings.

Alabama tops those updated rankings with Texas second, Michigan third, Ohio State fourth and Texas A&M fifth.

More schools from this nine-state region in the top 50 of these rankings include: Notre Dame (10th), Pittsburgh (29th), Cincinnati (32nd), Iowa (37th), Purdue (39th), Iowa State (42nd), Michigan State (43rd), Penn State (44th), Minnesota (47th), Indiana (48th) and Wisconsin (50th).

Below we have a look at our 25-man Best Of The Midwest team for 2012. Plus we look at others considered for the list, share the top seniors in each of the nine Midwest states and also take a quick peek at the Midwest’s top 10 prospects for 2013.

Best Of The Midwest: 2012

Here is our Best Of The Midwest list for 2012 with each player’s national ranking in parentheses and comments from 247Sports’ national reporter Steve Wiltfong on many of these players:

1. QB Gunner Kiel (12th nationally)

* Height, Weight: 6-4, 210

* High School: Columbus (Ind.) East

* College Choice: Uncommitted.

* The Skinny: Kiel is regarded as the nation’s No. 1 pro style quarterback. He committed to Indiana, where his brother Dusty is a quarterback. But he later rescinded that pledge and is considering offers from the likes of Arkansas, LSU, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt. In his career, Kiel threw for 7,362 yards and 89 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 24 TDs. As a senior, he threw for 2,517 yards with 28 touchdowns and four INTs.

* Wiltfong Comment: “Kiel is as college ready a high school quarterback as anybody we have seen since Matt Barkley. He has great size, a great arm and can make all the throws. He is a very good athlete. Above all, he is accurate. The intangibles are there as well. He is a great leader. He is a football junkie. He plays the game similar to Andrew Luck.”

2. DE Noah Spence (14th)

* Height, Weight: 6-3, 235

* High School: Harrisburg (Pa.) McDevitt

* College Choice: Ohio State

* The Skinny: Spence just committed to OSU after making a weekend visit. That was after he helped his team play in the state title game on Friday. This year, Spence amassed 84 tackles, 23 tackles for losses, 10 sacks and three blocked punts for a 13-3. A 2012 Under Armour All-America Game selection, Spence, also a tight end, hauled in four receptions for 35 yards and two touchdowns. He had 102 tackles, 33 tackles for losses, 22 sacks and eight forced fumbles as a junior in 2010.

* Wiltfong Comment: “When you talk about Spence, he already has great size. He’s listed at 6-3 and 235. I’m not sure if he’s already bigger than that. He has a great frame to become much bigger in college. He is a great athlete who lives in the backfield. He is extremely explosive off the snap. He brings a strong pass rush. He moves well from side to side. He is a big-time play maker on defense.”

3. DE Adolphus Washington (21st)

* Height, Weight: 6-5, 245

* High School: Cincinnati Taft

* College Choice: Ohio State

* The Skinny: Washington made 90 tackles with a whopping 23.5 sacks as a senior. Washington also recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass he returned for a touchdown. He played tight end, fullback and some wide receiver too. Washington had 14 sacks his junior season and 15 as a sophomore. He had approximately two dozen scholarship offers including Ohio State, Michigan State, Alabama and Michigan before announcing on Nov. 22 that he will play for the Buckeyes. Washington has a 3.5 GPA and will qualify academically. He was a first-team All-Ohio pick and a defensive player of the year in Division III. He will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

* Wiltfong Comment: “With Adolphus Washington, you think about a big-time pass rusher. He’s a guy who had a tremendous senior season and just showed how dominant he can be. At the next level, he’s a guy who could help Ohio State right away – at least on third downs.”

4. OG Dan Voltz (33rd)

* Height, Weight: 6-4, 285

* High School: Barrington, Ill.

* College Choice: Wisconsin

* The Skinny: Voltz is rated as the nation’s No. 2 offensive guard prospect. He was offered by a number of top schools nationally before verbaling to Wisconsin on March 15. He was selected to play in the 2012 U.S. Army All-America Bowl. As a junior, Voltz earned all-Mid Suburban League honors, and was named to the Chicago Tribune's All-State Second team. He plans to enroll early.

* Wiltfong Comment: “Voltz has great feet. He is a real good athlete for an offensive lineman. He could play center or guard for the Badgers. He will enroll early, which will give him a chance to make the two-deep right away for them. He is a real nasty player and a workout warrior who fits the culture of what Wisconsin looks for in their offensive linemen.”

5. OT Kyle Kalis (47th)

* Height, Weight: 6-5, 300

* High School: Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward

* College Choice: Michigan

* The Skinny: Kalis is a devastating blocker who can overpower his opponents, but also is able to get out in space and block linebackers and defensive backs. He led the way for St. Edward’s crunching ground game as the Eagles went 15-0 and won the Ohio Division I State Championship his junior season. Kalis played hurt his senior season, but still performed well as St. Edward’s made it to the second round of the state playoffs. Kalis has been a starter at right tackle since the beginning of his sophomore season. Kalis had scholarship offers from Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Notre Dame, Pitt and many others before committing to the Buckeyes in September of his junior year. However, after Jim Tressel resigned Kalis switched his commitment to Michigan. Kalis has a 3.1 GPA and will qualify. He was a special mention All-Ohio pick in Division I. He will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

* Wiltfong Comment: “I think Kalis is a guy who could play both tackle or guard at the next level. It sounds like that is what Michigan has presented to him. He could be an either/or. He comes from one of the best high school programs in the country. The thing that stands out is just how strong he is and how dominant a run blocker he is. He also shows you that he has the athleticism to play tackle and take on the elite speed rushers on the edge.”

6. RB Rushel Shell (54th)

* Height, Weight: 6-0, 215

* High School: Aliquippa (Pa.) Hopewell

* College Choice: Pittsburgh

* The Skinny: Shell verbaled to Pittsburgh on Oct. 14, picking the Panthers over a field of top schools. He ended up his career as the all-time leading rusher in Pennsylvania prep history with 9,078 yards and 110 touchdowns on 1,107 carries. He also set a new national record by running for 100 yards or more in 39 consecutive games and ran for 200 yards or more 17 times in his first three years. He rushed for 1,516 yards as a freshman in 2008, 2,740 yards as a soph in 2009, 2,510 yards as a junior in 2010 and wrapped his career with 2,302 yards as a senior.

* Wiltfong Comment: “Shell is the total package. He’s a guy that is arguably one of the elite running backs in the country. He is physically capable to come in and play as a true freshman. He runs patiently, but when he sees the hole he attacks. He sees the hole and he hits it hard. He can make guys miss. For a big guy, he is nimble-footed.”

7. DE Chris Wormley (57th)

* Height, Weight: 6-7, 270

* High School: Toledo (Ohio) Whitmer

* College Choice: Michigan

* The Skinny: Wormley was a three-year starter for Whitmer at defensive end. He made 90 tackles including 12 sacks as Whitmer went 12-2 during his junior season. Wormley helped lead his team to a 13-1 record including a loss in the state semifinals his senior season. As a senior, he had 85 tackles, and team highs of 24 tackles for loss and 13 sacks. Wormley, who is very strong yet extremely quick off the line, had close to two dozen scholarship offers including Michigan and Ohio State. He grew up a Michigan fan so it was no surprise when he committed to the Wolverines at the end of July. Wormley has a 3.5 GPA and he scored a 22 on the ACT. He was a first team All-Ohio pick and also a Division I defensive player of the year selection.

* Wiltfong Comment: “With Wormley, he’s pretty much going to be a defensive tackle when all is said and done at Michigan. He will be a massive human being once he gets into a college weight room. He is like Spence and Washington, but he is a bigger guy that still is pretty explosive off the snap. He has good burst and plays with good pad level. He is well coached. He can take an offensive lineman, get off of him quickly and go make a play.”

8. OT Jordan Diamond (59th)

* Height, Weight: 6-6, 290

* High School: Chicago Simeon

* College Choice: Uncommitted.

* The Skinny: Diamond is rated as the nation’s No. 8 offensive tackle prospect. He was selected to play in the 2012 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. He earned 247Sports First Team All-Combine Honors at the U.S. Army National Combine in January 2011. He has visited Auburn and Ohio State and will make official visits to Arkansas, Michigan and Wisconsin in January.

* Wiltfong Comment: Jordan Diamond, you look at him and you see tremendous upside. He has the long arms and a frame you look for in a big-time offensive lineman. He is a guy that I would not be surprised if he plays guard in college. He could certainly end up at tackle. He has good balance. He really gets after it in an aggressive fashion. I don’t know if he is a guy who plays right away. A year in a college weight program would benefit him greatly. Down the road, he could be very elite for whoever he signs with.”

9. WR Aaron Burbridge (69th)

* Height, Weight: 6-2, 180

* High School: Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison

* College Choice: Michigan State

* The Skinny: Burbridge is rated as the nation’s No. 6 wide receiver prospect. He picked MSU on July 28, taking the Spartans over Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and others. As a senior, he had 32 receptions for 753 yards and six TDs. Burbridge returned a kickoff and INT for TDs for a 10-1 team. He had 36 catches for 720 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior, when he earned first-team all-state honors and helped Harrison post a 14-0 record and win a Division 2 state title. He had 46 catches for 752 yards and eight TDs as a soph.

* Wiltfong Comment: “Burbridge is tremendous. He’s a guy who could be a big-time college defensive back if he wants to be. He just has an extra gear. When he’s playing, he just looks faster than everybody else. He’s a guy that everything around him looks like it’s in slow motion. He will be hard to keep off the field as a true freshman. I think he’s a guy who can immediately jump into their receiver rotation at Michigan State. He’s also a guy who can give them big-play ability in the return game. He gets a lot of yards after the catch. He’s a downfield threat and also over-the-middle. You name it and he can do it.”

10. DT Sheldon Day (74th)

* Height, Weight: 6-2, 286

* High School: Indianapolis Warren Central

* College Choice: Notre Dame

* The Skinny: Day is rated as the nation’s No. 8 DT prospect. He verbaled to Notre Dame on Aug. 3, picking the Irish over Arkansas, Florida, Cincinnati, LSU, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and many others. He was selected as a 2012 Semper Fidelis All-American. As a senior, he had 59 tackles and nine sacks. As a junior, he tallied 53 tackles and five sacks. He was the Indianapolis Star Player of the Year in 2011. He was the runner-up for Indiana's Mr. Football. He plans to enroll early.

* Wiltfong Comment: “He’s got a lot of similarities to Warren Sapp. He’s got the same kind of build. He is one of the more explosive defensive tackles in the country. He will play a lot of end in their 3-4 defense. He will move around a lot on the line of scrimmage. He is a disruptive player. He’s out of a great program and he is well coached. You watch his film and he is just throwing offensive linemen around. He’s just a wrecking ball. He is a stout, big-time defensive lineman who eats up blockers so the linebackers around him can make plays. He plays very low. He plays with good pad level and is just tough to block.”

11. DT Tommy Schutt (97th)

* Height, Weight: 6-2, 300

* High School: Glen Ellyn (Ill.) Glenbard West

* College Choice: Ohio State

* The Skinny: Schutt, ranked as the nation’s No. 11 defensive tackle, had committed to Penn State previously. But after Urban Meyer’s hiring at Ohio State, he switched that verbal to OSU on Dec. 12. He held other offers from the likes of Auburn, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Miami, Michigan State, Oregon and USC. As a senior, Schutt had 73 tackles including 27 stops for loss and 14 sacks. He also 11 batted passes, three fumble recoveries and an interception. He was selected to play in the 2012 U.S. Army All-America Bowl. He had 18 sacks and 26 TFLs as a sophomore and 15 sacks and 23 TFLs as a junior. In three years, he amassed 205 tackles, 47 sacks and 76 TFLs.

* Wiltfong Comment: “Tommy is a big kid who plays with a tremendous motor. He is another good athlete. He can dunk a basketball. He was a great baseball player and plays volleyball. He plays with a lot of fire. He was dominant the last three years at Glenbard West. He is an interior guy, for sure. He can run a little bit for a big guy and make plays and chase down ball carriers.”

12. RB Drew Harris (99th)

* Height, Weight: 6-2, 210

* High School: Exton (Pa.) Downington East

* College Choice: Virginia Tech

* The Skinny: Harris verbaled to Virginia Tech on Sept. 27, picking the Hokies over the likes of Arkansas, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State and others. He rushed for 2,010 yards and 30 TDs as a soph in 2009 and 1,960 yards and 28 scores as a junior in 2010.

13. ILB James Ross (104th)

* Height, Weight: 6-1, 215

* High School: Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s

* College Choice: Michigan

* The Skinny: Ross had offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, USC and others before picking Michigan on May 2. He was selected to play in the 2012 U.S. Army All-America Bowl. A three-year starter, Ross also started two seasons at tight end. He had 113 tackles, 13 for loss, 5.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and three forc ed fumbles. Ross had six receptions for 91 yards and two TDs. As a junior, he had 96 tackles and five sacks. As a soph, he had 103 tackles and five sacks.

* Wiltfong Comment: “Ross is one of the more instinctive players in the country. He always seems to be around the ball. He doesn’t waste many steps or movements in finding the ball carrier and making plays. He’s just a smart, fast football player. He has big legs and is a strong kid. He could help Michigan right away with his smarts and savvy on the football field.”

14. DB De'van Bogard (105th)

* Height, Weight: 6-0, 190

* High School: Cleveland Glenville

* College Choice: Ohio State

* The Skinny: Bogard played linebacker and some quarterback and wide receiver during his senior season. He made 60 solo tackles and had 25 assists with five sacks and an interception. Bogard will play safety in college. He had scholarship offers from Ohio State and USC before committing to the Buckeyes in late June. Bogard will make his official visit to Ohio State the weekend of Dec. 9. He says there is a chance he might also make an official visit to USC. Bogard has close to a 3.0 GPA, but needs to raise his ACT score a bit. He is taking the test again in December. He was a first-team All-Ohio pick in Division I.

* Wiltfong Comment: “The thing that stands out about Bogard watching him in person is he will come in and lay a smack. He will hit somebody hard. He is strong in run support. He gets there in a hurry. He is a sideline-to-sideline player that snuffs it out quickly and gets there quickly and hits the guy hard.”

15. RB Brionte Dunn (106th)

* Height, Weight: 6-2, 218

* High School: Canton (Ohio) GlenOak

* College Choice: Ohio State

* The Skinny: Dunn rushed for 600 yards his freshman season at Alliance and 1,300 more with 14 touchdowns his sophomore year. Dunn transferred to GlenOak and had a huge junior season gaining over 2,000 yards. He finished things off with 1,700 yards his senior season as GlenOak finished with a 9-2 record. Dunn missed a couple games with a fractured pelvis. He had scholarship offers early from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Pitt and Cincinnati before committing to the Buckeyes. Brady Hoke offered when he took over at Michigan and Dunn says he will definitely make official visits to Ohio State and Michigan, and possibly Miami (Fla.) before making a final decision. Dunn has a 3.0 GPA and scored a 19 on the ACT. He was a first-team All-Ohio pick in Division I. He will play in the Offense-Defense Bowl.

* Wiltfong Comment: “When you look at Brionte, he looks like an NFL running back. He’s a guy who gets tough yards. He can run between the tackles and is a load to bring down. He has deceptive speed. He is more of a guy who will wear down defenses over four quarters and help you put the game away.”

16. CB Terry Richardson (108th)

* Height, Weight: 5-9, 165

* High School: Detroit Cass Technical

* College Choice: Michigan

* The Skinny: Richardson, rated as the nation’s No. 9 cornerback, had offers from the likes of Alabama, Cincinnati, Iowa, LSU, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State and USC before verbaling to nearby Michigan on May 19. He was selected to play in the 2012 Under Armour All-America Bowl as well as the 2012 U.S. vs. The World game. As a senior, he helped Cass Tech win a state title. Richardson had an INT each of the last three games (five overall). At receiver, he had 29 receptions for 525 yards and six TDs. Richardson finished his junior season with 35 tackles and 12 interceptions on defense. Offensively, he caught 12 receptions for around 400 yards and five touchdowns. Richardson had four interceptions, 16 breakups and 20 tackles as a sophomore.

* Wiltfong Comment: “Terry Richardson, when it comes to make-up speed there aren’t many corners in the country who have the same ability to run a receiver down and break on routes and make plays. There aren’t many receivers who will run away from Terry Richardson. He needs to become bigger and stronger at the next level, but he could be a big-time player in their defense. You look at the success Blake Countess had this year for Michigan. He’s not much bigger than Terry and Terry may have more upside when it comes to being able to run.”

17. OT Chris Muller (124th)

* Height, Weight: 6-6, 287

* High School: Boyertown (Pa.) Area

* College Choice: Rutgers

* The Skinny: Muller had offers from Boston College, Florida, Illinois, Michigan State, Penn State, South Carolina and others before verbaling to Rutgers on June 23. He is rated as the country’s No. 15 OT prospect.

18. APB Dennis Norfleet (139th)

* Height, Weight: 5-8, 175

* High School: Detroit Martin Luther King

* College Choice: Cincinnati

* The Skinny: Norfleet, rated as the nation’s No. 6 all-purpose back, had offers from Michigan State, Pittsburgh and others before verbaling to Cincinnati Aug. 5. Norfleet had 2,033 yards and 27 TDs. He also played in the secondary and returns kicks. As a junior, Norfleet had 1,880 yards and 31 TDs. As a soph in 2009, he had 1,328 yards and 16 TDs.

* Wiltfong Comment: “Oh, wow, Norfleet is just a football player. That’s a great get for Cincinnati. He’s a guy that could play. He plays running back in high school. He is kind of a Jacquizz Rogers kind of player. He’s got great hands. He’ll help them out of the backfield. They’ll play him in the slot. They will move him all over the field. He is such a strong kid and just loves playing football. He’s an elusive runner with great balance. He makes plays in the open field. He is a complete football player.”

19. DE Greg McMullen (147th)

* Height, Weight: 6-5, 255

* High School: Akron (Ohio) Hoban

* College Choice: Nebraska

* The Skinny: McMullen has been a varsity starter at defensive end since his freshman year when he made a big splash with 12 sacks. McMullen had 41 tackles with 11.5 sacks his sophomore season with another 50 plus tackles and 11 sacks as a junior. McMullen finished off his high school career with 78 tackles and 10 sacks his senior season. He batted down seven passes and forced three fumbles. McMullen had scholarship offers from Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue and some others before he committed to the Cornhuskers in late June. McMullen has a 3.1 GPA and he scored a 20 on the ACT. He was a first-team All-Ohio pick in Division III. He will play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl Jan. 3 in Phoenix.

20. OLB Ifeadi Odenigbo (148th)

* Height, Weight: 6-3, 212

* High School: Centerville, Ohio

* College Choice: Uncommitted.

* The Skinny: Odenigbo finished his career at Centerville with a 42-tackle and 12-sack senior season. He played defensive end in Centerville’s 4-3 defense, but might wind up as a linebacker in college. Odenigbo has excellent strength, stays on his feet well and is very difficult to keep out of the backfield. He has an impressive list of scholarship offers that he has narrowed down to seven schools. Odenigbo has made official visits to Stanford, Notre Dame and Northwestern. For his last two visits he is considering Ohio State, Cal and USC although he is not sure if he will take any additional trips. He plans to announce his college choice on Jan. 7. Odenigbo has a 3.1 GPA and he scored a 21 on the ACT. He was a second-team All-Ohio pick in Division I. He will play in the Under Armour All-American Game Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

* Wiltfong Comment: “He is a tremendous athlete. Wherever he goes, he will be able to help on special teams right away. He has the ability to be a first-round draft pick based on athleticism. But he is still a developing football player. He still has a lot to learn. He’s just kind of raw. He is a big kid who can run. He’ll come down on kickoffs and hit somebody.”

21. OT Jonah Pirsig (154th)

* Height, Weight: 6-9, 300

* High School: Blue Earth (Minn.) Area

* College Choice: Minnesota

* The Skinny: Pirsig, rated as the nation’s No. 20 OT prospect, had offers from Auburn, Illinois, Iowa, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin before he verbaled to Minnesota on July 30. Pirsig earned a spot among the Mr. Minnesota football finalists, captured Minnesota Associated Press first-team all-state honors and garnered first-team all-state recognition from both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He helped lead Blue Earth to the
Class AA state quarterfinals this season and a 10-2 overall record.

* Wiltfong Comment: “When you look at Pirsig, you see kind of the same form as Jordan Diamond. He has all the tools you want in an offensive tackle. Once he gets stronger, he will be big-time. He moves well and has a great frame. He plays with a mean streak. Once he gets stronger, he will be a good one for the Gophers.”

22. OLB Vince Biegel (156th)

* Height, Weight: 6-3, 210

* High School: Wisconsin Rapids (Wis.) Lincoln

* College Choice: Wisconsin

* The Skinny: Biegel, rated as the nation’s No. 13 OLB prospect, had offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford and Tennessee before verbaling to instate Wisconsin on April 23. He was selected to play in the 2012 U.S. Army All-America Bowl. He was a first-team all-state in 2010, when he had 125 tackles, 10 TFLs and three sacks.

23. DE Se'von Pittman (162nd)

* Height, Weight: 6-5, 235

* High School: Canton (Ohio) McKinley

* College Choice: Ohio State

* The Skinny: Pittman, a starter since his sophomore season, had an outstanding senior season. He made 102 tackles including eight sacks. Pittman had 20 tackles for loss, forced two fumbles and recovered one. Pittman made 40 tackles with three sacks his sophomore year and had 97 tackles with seven sacks his junior season. Pittman had scholarship offers from Michigan State, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Nebraska and a couple others before committing to the Spartans in June. However, after Ohio State’s hiring of Urban Meyer, Pittman made a visit to OSU and switched his commitment to the Buckeyes on Dec. 12. Pittman has a 2.8 GPA and he scored a 20 on the ACT. He was a first-team All-Ohio pick in Division I. He will play in the Offense-Defense Bowl.

* Wiltfong Comment: “The thing that stands out about Pittman is he looks great standing there. He is on the looks-good-getting-off-the-bus team. He is smooth. He is a real fluid defensive end/outside linebacker type. He can put on weight. He has a great frame. You can see him as another guy who is tough to block. He is physically superior to the guys he is playing against.”

24. DE Tom Strobel (176th)

* Height, Weight: 6-6, 240

* High School: Mentor, Ohio

* College Choice: Michigan

* The Skinny: Strobel has been a starter at defensive end since his sophomore season. He could play defensive end or tackle in college. Strobel made 68 tackles with 16 sacks during his season season in leading Mentor to an 11-2 record and the state quarter-finals. Strobel’s list of approximately 20 scholarship offers included Michigan, Ohio State, Pitt, Notre Dame, UCLA, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana and Stanford before he committed to the Wolverines on June 10. Strobel has a 3.9 GPA and he scored a 25 on the ACT. He was a first-team All-Ohio pick in Division I.

25. WR Amara Darboh (177th)

* Height, Weight: 6-2, 205

* High School: West Des Moines (Iowa) Dowling Catholic

* College Choice: Michigan

* The Skinny: Darboh, rated as the nation’s No. 19 receiver prospect, had offers from Florida, Iowa, Michigan State, Iowa State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Wisconsin and others before verbaling to Michigan on Dec. 4. As a senior, Darboh caught 48 passes for 765 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had 49 catches and six TDs as a junior and 25 catches with one score as a soph in 2009.

More Seniors Considered

Here are 13 more seniors who were considered for the Best Of The Midwest list (national rankings in parentheses):

* Royce Jenkins-Stone (188th nationally), outside linebacker, Detroit Cass Tech – Jenkins-Stone (6-2, 228) has verbaled to Michigan.

* Faith Ekakitie (189th), defensive end, Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy – Ekakitie (6-3, 285) has verbaled to Iowa.

* Colin Thompson (194th), tight end, Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood – Thompson (6-5, 263) has verbaled to Florida.

* J.J. Denman (200th), offensive tackle, Fairless Hills (Pa.) Pennsbury – Dennan (6-6, 310) has verbaled to Wisconsin.

* Kyle Dodson (208th), offensive tackle, Cleveland Heights, Ohio – Dodson (6-6, 330) has verbaled to Wisconsin, although he took a recent visit to Ohio State.

* Danny O'Brien (209th), defensive tackle, Flint (Mich.) Powers Catholic – O’Brien (6-3, 300) has verbaled to Tennessee.

* Adam Bisnowaty (216th), offensive tackle, Pittsburgh Fox Chapel Area – Bisnowaty (6-6, 275) has verbaled to Pittsburgh.

* Warren Ball (229th), running back, Columbus DeSales – Ball (6-2, 203) has verbaled to Ohio State.

* David Perkins (236th), outside linebacker, South Bend (Ind.) Washington – Perkins (6-3, 230) has visited Missouri and plans to visit LSU, Ohio State and Tennessee in January.

* Eugene Lewis (241st), wide receiver, Plymouth (Pa.) Wyoming Valley West – Lewis (6-1, 180) has verbaled to Penn State.

* Joshua Perry (unranked), outside linebacker, Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy – Perry (6-3, 220) has verbaled to Ohio State.

* Taylor Decker (unranked), offensive lineman, Vandalia Butler – Decker (6-8, 315) has committed to Notre Dame.

* Joe Bolden (unranked), linebacker, Cincinnati Colerain – Bolden (6-3, 220) has verbaled to Michigan.

State-By-State Top Prospects

Here are the top three 2012 prospects in each of the nine Midwest states:

* Illinois – OG Dan Voltz (Wisconsin verbal), OT Jordan Diamond, DT Tommy Schutt (Ohio State verbal).

* Indiana – QB Gunner Kiel, DT Sheldon Day (Notre Dame verbal), OLB David Perkins.

* Iowa – WR Amara Darboh (Michigaan verbal), QB Charlie Rogers (Iowa State verbal), RB Barkley Hill (Iowa State verbal).

* Michigan – WR Aaron Burbridge (Michigan State verbal), ILB James Ross (Michigan verbal), CB Terry Richardson (Michigan verbal).

* Minnesota – OT Jonah Pirsig (Minnesota verbal), WR Andre McDonald (Vanderbilt verbal), TE Will Johnson (West Virginia verbal).

* Nebraska – DE Drew Ott (Iowa verbal), QB Tay Bender (Kansas State verbal), TE Sam Cotton (Nebraska verbal).

* Ohio – DE Adolphus Washington (Ohio State verbal), OT Kyle Kalis (Michigan verbal), DE Chris Wormley (Michigan verbal).

* Pennsylvania – DE Noah Spence (Ohio State verbal), RB Rushel Shell (Pittsburgh verbal), RB Drew Harris (Virginia Tech verbal).

* Wisconsin – OLB Vince Biegel (Wisconsin verbal), RB Vonte Jackson (Wisconsin verbal), RB Toneo Gulley (Navy verbal).

Midwest’s Best 2013 Prospects

Here is an early look at the Midwest’s top 10 prospects for 2013 as listed here by (national rankings in parentheses):

* Jaylon Smith (fourth nationally), outside linebacker, Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers – Smith (6-3, 212) has offers from Indiana, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, Tennessee and others.

* Jalin Marshall (fifth), athlete prospect, Middletown, Ohio – Marshall (6-0, 190) has offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Illinois, Tennessee, Indiana and others.

* Steven Elmer (10th), offensive tackle, Midland, Mich. – Elmer (6-6, 305) has verbaled to Notre Dame.

* Shane Morris (12th), quarterback, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle Collegiate – Morris (6-3, 190) has verbaled to Michigan.

* Ethan Pocic (13th), offensive tackle, Lemont (Ill.) Township – Pocic (6-7, 280) has offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, West Virginia and others.

* Robert Foster (14th), wide receiver, Monaca (Pa.) Center Valley – Foster (6-3, 170) has offers from Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and others.

* Ty Isaac (29th), running back, Joliet (Ill.) Catholic Academy – Isaac (6-2, 215) has offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Wisconsin and others.

* Cameron Burrows (31st), cornerback, Trotwood (Ohio) Madison – Burrows (6-2, 195) has offers from Ohio State, [tag linked="false" key="569725" url="

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