Big Ten Class Capsules
This story originally published on FOXSportsRecruiting.com

National Recruiting Analyst
Posted Feb 5, 2014


A concise look at each Big Ten class, kids who may make quick impacts and ones who got away.

 

1. OHIO STATE
Buckeye Sports Bulletin


National Rank (5)
Highest Ranked Commit: LB Sam Hubbard
Sleeper: OT Brady Taylor
Instant Impact: S Erick Smith
One That Got Away: QB Kyle Allen

Urban Meyer and company finish atop the Big Ten rankings yet again. The Buckeyes came away the top seven players in their home state, including Glenville's defensive back duo of Erick Smith and Marshon Lattimore. It is a very strong class at linebacker, where Sam Hubbard, Dante Booker, Kyle Berger and Raekwon McMillan are all top 100 players. They also went up to Detroit and grabbed playmaking cornerback Damon Webb, who may play early. Defensive end Jalyn Holmes is long, athletic, and spurned several SEC programs for the Bucks and he was joined by sack-master Darius Slade on Signing Day. On the offensive side of the ball, the Buckeyes needed offensive linemen and they signed a good group that includes the nation's number six offensive tackle Jamarco Jones, who reaffirmed to the Buckeyes on Signing Day Eve. Among the beneficiaries of that line will be a group of fast, elusive skill players. Wide receivers Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel can both fly. McLaurin put up great testing numbers last summer and camped twice at Ohio State to earn his offer. Samuel, one of the top ten receivers in the country was a big-play high school running back who will line up in the slot for the Buckeyes. They will be joined by Johnnie Dixon and Noah Brown, two bigger, physical receivers both ranked in the Scout 300. Running back Parris Campbell was a star at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's and brings the ability in space to work in the backfield and as a return man.


 

2. MICHIGAN STATE
Spartan Digest

National Rank
(21)
Highest Ranked Commit:
DE Malik McDowell
Sleeper:
CB Jalen Watts-Jackson
Instant Impact:
TE Matt Sokol
One That Got Away:
OT Jamarco Jones

The Spartans used their Rose Bowl season to finish strong with late commitments from defensive end Malik McDowell, defensive tackle Craig Evans, and safety T.J. Harrell. McDowell, the state's top prospect, and a five-star, has yet to send in his LOI, but verbally committed on Signing Day. Evans may remind Spartan fans of Jerel Worthy. Cornerback Vayante Copeland and linebacker Byron Bullough, the younger brother of current Spartans Max and Riley finished in the Scout 300. Center Brian Allen, Nick Padla, an offensive tackle we think is a sleeper, and defensive tackles David Beedle and Enoch Smith Jr. insure the Spartans will remain strong in the trenches. Matt Sokol, an athletic high school quarterback, enrolled early and will switch to tight end, where we think he can contribute early as a pass catcher. Florida-based Madre London and 270-pound Gerald Owens are two good backs who will help the Spartans continue their smashmouth running game.


 

3. PENN STATE
Fight on State


National Rank
(25)
Highest Ranked Commit:
WR Saeed Blacknall
Sleeper:
OT Chance Sorrell
Instant Impact:
WR Saeed Blacknall
One That Got Away:
S Montae Nicholson

New head man James Franklin came right in and finished the class strong, flipping several Vanderbilt commitments and reeling in wide receiver Saeed Blacknall, a national top 75 prospect who was committed to Rutgers. With Allen Robinson leaving for the NFL, he could see time right away. The Nittany Lions signed three other Scout 300 prospects, outstanding tight end Mike Gesicki, athletic safety Marcus Allen and physical wideout Chris Godwin. There are two quarterbacks in the class, a 6'5 passer in Michael O'Connor, who was committed since last summer and enrolled early, and Trace McSorley, a mobile former Vandy commit who came over with Franklin. They will be protected by athletic Brendan Brosnan, another former Commodore commit with big time upside and Chance Sorrell, a high school tight end who will look to add the pounds and move to tackle. Defensively, watch out for linebacker Troy Reeder, who was also a Division-1 lacrosse recruit as well as long, athletic defensive backs Christian Campbell and Amani Oruwariye, two late adds.


 

4. MICHIGAN
Go Blue Wolverine

National Rank (27)
Highest Ranked Commit: S Jabrill Peppers
Sleeper: LB Jared Wangler
Instant Impact: S Jabrill Peppers
One That Got Away: DE Malik McDowell

This being a smaller class, it is not as highly ranked as the 2013 class, but the Wolverines still got a good haul. Defensive back Jabrill Peppers is the class headliner and a potential superstar. He was one of the top three prospects in the entire country and should make an immediate impact. The Maize and Blue needed instant impact at wide receiver and Drake Harris and Freddy Canteen both enrolled early in hopes of doing so. Harris missed all of his senior season with injury, but was great as a junior. Canteen is speedy, sure-handed and could be a surprise. He also enrolled early. Joining them is physical Country Day product Moe Ways and throwing to them will be 6'6 Virginia native Wilton Speight. The offensive line class got a boost from Mason Cole, an athletic guard prospect. Also watch out for 6'6 tight end Ian Bunting, a high school wide receiver who will transition to the new spot in college. Big, athletic defensive tackle Bryan Mone may remind some of Haloti Ngata, who defensive coordinator Greg Mattison coached with the Baltimore Ravens. He will be joined by defensive end Lawrence Marshall and linebackers Michael Ferns and Chase Winovich, all Scout 300 prospects. Two other linebackers, Ohio native Noah Furbush and legacy recruit Jared Wangler are two others we think will work their way onto the field.


  5. WISCONSIN
Badger Nation

National Rank (29)
Highest Ranked Commit: OT Jaden Gault
Sleeper: OG Michael Deiter
Instant Impact: RB Taiwan Deal
One That Got Away: DT Craig Evans

The Badgers come away with their highest finish in quite some time. A large part of that was putting a fence around a home state which had four Scout 300 prospects. The offensive line class is particularly strong with Jaden Gault, George Panos, Beau Benzschawel and Jacob Maxwell all coming from inside state lines. Panos is the son of former Badger great Joe Panos. The one offensive linemen who comes from out of state, Michael Deiter, looks like a future starter at guard or center. Four-star wide receiver Dareian Watkins, a one-time Northwestern commit, is a high school quarterback with good size and open field ability. Of course, the Badgers will want to run the ball, and running back Taiwan Deal is big and physical. Two sleepers to watch are T.J. Edwards, a hard-hitting high school safety who will play inside linebacker, and cornerback Derrick Tindal, who flipped from Indiana. In-state linebacker Dominic Cizaukas is a big time athlete who impressed the Badgers at last summer's camp, earning an offer. He will be joined by 6'6 defensive lineman Billy Hirschfeld, who will line up at end in the Badgers' 3-4.


 

6. NEBRASKA
Big Red Report

National Rank
(30)
Highest Ranked Commit:
OG D.J. Foster
Sleeper:
OT Mick Stoltenberg
Instant Impact:
DE Joe Keels
One That Got Away:
DE Darius Slade

The Huskers finished with a flurry, landing eight commitments in the final month before Signing Day. The top five commitments in the class all play on the line. In-state guard D.J. Foster is a 315-pound mauler, while Illinois product Tanner Farmer is a strong, technically sound All-American who could play guard or center. Offensive tackle Nick Gates comes in from Las Vegas and chose the Huskers over a laundry list of major offers. While he was not ranked as highly as those prospects, in-state prospect Mick Stoltenberg is a great athlete who could be a surprise. On the defensive front, JUCO end Joe Keels has good size and should be in the rotation off the bat. Peyton Newell, an interior prospect from Kansas has good quickness and a non-stop motor. Another JUCO signee, safety Byerson Cockrell, could pay immediate dividends as well. Quarterback Zack Darlington is smart and mobile. He will have tailback Mikale Wilbon, a one-time Vanderbilt commitment to hand off to.


 

 

7. IOWA
Hawkeye Report

National Rank
(41)
Highest Ranked Commit:
RB Markel Smith
Sleeper:
CB Joshua Jackson
Instant Impact:
DE Torrey Hendrick
One That Got Away:
OG Ross Pierschbacher

The Hawkeyes' highest national finish in the last three years is lead by running back Markel Smith and JUCO defensive end Torrey Hendrick. In-state offensive linemen Lucas Legrand and Keegan Render are two interior prospects who will be protecting quarterback Tyler Wiegers, a big, strong-armed Michigan kid who was committed to Rutgers. He will have a great weapon in Jay Scheel, a high school quarterback who is electric in the open field. 6-foot-8 defensive end Matt Nelson could end up being a big-time contributor, and could project to offensive tackle as well. The class is strong in the secondary with Omar Truitt, Jalen Embry, Miles Taylor and Joshua Jackson. Embry is a Detroit product who was highly productive and made a lot of plays in high school, not unlike last year's freshman surprise Desmond King.


  8. INDIANA
Hoosier Nation

National Rank
(41)
Highest Ranked Commit:
WR Dominique Booth
Sleeper:
OG Wes Martin
Instant Impact:
LB Tegray Scales
One That Got Away:
OT Lukayus McNeil

After keeping three Scout 300 members from inside state lines at home in last year's class, the Hoosiers landed Pike wide receiver Dominique Booth after he decommitted from Tennessee. He joins Florida native Will Daniels, Georgia based Coray Keel and smaller, but skilled in-state product J-Shun Harris as new weapons in Kevin Wilson's wide-open offense. Tailback Tommy Mister was a late add after being committed to Iowa State and has the size and skills to be a good one. The Hoosiers needed defensive help and they got it with two Ohio linebackers, Tegray Scales and Dameon Willis, who could both contribute early along with Southern defensive tackle Jermane Conyers. He will be joined by a tough, smart defensive end in Nick Carovillano and cover-corner Donovan Clark. On the offensive line, watch out for athletic left tackle prospect Delroy Baker, who has big time upside. The Hoosiers also got two former in-state products who signed elsewhere out of high school but bounced back after going the prep school/JUCO route, DeAndre Herron and Tim Gardner. Wide receiver Simmie Cobbs, a late flip from Purdue could also project to defense.

 

9. MINNESOTA
Gopher Digest

National Rank
(50)
Highest Ranked Commit:
RB Jeffrey Jones
Sleeper:
WR Isaiah Gentry
Instant Impact:
RB Jeffrey Jones
One That Got Away:
OT Frank Ragnow

Leading the way are two Scout 300 prospects, running back Jeff Jones and center Connor Mayes. Jones was the state's Mr. Football and a four-year varsity starter who showed he belonged with the nation's best, winning MVP at the Under Armour All-American Game. Mayes comes up from Texas and will join his brother Alex, who is currently on the Gopher roster. The Gophers signed two outstanding tight ends, physical Gaelin Elmore, who they stole from his home-state Wisconsin and Brandon Lingen, an in-state kid who not many knew about, but has big time potential. They are joined by wide receivers Isaiah Gentry and Melvin Holland, two late adds who bring athleticism and size, 6'4 and 6'3 respectively, to the table. Connor Krizancic, a Cincinnati flip had a huge senior year. The quarterback in the class is athletic Dimonic McKinzy from Kansas City. Defensive tackle Steven Richardson is a Chicago native who is not a big kid (5'11, 280) but is disruptive and has a non-stop motor. Canadian defensive end Julien Kafo is a long, impressive looking prospect who could be a surprise.


 

10. RUTGERS
Scarlet Report

National Rank
(50)
Highest Ranked Commit:
OT Marcus Applefield
Sleeper:
QB Giovanni Rescigno
Instant Impact:
RB Josh Hicks
One That Got Away:
WR Saeed Blacknall

The Scarlet Knights signed kids from nine different states, and as ready for their move to the Big Ten, it appears as though they will be strong up front. Five offensive linemen lead the way in this class, including athletic 6'6, 275-pound Marcus Applefield and massive 375-pound road grader Tariq Cole. Taking advantage of that line will be running backs Robert Martin, who is coming off a knee injury, speedy Florida-product Josh Hicks, and physical fullback Jacob Kraut. Defensively, help will come from in-state, notably defensive tackle Kevin Wilkins, a trio defensive ends in Justin Nelson, Jimmy Hogan and Donald Bedell and fast, aggressive linebacker Sidney Gopre. The one who could really make the class is quarterback Giovanni Rescigno, a late add who came on as a senior, his size and mobility, and could make Scarlet Knight faithful forget about the loss of Tyler Wiegers.


 

11. NORTHWESTERN
Purple Wildcats

National Rank
(56)
Highest Ranked Commit:
S Parkerr Westphal
Sleeper:
DT Fred Wyatt
Instant Impact:
RB Justin Jackson
One That Got Away:
WR Dareian Watkins

This class is one that looks better than its ranking. The Wildcats snagged three Scout 300 prospects and two of the top five in their home state, running back Justin Jackson and safety Parrker Westphal. The third Scout 300 signee was Jersey tight end Garrett Dickerson and in all three cases, the Wildcats beat out a number of schools for their commitment. Quarterback Clayton Thorson came on as a senior and had a big Semper-Fidelis All-American Game. He has the mobility to develop into a good one in the Wildcats' system. The offensive line group is lead by Blake Hance, a 6'6, 260-pound high school tight end who we believe will easily make the transition to offensive tackle ala Jack Konopka and smart, tough Tommy Doles who comes in from Michigan. The beneficiary of those big men up front will be running backs Solomon Vault and Auston Anderson. The sleepers of the class may be on defense in tackle Fred Wyatt and Ben Oxley, who could play inside or outside up front and Cameron Queiro at safety.


 

12. MARYLAND
Terrapin Times

National Rank (60)
Highest Ranked Commit:
OT Damian Prince
Sleeper:
DE Brett Kulka
Instant Impact:
OT Larry Mazyck
One That Got Away:
OT Jared Cohen

The Terps reeled in a big one on Signing Day when the nation's number five offensive tackle Damian Price committed. They also signed three other four-star prospects including in-state defensive end Jessie Aniebonam (6'4, 225), who had offers from the likes of Florida State, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State and more. Jersey based wide receiver Juwann Winfree also spurned a number of major programs to sign with the Terrapins. The highest rated JUCO signee in the class, offensive tackle Larry Mazyck is a 6'7, 350-pound monster who could compete for a starting job this fall. Pennsylvania was fertile ground in this class as physical 6'4, 240-pound middle linebacker Tyler Burke, hard-nosed defensive tackle David Shaw, and defensive end Brett Kulka, who we have tabbed as the sleeper of the class. In the defensive backfield, in-state corner Josh Woods is long (6'3, 180) and athletic.


 

13. PURDUE
Boiler Sports Report

National Rank
(64)
Highest Ranked Commit:
QB David Blough
Sleeper:
OG Bearooz Yacoobi
Instant Impact:
LB JaWuaun Bentley
One That Got Away:
WR Terry McLaurin

The Boilers have a headliner in their class with quarterback David Blough. His accuracy, lack of prototypical height and Texas roots already have him being compared to Drew Brees. He had an impressive high school career and was excellent at the Summer Elite 11 sessions. He should have a good offensive line in front of him as center Kirk Barron and guards Martesse Patterson and Bearooz Yacoobi were all among the best at their position in the Midwest. 6-foot-8, 340-pound JUCO offensive tackle Corey Clements may push for immediate playni time. Defensive end Gelen Robinson, son of former Boilermaker hoops star Glenn Robinson, is a hard-charging pass rusher who may play early. The same can be said of middle linebacker JaWhaun Bentley, who turned down home-state Maryland, Iowa, West Virginia and several other BCS offers for Purdue. The Boilers signed a good group in the secondary as four corners, Brandon Roberts, Cedric Dale, Tim Cason and Ladarius Wiley sent in their LOIs. A couple of them could end up moving to safety. One sleeper in the class could be wide receiver Simmie Cobbs, who earned his offer after a big senior year.


 

14. ILLINOIS
Illini Playbook


National Rank
(68)
Highest Ranked Commit:
DE Jihad Ward
Sleeper:
WR Malik Turner
Instant Impact:
WR Tyrin Stone-Davis
One That Got Away:
OT Brendan Brosnan

The Illini will get immediate help from JUCO prospects. Defensive lineman Jihad Ward is massive (6'7, 285) and moves well for a man of his size. Two JC wide receivers, Geronimo Allison and Tyrin Stone-Davis, bring size (both are 6'3) and athleticism. Both should compete for time in the Fall. Two high school wide receivers, Mike Dudek and Malik Turner come from inside the state and we believe both will make other Big Ten programs regret not going after them harder. Dudek is a playmaking slot guy with great hands who enrolled early, while Turner is a big, physical target who can make things happen after the catch. Offensive lineman Nick Allegretti will play center for the Illini and was an an Army All-American and outstanding high school wrestler. Running back Matt Domer comes from one of the state's best programs, Mount Carmel, and was one of the most productive backs in the state over the last two seasons. Quarterback Chayce Crouch also lead his team to many wins at Newark Catholic in Ohio and is the type of mobile signal caller the Illini like. Defensively, speedy linebacker Tre Watson turned down southern programs to play in Champaign.





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