Back by popular demand, or maybe entirely despite it, I return for my third year providing your weekly primer in what not to watch. Last year, no team pulled off the shutout, but 12 teams had 2 or fewer wins. Welcome to the list, Memphis. Elsewhere, New Mexico managed to go 1-11 and not finish last in their conference. The mighty MAC had no less than 4 teams with two wins or less. So without further ado, let's get into it.
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Under new management, obviously. The B1G (plus Notre Dame) must've known there were changes going on at MGoBlog, because barely anything happened on the recruiting trail these past couple weeks. Thanks, everyone! Action since last rankings:
8-14-11 Purdue gains commitment from Jordan Roos.
8-21-11 Wisconsin gains commitment from D.J. Singleton.
8-24-11 Penn State gains commitment from Malik Golden.
8-25-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Greg Kuhar.
8-27-11 Iowa gains commitment from Ruben Lile.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte (Minnesota), Darius Stroud (Indiana), and Steffon Martin (Purdue) are exluded from their respective team averages.
On to the full data, after the jump.
|#1 Michigan - 22 Commits|
Michigan remains solidly at the top of the rankings. Sione Houma picks up three stars from 24/7 after previously being unranked.
|#2 Notre Dame - 13 Commits|
No change for the Irish.
|#3 Penn State - 17 Commits|
ATH/WR Malik Golden COMES TO PENN SCHTAAAAATE. He isn't quite enough to bump the Nittany Lions past Notre Dame, but they're hot on the Irish's heels for the #2 spot.
|#4 Ohio State - 12 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes, despite the rumored Adolphus Washington commit. He's not in this class... yet.
|#5 Michigan State - 14 Commits|
Kodi Keiler is upgraded from unranked to three stars on ESPN.
|#6 Wisconsin - 10 Commits|
The Badgers pick up safety D.J. Singleton. Hugs Etienne goes from unranked to three-stars on 24/7. Hugs all around, I guess (sorry, that was too easy). If Wisconsin can pick up a couple more commits, they have a good shot of passing MSU in the rankings.
|#7 Indiana - 17 Commits|
The Hoosiers add Sebastian Smith. Tanner Kearns gets 3 stars from 24/7. Four players (Kearns, Cornett, Todd, and Fletcher) earn two-star rankings from Rivals after being previously unranked. Alex Todd upgraded to three stars on Scout and 24/7, and Dawson Fletcher gets two stars from 24/7.
|#8 Northwestern - 14 Commits|
The Wildcats grab Greg Kuhar. Chris Fitzpatrick picks up two stars from Rivals and 24/7, and Mike McHugh gets his two stars from 24/7 as well. Northwestern inches closer to Indiana, but, well, Gunner Kiel.
|#9 Iowa - 10 Commits|
The Hawkeyes picked up a commit from Cass Tech ATH Ruben Lile last night, which vaults them ahead of Minnesota (larger class, far lower quality) and Nebraska (still stuck on six commits).
|#10 Minnesota - 18 Commits|
No new commits for the Gophers. Mitch Leidner gets three stars, and Brian Nicholson and Samad Hinds each two stars, from 24/7.
|#11 Nebraska - 6 Commits|
No change for the Huskers.
|#12 Purdue - 12 Commits|
The Boilermakers land Jordan Roos, although 24/7 has yet to catch on despite the fact that they have him as a three-star and he committed two weeks ago. B.J. Knauf gets a third star from Scout and 24/7, Jonathan Curry gets bumped up a star by ESPN, and Anthony Brown and Paul Griggs get three stars from 24/7. Scout is still missing Andy Garcia, Steffon Martin, and Knauf from their commitment list -- thanks for making this task easy, guys. At this point, I'd say Purdue is pretty close to leaping Nebraska, but the lack of a single four-star player (on any service) makes it tough to justify that move unless they pick up a couple more commits.
|#13 Illinois - 8 Commits|
No new commits for the Illini. Joseph Spencer picks up a three-star rating from ESPN. Zach Jackson and Joey Warburg each get three stars from 24/7.
I traveled down to Canton, Ohio yesterday to check out the game between GlenOak and Firestone, and spent my time observing a few key players. I'm sure everybody is aware of Bri'onte Dunn on GlenOak, but there were a few more high level players on the field. Below are my notes on a few of them.
2012, RB , # 25 ,Committed to Ohio State
Pros: As the star of GlenOak, there are going to be some high expectations for Bri'onte this year and he didn't disapoint in this game. Bri'onte is a big, strong runningback and certainly looks the part as a downhill runner who makes his living going between the tackles. He has good quickness and sees the hole well, getting through it with a good burst. Once he gets into the second layer he shows good vision and spots the open space to the left or right. He's a tough and violent runner, often delivering a blow to the first guy that gets to him. He's a tough guy to bring down, rarely being tackled by the first guy. He keeps his feet moving and made a few good plays after breaking an early tackle.
Cons: There didn't appear to be many flaws in his game, but he's definitely not perfect. He lacks elite speed. He was unable to gain the corner on a few pitches and never broke any long runs. He's not slow, but he's no burner out there. I was also a little concerned about his hands. I think he dropped two pitches and fumbled another. He was not thrown to from what I can recall, but he did put the ball on the ground once or twice.
Overall: Bri'onte had a very good game. I believe he ended up at around 140 yards on about 25 carries in three quarters (Numbers are not exact). GlenOak dominated Firestone and they had the luxury of sitting Bri'onte and getting some other guys playing time. Ohio State is getting a good one, assuming he sticks.
(Here's a shitty video of a kick return by Bri'onte)
2013 WR, #8
Pros: Kevin is a big time wide receiver who should get interest from some good programs. The current word on the street is that he is a heavy OSU lean, and he looked like he had that kind of potential. He's got good size and looked every bit of his listed 6'4. He displayed good speed on a few routes and came down with a great catch on a long ball over the middle. This catch in particular was over the shoulder with a defender right on him and it required him to make a good adjustment to the ball. He also displayed tough side and made a few good blocks on running plays.
Cons: He disappeared for long stretches of the game. This was probably caused by his QB to an extent, who wasn't very good.
Overall: This was short because I didn't see him make a lot of catches. My impression was mostly based on a few routes that didn't materialize into anything and that one good catch.He has the physical abilities to be a good one and should do better as the season progresses and he sees more balls thrown to him.
(A few photos below. Dunn is #25, Gladney is #8. Kinda hard to see)
Other Guys To Keep an Eye On / Guys Who Impressed Me:
1. 2012 QB Christian Manns: He looked bigger than his listed 5'10 183 lbs. He displayed a good arm and even made a few good runs on QB draws. Starting quarterback Reid Worstell did not play.
2. 2013 OL Steve Mathie: He looked like the biggest kid out there at 6'4 and 275 lbs. Glenoak ran to his side quite a bit and had success doing it. I didn't focus on him, but there were no obvious break-downs in blocking. He should be a big time prospect and already reports an offer from UCLA.
3. 2012 WR Lunden Butler: He made a few good touchdown catches. 6'0 195 lbs
4. 2012 WR Jordan Autrey: This kid is a burner. He was a real home run threat and took it to the house.He's diminutive though at 5'6, 145 lbs.
5. 2012 WR/LB DaShawn Hall: Made a few great plays on both sides of the ball. 6'0 210 lbs.
1. Something Shaw: I don't have any information on him besides he's number 32, but he made some good plays as a ? (TE, FB, RB, WR?). and is a big, bruising kid.
I plan on catching a few games tomorrow (St. Edwards vs Glenville and Medina vs Mayfield) and hope to continue this throughout the season so I would appreciate any comments, things you like, things you don't like, requests etc. Feel free to ask any questions below and I'll try to answer them.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @NStank. I might do some live tweeting or whatever.
Tristan Nickelson on an unofficial visit to Auburn. [Photo courtesy of the Nickelson family]
League City (TX) Clear Falls offensive tackle Tristan Nickelson projects to be one of the top offensive tackles in the nation in 2013, and it looks like Michigan will be a serious player in his recruitment. The 6'7", 280-pound prospect is an ESPNU 150 Watch List candidate and could receive consideration for five-star status when the 2013 class is ranked. Excelling in the classroom as well as on the field, Nickelson carries a 4.1 GPA (!) and plans on studying mechanical engineering in college. His father was kind enough to update me on Tristan's recruitment as he prepares for his junior season, which kicks off tomorrow against the Hitchcock (TX) Bulldogs.
ACE: Who has been recruiting Tristan from Michigan? What is his interest level in the Wolverines, and are there any plans to take a visit at this point?
MR. NICKELSON: Coach Funk personally sent Tristan a hand-written invitation to attend one of the summer camps in Ann Arbor last June -- unfortunately we had a conflict in scheduling and were unable to attend. Based on NCAA rules, Tristan can’t receive any recruiting information until September 1st, 2011.
At this point (still very early in the recruiting process) Michigan would be his top choice, based on the new coaching staff, Coach Funk, the engineering department, and the incredible facilities. Tristan asked me several years ago, “Which top-25 program also has a world-class engineering department?" I answered Michigan, so since that time Michigan has been his favorite college team, even though I played for coach Jim Wacker at TCU (4-year letterman 1984-1988) and his mother played volleyball for Texas A&M. (Our daughter Taylor is a freshman at Texas A&M.)
We would like to explore taking an unofficial visit to Michigan to expose Tristan to the game day environment, and we're thinking that invitation will happen -- but again, most likely after Sept. 1st. It would be Coach Funk’s call or the recruiter assigned to the greater Houston area.
Tristan also plans on attending the Michigan Football Camp in June 2012.
ACE: What other schools have shown interest, and does Tristan have an idea of which programs are among his favorites?
MR. NICKELSON: Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, TCU, West Virginia, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M -- basically everyone on the list has started showing interest in recruiting Tristan by inviting him to games and unofficial campus visits.
His top three at this point (in order) would be: Michigan, LSU and Texas A&M.
ACE: Does Tristan have a timetable in mind for his recruitment? How has he handled all the attention so far?
MR. NICKELSON: We plan on attending a number of college football games this season, then continuing with unofficial visits throughout the spring and summer. Tristan is being considered for the U.S. Army All-American Game (Jan. 2013) and could wait until then to announce his final choice. I guess the timeline is still undetermined at this point. Schools can start contacting him directly on April 16th, 2012 -- I’m sure it will get crazy at that point.
ACE: This might be tough to answer, being his father, but how would you evaluate Tristan's strengths and weaknesses on the field? Is there anything specific he's working on in his game right now?
MR. NICKELSON: Although several publications have him listed at 6’6”, 255 lbs. [and playing for] Clear Springs High School, the correct information is 6’ 7 3/8”, 281 lbs. (with a shoe size of 17) at Clear Falls. So we need to improve on his “feet work” along with his 40 time; at the Under Armour Combine he was timed in the 6.4’s, which he has since improved to under a 6.0. Based on the top 10 OT numbers, Tristan really needs to be under a 5.2 by spring football (March 2012). His shuttle times have also continued to improve, and I would say at the point in his career, he is a much better run blocker than he is on pass protection. On over 50% of the run plays, he ends up with a “pancake block.”
From a positive standpoint, he is very strong and increasing weekly as he matures. Several programs, including Auburn, feel like Tristan will play in the 310-320 range. He has a wingspan of 82.5” and extremely large/strong hands (Tristan had the strongest hands at the UA Combine -- 165 lbs. on pressure). He is also on the wrestling team, placing 4th in district last year as a sophomore in the 285-pound class (his weight was 241 during the season). He is being trained by one of the top Olympic lifting coaches in the country, Tim Swords.
ACE: You said that your son is planning to study mechanical engineering in college. What qualities is he looking for in his future college choice?
MR. NICKELSON: As I mentioned, the combination would be a top-25 football program with has a top-tier engineering school; it’s only a handful of schools that have both. In addition, we have talked about playing for an offensive line coach that played the position in college or in the pros, along with a head coach that will have some level of flexibility in regards to the engineering curriculum.
Based on recent events, it will also be very important that the program is in good standing with the NCAA, and not under any type of current investigations.
If Tristan has the opportunity to play in the NFL that will be great, but we have always stressed the need for a great education, which he has done a great job of managing to date. So from our perspective, the pursuit of the [mechanical engineering degree] should always be equally as important as playing for a major university.