Final 2011 Big Ten Recruiting Rankings
|1||Continues its recruiting dominance.||8||Decent class for the Zooker.|
|2||Made an amazing surge late.||9||Not a great closing effort after a disappointing Rose Bowl.|
|3||Solid season for Pelini.||10||Small in number, but good star average.|
|4||Great final couple weeks by Hoke & company.||11||Started off hot, coaching change hurt.|
|5||Closed with a strong January.||12||Coach Kill has his work cut out for him.|
|6||Darian Cooper was a nice get.||13||A small class in size and OK in quality.|
|7||Solid finish after a very slow few months.|
I’m going to start the final adversary recruiting of the 2011 class with a few words on Michigan’s final group. On January 11th the University of Michigan had a total of 7 solid verbal commitments for its 2011 recruiting class. Brady Hoke was hired on this day and had the tough task of putting together a full class in three short weeks. During this short amount of time Hoke and the new staff held on to commits from Kellen Jones, Tony Posada and Blake Countess. They also added four star athletes Chris Bryant, Raymon Taylor, Chris Barnett and Antonio Poole; as well as three star kids Tamani Carter, Matt Wile, Keith Heitzman, Russell Bellomy, Thomas Rawls, and Frank Clark. I think they did a darn good job given the circumstances. I am very, very excited to see what this staff can do in 2012 with a full year to build relationships with these kids. I fully expect close to a top ten class in 2012.
The rich get richer, as the Ohio State Buckeyes closed out their 2011 campaign very strong. In the final month they wrapped up a top five cornerback in Doran Grant and one of the top linebackers in the nation, Curtis Grant. Doran is a great looking corner prospect. He is super fluid, has great hips and super ball skills. Doran chose OSU over Michigan State and had offers from many of college football’s powerhouses. He should make an impact rather quickly. Curtis Grant is an absolute stud linebacker. He has great size, speed and quickness. Curtis gets from sideline to sideline very well. He chose the Bucks over Florida, North Carolina and Virginia on signing day.
|Cardale Jones||QB||Glenville (OH)|
|Bryce Hanes||LS||Pinecrest Academy (GA)|
|Curtis Grant||ILB||Hermitage (VA)|
|Ejuan Price||ILB||Woodland Hills (PA)|
|Doran Grant||CB||St. Vincent St. Mary (OH)|
Brian Kelly closed out his first Notre Dame class with a bang, inking three of the best defensive ends in the country. Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt both re-committed to ND after thinking things over for a while. Aaron has a great motor and a fantastic frame for a defensive end. In 2009 Lynch had 52 tackles and 16 sacks and earned offers from powers like Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Ohio State among many others. Stephon Tuitt is a huge get. With offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia and LSU (among others) Tuitt is a great combination of size and speed. At this point he relies a bunch on his natural abilities, so he will have to work on his technique and strength in college. Rounding out ND’s crazy good defensive end class is New Yorker, Ishaq Williams. Standing 6’6”, Williams has the abilities to be an absolute freak of nature. He’s still a touch raw, but his ceiling is very high.
|Chase Hounshell||OT||Lake Catholic (OH)|
|Nick Martin||OT||Bishop Chatard (OH)|
|Troy Niklas||OT||Servite (CA)|
|Aaron Lynch||DE||Island Coast (FL)|
|Stephon Tuitt||DE||Monroe Area (GA)|
|Ishaq Williams||DE||Abe Lincoln (NY)|
Nebraska closed out their campaign by signing five kids over the final month of recruiting. The best is defensive tackle Todd Peat. The four star Peat gets off the ball very well and has a great spin move. Todd stands up a little straight after the snap, an area he will have to improve. He chose The Cornhuskers over Arizona State and Oregon State. All-purpose running back Ameer Abdullah was a nice get for the Huskers as well. As a senior he had 1,795 rushing yards and 24 TD’s to go along with 561 receiving yards and 4 more touchdowns. Ameer is a shifty, water bug type of back. He also does an exceptional job receiving.
|Ameer Abdullah||APB||Homewood (AL)|
|David Sutton||TE||Southeast (NE)|
|Givens Price||OG||Taylor (TX)|
|Joe Carter||DE||Chaffey CC (CA)|
|Todd Peat||DT||Corona Del Sol (AZ)|
|Mauro Bondi||K||West Boca Raton (FL)|
Michigan State finished pretty well too, landing 5 three star prospects. Wide out Juwan Caesar might just have the most potential of any commit in this class. Caesar has a college ready body at 6’4” 210 lbs. and could possibly move to tight end, where he could become a nightmare for opposing teams. He does not have blazing speed, but can catch and block very well. Juwan is a bit of a sleeper, but has the skills that could make him great.
|Juwan Caesar||WR||Coral Park (FL)|
|Shilique Calhoun||TE||Middleton North (NJ)|
|Fou Fonoti||OT||Cerritos CC (CA)|
|Matt Ramando||DT||Mayfield (NM)|
|Brandon Clemons||OL/DL||Delaware Valley (PA)|
Darian Cooper dropped Michigan from his list after the firing of former coach Rich Rodriguez. Iowa then became the clear leader for his services and held off the Wolverines who came back into the picture late in the game. DeMatha Catholic has become a bit of a pipeline to Iowa in the past few years. Cooper understands the game very well; he has a very high motor and great frame for a defensive tackle. I expect him to excel as a Hawkeye. Despite the off field issues in Iowa City, Ferentz continues to do well in recruiting.
|Damon Bullock||RB||Mansfield (TX)|
|Jordan Canzeri||RB||Troy (NY)|
|Darian Cooper||DT||DeMatha (MD)|
|Quinton Alston||ILB||Timber Creek (NJ)|
|Marcus Collins||OLB||Monsignor Bonner (PA)|
|Johnny Lowdermilk||OLB||Carrolton (IA)|
|Jordan Lomax||WR/DB||DeMatha (MD)|
Penn State had zero commits from late July through mid-November, but from there on out they did a really good job. January was their best month, with the headliners being 4 star wide receiver Bill Belton and fellow 4 star offensive tackle Donovan Smith. Belton is an explosive athlete who also played quarterback for his team. He should make a perfect slot receiver for PSU’s “spread HD” offense. He accounted for 6,667 total yards and 64 touchdowns over his final two seasons. Belton chose Penn State over Boston College, Florida, Oregon and West Virginia among others. Donovan Smith has a great frame for an offensive tackle at 6’7” 270 lbs. Smith is one of the top OL’s in the northeast and has a ton of athleticism and upside. He will need a year or so to throw on 25 lbs. or so, but he Donovan will be a name to remember in the future.
|Bill Belton||WR||Winslow Township (NJ)|
|Ryan Nowicki||OT||Cactus (AZ)|
|Donovan Smith||OT||Owings Mills (MD)|
|Deion Barnes||DE||Northeast (PA)|
|Adrian Amos||S||Calvert Hall (MD)|
|Sam Fickin||K||Valparaiso (IN)|
|Shyquawn Pullium||WR/DB||Kiski (PA)|
Ron Zook is widely known as a great recruiter and he often gets 5 or so highly rated players to ink with the Illini. This class may not be as good as some in previous years, but there is some good talent. The top prospect might just be the last to commit in Kentucky athlete Jon Davis. Having offers from Cincinnati, Louisville, Kentucky and Oregon, Davis opted to sign with The Zooker over his former selection, Kentucky. Jon can run right past linebackers and catches the ball very well in stride. He will be a tough match up in the next few years. Defensive end Darrius Caldwell has a chance to be a special player. The former Georgia Tech verbal is a bit of a sleeper and pretty raw, but has the skills and athleticism to be a special pass rusher.
|Donovonn Young||RB||Katy (TX)|
|Chris Jones||DT||Raines (FL)|
|Darrius Caldwell||DE||Mays (GA)|
|Eaton Spence||CB||Glades Day (FL)|
|Willie Beavers||OL/DL||Lathrup (MI)|
|Valdon Cooper||RB/CB||Elbert County (GA)|
|Jon Davis||TE/DE||Louisville Eastern (KY)|
The Wisconsin Badgers had pretty much wrapped up their class in December and only took one more kid over the final month of recruiting, sleeper QB Nate Hammon. The bigger story was probably the decision of highly rated quarterback Jacoby Brissett choosing the Florida Gators over the Badgers a few days after signing day.
I have Northwestern rated pretty low, but most of that is just based on the smallish class size. They actually have a very solid class, which is not easy to do at Northwestern. Deonte Gibson was a very nice get at the defensive end position. The Cat’s are getting a winner in Gibson, whose St. Edwards (Lakewood, OH) football team captured a state title this season. As a junior, Deonte had 63 tackles and 12 sacks.
|Jordan Perkins||RB||Lodi (CA)|
|Xavier Youngblood||WR||Lake Brantley (FL)|
|Deonte Gibson||DE||St. Edward (OH)|
|Andrew Smith||OLB||Colerain (OH)|
The Indiana Hoosiers started out of the gates very quickly this recruiting season, but suffered a little down the stretch due to the coaching change. They had a total of seven decommits, but did a decent job in January replacing those losses. Jake Reed and Shane Wynn were two really nice additions to the Hoosier lineup. Wynn is a quick twitch type slot receiver or possibly an all-purpose running back. He is very athletic, shifty and quick. He’ll be a match up problem with safetys and wide receivers in the near future. Jake Reed will be playing defensive end in Bloomington, even though most schools recruited him as a tight end. He has a great motor and is a very aggressive football player. He chose IU over Iowa, Louisville and Stanford.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers had a total of nine decommitments this season as they struggled on the football field and had to find a new coach. Coach Kill did his best, reeling in 7 prospects during the final month. Safety Steve Montgomery is a sleeper out of Florida who might have an opportunity to see the field early in Minneapolis. Steve is a touch raw, but has the ability and tools to be a good player if he works at it.
|Quentin Gardener||WR||Guyer (TX)|
|Joe Bjorkland||OT||Rosemount (MN)|
|Michael Amaefula||DE||Bowie (TX)|
|Theiren Cockran||DE||Homestead (FL)|
|Drew Gooder||DE||Northwest (KS)|
|Steve Montgomery||S||Miramar (FL)|
|Derrick Wells||S||Lehigh (FL)|
Purdue grabbed a few decent players as the 2011 recruiting season ended. Outside linebacker Armstead Williams was the best of these. Williams is a disruptor on the defensive side of the ball. As a junior he accounted for 69 tackles and 5 sacks. In the end he picked Purdue over Iowa and Maryland. Purdue lost two of their better commits in January in quarterback Russell Bellomy and running back Marcus Caffey.
|Kaulana Judd||ILB||Fullerton (CC)|
|Armstead Williams||OLB||Gateway (PA)|
|Raheem Mostert||WR/S||Smyrna Beach (FL)|
|Jalani Phillips||ILB/DE||Houston County (GA)|
|Frankie Williams||WR/CB||Tampa Robinson (FL)|
January & February decommits:
Illinois – Carl Williams (South Alabama)
Indiana – Shafer Johnson (Central Michigan), Donte Phillips (Western Michigan), Jalen Schlachter (Ball State)
Iowa – Mike Orloff (UCLA)
Minnesota – Cameron Brown(Western Kentucky), Tamani Carter(Michigan), Russell Haughton-James (West Virginia), Mike Moore (Kansas State), Junior Osunde (Texas Tech), Samuel Oyenuga, Sam Rohr (Northern Iowa)
Nebraska – Aaryn Bouzos (Air Force), Niklas Sade (North Carolina State)
Notre Dame – Ben Okotcha (Oklahoma)
Purdue – Russell Bellomy (Michigan), Marcus Caffey (Kentucky)
Wisconsin– Makinton Dorleant (Maryland), Trayion Durham (Kent State)