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Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Best of the Midwest: Class of 2015

By Brad Bournival

Hjalte Froholdt
Hjalte Froholdt, the No. 14 player in the ESPN Junior 300, will be playing his junior season in his native Denmark but will have plenty of suitors waiting for his return to the United States.
There are currently 34 Midwest prospects -- 15 from Ohio -- within the ESPN Junior 300. Not a single one of them has pledged an allegiance to a school as of yet.

That means the dogfight is already on, as Big Ten schools and others around the country prepare for an 18-month battle for some of the best.

As is usually the case, the Midwest will bring some interesting storylines over the next few years as the focus will shift to the heartland for some of the biggest names at the high school level.

In keeping with Tuesday’s theme, here are the top 11 prospects out of the Midwest and where they’re at in the process.

DE Jashon Cornell
St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 1

It’s still way too early to prognosticate where Cornell goes, though Cretin-Derham is a feeder program for Notre Dame. Florida, Florida State, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State are pulling out all the stops early. Cornell wouldn’t mind trimming his list soon. Expect the Fighting Irish to be there.

DE Terry Beckner Jr.
East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 9

Beckner is completely wide open at this point but is being courted by some of the biggest names in college football. Right now, Cincinnati, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio State, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee and USC have thrown their hats into the ring.

DT Hjalte Froholdt
Warren, Ohio/Harding
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 14

The foreign exchange student is back in his native country of Denmark playing for a senior league team with players ranging in age from 20-40. Coaches will remain in contact with him until he returns to the states for his senior season. He has taken visits to Arkansas, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State already.

ATH Eric Glover-Williams
Canton, Ohio/McKinley
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 29

Ohio State is already talking about making him the face of its 2015 class. That said Kentucky, Michigan State, Tennessee and West Virginia are all making hard sells. Right now, it looks appears as if the Buckeyes are in the early driver’s seat.

Shaun Crawford
It would be an upset if ESPN Junior 300 ATH Shaun Crawford didn't commit to Michigan.
ATH Shaun Crawford
Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 49

He’s already a household name in the Big Ten and has recently taken trips to Notre Dame and Michigan. Crawford is believed to be Michigan’s to lose as the versatile athlete has never been one to shy away from talking about the Wolverines.

DE Joshua Alabi
Detroit/Cass Tech
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 51

Michigan State might be a little out in front in this battle after landing his teammate Jayru Campbell at quarterback. That said, Cass Tech is still a feeder program for Michigan, so this one could come down to a battle between the Spartans and Wolverines.

OT Sterling Jenkins
Pittsburgh/Baldwin
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 75
Jenkins’ great uncle was Chappie Hill, who has a scholarship named after him by the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of Penn State Alumni Association. Both of his parents went to Pitt. Despite that it could be a good old-fashioned showdown between Michigan and Ohio State in the end. This could be a four-team race for awhile.

DT Elijah Taylor
Cincinnati/Moeller
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 89

Taylor is from the same school as Michigan State freshman Shane Jones and is good friends with the linebacker, so that should give the Spartans a leg up. Taylor doesn’t have a favorite now, but has visited Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State this summer.

ILB Chris Green
Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 91

It’s way too early to start talking commitment for Green, who has offers from Bowling Green and Kentucky. That will change very soon as Arkansas, Boston College, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State already have the standout junior on their big boards.

QB James Morgan
Green Bay, Wisc./Ashwaubenon
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 112

While he doesn’t have an offer yet, the standout is close after camping at Arizona State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Vanderbilt this summer. Notre Dame, Stanford and Wisconsin are also showing heavy interest in the pocket passer.

WR David Dowell
Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward
ESPN Junior 300 rank: 131

Tennessee is the only big school to offer right now, but don’t think it’s all about the Volunteers. Offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State could be just around the corner, and that will open the playing field dramatically. Don’t count out Cincinnati, Louisville or Notre Dame either.