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Monday, September 23, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten

By Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival


It was another weekend with minimal actual news out of the Big Ten on the recruiting trail, but there is always something to watch. Here is a look at what happened this past weekend and what might happen in the future.

Biggest commitment

Tom VanHaaren: For the second consecutive week, there were no commitments in the Big Ten. That is starting to get troubling for a few teams that have some ground to make up. The teams outside of the top 30 class rankings have some work to do.
Brad Bournival: It hasn’t happened yet, but Wisconsin put itself in good position after three-star safety Lubern Figaro (Everett, Mass./Everett) took his official visit over the weekend. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Figaro announced a top three late Sunday night of Michigan State, Syracuse and Wisconsin, in no particular order.

Figaro not only tweeted about how much he loved Madison, but got a kick out of how fans at Camp Randall Stadium were chanting his name.

Biggest offer

Bournival: It came from outside of the conference as junior college offensive tackle Joe Keels (Highland, Kan./Highland Community College) picked up an offer from Alabama over the weekend. He’s still eyeing Wisconsin, however. Keels still likes the Badgers: “Right now, Wisconsin is still my No. 1.”

Most important visit

VanHaaren: Defensive back Deandre Scott (Philadelphia/Imhotep Charter) took an official visit to Nebraska this past weekend. The Cornhuskers could use safety help and Scott would be a welcomed addition. He doesn’t have great size, but he plays bigger than he is and could add some athleticism to the secondary.

Bournival: Once again, Purdue commit Drue Tranquill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) returns to this category. The outside linebacker had a strong visit to West Lafayette, Ind., last week and it looked like the Boilermakers were in good shape. But a strong visit to Notre Dame has Tranquill holding off on a final decision between the Fighting Irish and Purdue.

Best performance

VanHaaren: Ilinois commit Mike Dudek (Naperville, Ill./Neuqua Valley) had 335 all-purpose-yards in a 54-28 win over St. Charles East. The talented athlete had five total touchdowns, four receiving and one on a 94-yard kick return. He also had an 86-yard return, but was stopped at the 3-yard-line.

Bournival: Purdue is the only big-time school with an offer out to Shaq Vann (South Bend, Ind./John Adams). Don’t expect that to stay the same if the senior running back keeps having nights like he did over the weekend. He rushed for 414 yards on 38 carries and scored five touchdowns in a 40-34 win over South Bend St. Joseph.

Biggest answer

VanHaaren: This weekend really raised more questions than answers, but it did show us that a lot of teams have a lot of holes to fill. Multiple Big Ten teams are recruiting wide receivers, defensive backs and running backs heavily and it was evident why on the field.

Bournival: Those answers could come soon for Indiana, which hosted a group of six to official visits this weekend. While there wasn’t a commitment after the Hoosiers’ 45-28 loss, the experience didn’t go without some success at the recruiting front.

Wide receivers Coray Keel (Snellville, Ga./South Gwinnett) and Kenric Young (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) had positive trips as well as four-star outside linebacker Nile Sykes (Lombardi, Ill./Montini Catholic).

Biggest question

VanHaaren: What happens next with ESPN 300 linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central)? He canceled a scheduled trip to Northwestern and instead went to Louisville over the weekend. Lee had a top list of Cal, Oregon, Northwestern, Louisville, Virginia Tech and Penn State, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of his process plays out.

Bournival: After scoring 40 or more points in the first four games for the first time since 2005, can Ohio State rake in a recruit next week during its night game with Wisconsin? Many of its 2014 commitments will be at the game as well as wide receiver Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) and safety John “Juju” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), who are all scheduled to take official visits. The last time the Buckeyes hosted an official visitor, they landed him in Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII) after a 42-7 win over San Diego State.