Michigan Wolverines: Joshua Alabi

Recruits watching: Michigan-Ohio State 

November, 27, 2013
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It’s called The Game for a reason. The rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State is intense and is always a fan favorite. That holds true with recruits as well, so it’s only natural that there will be a ton of top targets on hand for this game.

Here is a look at 10 prospects who will be visiting Ann Arbor, Mich., to watch these rivals face off.

DE Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield): It still isn’t 100 percent this ESPN 300 prospect will be in for the game, according to his father. It is likely, though, that he will be there, which is a good thing because he is one of the few remaining top targets in the 2014 class. McDowell is the No. 68 player in the country and an in-state kid, so it’s imperative that Michigan land him in this class.

ESPN Junior 300 analysis: Big Ten 

November, 19, 2013
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The newest version of the ESPN Junior 300 is out and there was plenty of movement within the list to interest Big Ten fans. Here is a look at what changes were made from a Big Ten perspective.


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Recruits react: Michigan State-Michigan 

November, 3, 2013
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Plenty of prospects were in attendance to see Michigan State beat rival Michigan in East Lansing on Saturday. The game was pretty lopsided, but in such a huge win for the Spartans there was a ton of excitement around the weekend.

Plenty of Michigan State commits were on hand to see their future team win, including linebacker Chris Frey Jr. (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington).

The three-star commit had a message to Michigan fans after the game.



Defensive end commit Enoch Smith (Chicago/Mt. Carmel) also had a few words for Michigan fans, who have referred to the Spartans as their little brothers.

"Do you hear those chants....little sister, little sister," he tweeted, as the crowd chanted those words.

One of the bigger commits on campus was ESPN 300 wide receiver Jamil Kamara (Virginia Beach, Va./Bishop Sullivan Catholic), who was on an official visit.



It seems as though Pitt and Wisconsin are high on his list, but this visit might have helped Michigan State get into the conversation for the No. 269-ranked prospect.

ESPN Junior 300 offensive lineman George Brown (Cincinnati, Ohio/Winton Woods) also made the trip to East Lansing. The No. 208-ranked prospect in the 2015 class said he enjoyed the visit.

Best of the Midwest: Class of 2015 

August, 14, 2013
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Hjalte FroholdtBrad Bournival/ESPNHjalte 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.


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Big Ten recruiting mailbag

August, 9, 2013
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It’s time to dip into the Big Ten recruiting mailbag and answer some of your questions. We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered. We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter to @bbournival or @TomVH. Feel free to email us as well at brad.bournival.espn@gmail.com or TomVHESPN@gmail.com.

@BeerTheDeer: What are Wisconsin’s chances with Joe Mixon and Damien Mama? If the Badgers can pull them both, does that do anything to raise Wisconsin’s recruiting pull?

Brad Bournival: Absolutely. You have to consider that seniors only get five official visits, so the Badgers are already way ahead of the game when it comes to landing the duo. Wisconsin’s offensive line legacy and strong education isn’t lost on Mama. The Badgers’ ability to turn running backs into stars isn’t lost on Mixon either. As far as what it would do to help Wisconsin in the recruiting scene, history shows that teams on a roll stay on a roll, especially on a year-to-year basis. Once a team gets hot with top recruits, others start taking a look.

@McArthurMatt: Will Michigan State start putting the pinch on Michigan’s Detroit Cass Tech pipeline with the commitment of Jayru Campbell?

Tom VanHaaren: It depends on what you mean by pinch. Campbell didn’t have a Michigan offer, so I don’t know if you can consider that in your question. I think Michigan will still land players from Cass Tech, but Michigan State hiring Curtis Blackwell will certainly make for more competition.

Blackwell was involved with a lot of prospects in Detroit, so his relationship with the prospects and their families is a big bonus. I do think Michigan State has a shot with Cass Tech defensive end Joshua Alabi, who does have an offer from the Wolverines.

If Michigan State lands Alabi, then this is an argument that can be talked about. That would be a big win for the Spartans if they were to land him, but that’s yet to be seen.

Michigan State will be a player for a lot of the local prospects now, but I don’t think it will have a huge impact overall on Michigan’s recruiting efforts.

@roberthendricks: What do you think about Damian Prince? Where is he headed?

Bournival: The three teams that look to be separating themselves are Florida State, Maryland and Ohio State, but I think this is a two-team battle between the Terrapins and Buckeyes. Maryland might be selling the in-state angle, but it’s more than that as the Terrapins wouldn’t mind having him be the face of the program. With 13 offensive linemen under scholarship next season and four starters leaving after this season, the Buckeyes can sell playing time and depth chart to the ESPN 300 offensive tackle. In the end, I think Prince stays home and becomes a part of Maryland’s 2014 class.

@Paul_Zinn24: Overall, how is the Big Ten stacking up in recruiting to other major conferences?

VanHaaren: Not great. Michigan and Ohio State are holding the fort down with the No. 6 and 12 ranked classes, respectively and Penn State (20) and Northwestern (24) are in the top 25.

Outside of those four teams it doesn’t look good. The Big Ten has 25 commitments in the ESPN 300 and 20 of those come from Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Northwestern. If you don’t feel like doing the math, that means that the other eight teams have five ESPN 300 commitments combined.

The SEC has 77 ESPN 300 commits and the ACC has 35, so the Big Ten is behind significantly.

With that being said, there is still plenty of time left and there are a lot of ESPN 300 prospects that could pick Big Ten schools. Northwestern, Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State are all in on some top targets, so that number could still go up.

@dcarey71: Is it true because of early enrollments that Penn State will be allowed to offer 17 scholarships instead of 15 this year?

Bournival: That is correct with a couple of stipulations. The Nittany Lions need to stay at 15 scholarships a year, but it can also count early enrollees toward the class before it. So, since there’s some wiggle room in the 2013 class, Penn State can sign 17 prospects in the 2014 class -- as long as two enroll early. Those numbers would meet the NCAA requirements under the sanctions, including the 65-maximum scholarship stipulation as well.

Incidentally, quarterback Michael O’Connor and defensive tackle Antoine White have both stated they want to enroll in January.

Big Ten recruiting storylines: Aug. 8 

August, 8, 2013
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Big Ten fodder is never hard to find, especially in recruiting. Here’s a look at a few programs that highlighted a busy week in this week in Big Ten recruiting:

Another Wangler on campus


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Michigan State started its 2015 class off with a bang by landing a commitment from an in-state prospect on Wednesday.

Quarterback Jayru Campbell (Detroit/Cass Tech) tweeted that he committed to the Spartans while on a visit to East Lansing. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound signal caller held offers from Notre Dame and Eastern Michigan, but ultimately chose the Spartans.

Campbell had been talking up Michigan State recently, but the Spartans initially weren’t his favorite. It was a recent hire by coach Mark Dantonio that helped land the local prospect.


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With Michigan's annual barbecue being held on Saturday and Sunday, WolverineNation gives you a quick primer for the event.

The history of it: It’s one of the few carryovers from the Rich Rodriguez era, and it has been a successful event in the past for the current Michigan coaching staff. We’re seeing more and more college coaches present these laid-back events in order to give recruits a different feel for a visit.


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Michigan is hosting its annual barbecue on Saturday and Sunday, and there are some top targets expected to make it in town. While there are a few that are still unsure if the visit will happen, Michigan will have the chance to sway some of the top prospects.

No. 1 running back Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) is planning to make the trip, and he would be the top prospect on hand, of course.

Aside from Fournette, here is a look at five more important prospects visiting this weekend:

2015 DB Shaun Crawford (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward)
5-9, 168 pounds
ESPN Junior 300 Rank: No. 49


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Cass Tech a priority for Ohio State 

July, 18, 2013
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Since 2008, Detroit Cass Tech High School has sent 10 of its football players to the University of Michigan. Wolverines fans think of the Technicians as locks to Michigan and a pipeline school.

That probably isn’t for naught, as Cass has produced a lot of athletes that end up choosing Michigan. Head coach Thomas Wilcher is a former Wolverine himself, so that only adds to the fans’ sense.

Adding to that, in the same period of time Ohio State has signed exactly zero prospects from the Detroit school. So when 2014 Cass Tech defensive back Damon Webb came along, naturally Michigan fans were excited.


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For a kid who thought he was a basketball player, defensive end Joshua Alabi (Detroit/Cass Tech) has done very well for himself on the football field. Alabi, the No. 51 player in the country for the 2015 class, at one point decided he wasn’t even going to play football anymore.


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2015 ESPN 300 targets: Michigan 

July, 16, 2013
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The ESPN Junior 300 was released Tuesday for the 2015 class and it is littered with Michigan targets. The Wolverines don't have any commitments within the top list, but plenty of names that hold Michigan in high regard.

With roughly 65 targets already in the ESPN 300, Michigan should have a chance to land yet another top class for 2015. Here is a look at 10 of those prospects:

1. DE Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall)
6-foot-3, 235 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 1


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Region Series Quick Hits: Midwest 

June, 11, 2013
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Quick Hits is a look at the must-know facts for each region in regard to Michigan and its football recruiting efforts. It will give you an idea of the Wolverines’ history in that region, as well as what one can expect from that region over the next few seasons.

MIDWEST

1. How many players on Michigan’s roster are from the region?


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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Wolverines secured a grayshirt commitment early in the game, giving them a quick start to the 2015 class. And while they have only two other offers out to defensive players in that class, Michigan is obviously looking ahead at other players and possibilities for the future of its program.

So here’s a breakdown of who has offers and names you should know as the summer camp scene gets under way to keep you on top of the recruiting game.


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Ohio State isn’t done invading Detroit Cass Tech High School.

In fact the Buckeyes are far from it.

With 2014 cornerback Damon Webb already in the fold, the Buckeyes offered two more Technicians Saturday. But this time they went to the sophomore class, offering running back Mike Weber and defensive end Joshua Alabi.


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