Ohio State Buckeyes: West Virginia Mountaineers

TAMPA, Fla. -- Two of the top uncommitted quarterbacks remaining in the Class of 2015, Deondre Francois and Lamar Jackson, have many of the same college programs pursuing them.

CLIFTON, Va. -- Five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle, No. 10 in the ESPN 300, will not be making an early commitment, that much has been known from the start. What is also known about Settle is that he intends to go through the entire process and take all five of his official visits.

What wasn’t known is that Settle has started to think about what schools will make the cut.

“I’m going to trim it down in August to 14,” said Settle, who earned an invitation to The Opening Saturday after a stellar performance at the Nike Football Training Camp at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va. “The reason I’m going to trim it down in August is two-a-days and getting ready for the season. I don’t want a lot of pressure on me. I just want to play and have fun my senior season.


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ASHBURN, Va. -- If there was an award given out for the most physically gifted quarterback at Friday’s Elite 11 regional camp at the Washington Redskins' practice facility, Brandon Wimbush would undoubtedly be a runaway winner.

The No. 107-ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 showed impressive arm power, a strong frame that can carry 225 pounds, and the feet and balance that have earned him offers from the likes of Penn State, Virginia Tech, Miami, Ohio State, LSU and a host of others. The news of the day Friday was the offer list might soon be growing, and one could be a game-changer.


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Early Offer: Meyer key to DB commit 

February, 12, 2014
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: One of the better defensive back prospects in Florida is heading to Ohio State, and Urban Meyer is a big reason why; this weekend is Missouri’s chance to impress a number of top 2015 prospects; and one of the top 2015 prospects is making rounds on unofficial visits.

Meyer seals it for Edwards
Three-star safety Ben Edwards (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) gave high marks to Ohio State assistants Tim Hinton and Chris Ash for playing a role in his decision to commit to the Buckeyes on Tuesday. But it was head coach Urban Meyer who made the biggest difference. “Who wouldn’t want to play for Coach Meyer?” Edwards said. “People down here in Florida still love him and talk about him all the time. He won two national championships and has always had winning teams. My family is also comfortable with me playing for him, so he definitely played a big factor in my decision.” Edwards picked Ohio State over offers from about 20 other teams.


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Freshman QB phenom ready for circus 

September, 9, 2013
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Danny ClarkBrad Bournival/ESPNCollege attention is already evident for Danny Clark of Massillon, Ohio, one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2017 class.
Danny Clark (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) should be scared, but he's not.

He's a varsity starting quarterback as a freshman, but he's not fazed.

He plays his home games in a stadium that seats 16,600, a facility that has signs everywhere celebrating its 22 state championships. Massillon is where Chris Spielman, Justin Zwick, Devin Smith and Willie Spencer played, where Paul Brown and Earle Bruce coached. Harry Stuhldreher -- one of the famed Notre Dame four horsemen -- was a Tiger before he played for the Fighting Irish.

None of that frightens him, either.

OK, then. Let's add the fact he's the first freshman nonkicker to ever start for the Tigers, according to Massillon historians. Then let's put his debut on television on a statewide cable network.

Still not just a bit frightened, Danny?

"I’m not thinking about all the other stuff,” Clark said. “I know we have to win; we can’t let this town down. If I do what I’m taught to do, we’ll win every game.

“I don’t like to think about the pressure. One of the biggest things was staying calm and not letting the stadium, the lights and the fans get to me. When I’m out here I feel like I’m with my brothers. It means the world to me.”


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Baker cooking up something great 

September, 5, 2013
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A year ago, Jerome Baker Jr. (Cleveland/Benedictine) toiled in obscurity.

Now, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound junior can’t move an inch without someone asking about him.

Such is the life of an ESPN Junior 300 standout that has burst onto the scene as a can’t-miss prospect in the 2015 class.


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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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Four-star ATH Hooker names top six 

July, 26, 2013
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HOOVER, Ala. -- Recruiting was the last thing on Malik Hooker's mind this week. The New Castle (Pa.) High School athlete traveled with his team to Alabama to compete in the National Select 7-on-7 tournament. Even though he was from out of town, it didn’t take long for other players to figure out who he was.

“There are kids out here that are playing to try and outdo me,” Hooker said. “That’s what everybody out here wants to do -- they want to outwork the guy they’re against. I’m just out here trying to make myself better and make my team better as a whole.”

New Castle finished 2-4-1 in Thursday’s pool play before being eliminated on Friday. Before the trip, Hooker narrowed his list to six schools -- Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

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The final few days of July could shape the end of Brady Taylor’s recruitment.


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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Right now, Malik Duncan (Cleveland/Central Catholic) is losing the burrito battle.

That could change in the coming months, however, as the 5-foot-8, 167-pound Duncan continues to blow up on the recruiting scene.

A first cousin to BCS prospects Erick Smith (Cleveland/Glenville) and Jerome Baker (Cleveland/Benedictine), Duncan has a running bet with Baker every time the two get an offer.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State has not offered too many uncommitted prospects in the state of Ohio. That could change beginning this weekend when the Buckeyes host a one-day camp on Sunday.

One prospect with a legitimate chance at landing an offer is defensive end Terry Ramsey (Clayton, Ohio/Northmont).


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Autry aching to return to the game 

June, 5, 2013
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LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Myles Autry is still on the sidelines. A vicious injury to his knee last fall, with tears to his ACL, MCL and meniscus, has kept the Norcross (Ga.) High School athlete from participating in basketball, track, spring practice and now the summer camp series. And it is killing him.


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Finding the Future: Columbus NFTC 

June, 3, 2013
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video Editor’s note: Finding the Future is a RecruitingNation feature that will appear throughout camps and combine season, ranking prospects strictly on their on-field performance at the particular event. It does not reflect where each will land when the class is ranked by ESPN.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Nike Football Training Camp was loaded with top upperclassmen on Sunday, but a handful of 2015 prospects showed they could compete with some of the top competition from the Midwest.

1. OT Sterling Jenkins
6-foot-8, 295 pounds | OT | Pittsburgh Baldwin

Considering: Offers from Arizona, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Toledo, Virginia, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and West Virginia

What we learned: With some of the top committed and uncommitted defensive linemen in the Midwest flocking to the NFTC, Jenkins certainly didn’t back down as he more than held his own against top-ranked talent.

“What I like about Sterling is he has the reach, the length of an elite tackle,” said former Florida State and NFL offensive guard Montrae Holland. “He’s young right now and has to get a better understanding of angles, but the overall tools are there. He has the raw material to be very good.”


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When Urban Meyer wants you to shed a few pounds, you listen. Matt Jones (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) is still 6-foot-4, but has dropped 35 pounds since December, putting his current weight at 295 pounds.

Not coincidentally, schools have taken notice, as Kentucky, Toledo and West Virginia have offered.

Ohio State is one of 13 other schools showing interest, and that has the sophomore offensive guard excited.

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Malik Hooker (New Castle, Pa./New Castle) is not new to football. He was just new to high school football.

The 2014 athlete that exploded onto the recruiting scene a month ago played football back in eighth grade but dropped it in high school to pursue basketball. He made his way back to the gridiron before his junior season, and it paid huge dividends. Hooker has added double-digit offers, and the majority have come since April.

“I’m grateful for it because not a lot of people can say they haven’t played football since eighth grade and come back one year and get scholarships or as many big scholarships I have,” Hooker said.

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