Three-star offensive tackle Brady Taylor (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Ready) said throughout his recruitment that an Ohio State offer would not immediately result in a commitment. That offer did not come until January -- six months after he committed to Virginia Tech.

As a Columbus native, though, Taylor could not ignore the Buckeyes’ late attempt to flip him. He took an official visit this past weekend and was back on campus Monday morning to meet with coach Urban Meyer. That's when the 52nd-ranked player in Ohio committed to Ohio State.

Taylor reported his commitment in a text message to ESPN.com.

Ranked No. 75 nationally among offensive tackles, Taylor was planning an official visit to Virginia Tech for this coming weekend, but that will no longer take place. Contributing to Taylor’s flip was the Hokies’ loss of offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, who departed last week for the same position at LSU. Taylor said last week he was upset to hear Grimes was leaving and that it would be a factor in his final decision.

For Ohio State, Taylor provides the final piece of the offensive line puzzle. Coming into the 2014 class, the offensive line was priority No. 1, and the staff’s desire was to sign five offensive linemen this cycle. The Buckeyes wrapped up four commitments at the position early but struggled to land a fifth commitment. Having missed on a few prospects, the Buckeyes offered Taylor.

The Buckeyes will have significant holes to fill on the line in 2015, which allows for Taylor to develop and possibly redshirt. At 6-foot-4 and 267 pounds, Taylor likely won’t be ready to contribute until at least 2015.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

January, 20, 2014
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As usual there is a ton of action happening around signing day. The Big Ten has had commitments, decommitments, offers and everything in between.

Here is a look at what took place within the conference on the recruiting trail this past week:


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ESPN Junior 300 WR has top five 

January, 19, 2014
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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- If there is a singular position that defines the annual tryouts for the South Florida Express, it’s wide receiver. On Saturday, many of the top young receiver prospects were on hand to take a shot at making the prestigious team, including Devante Peete (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas).

The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Peete played his sophomore season at Blanche Ely High, flashing his high-ceiling potential before transferring to Saint Thomas Aquinas for his junior campaign.


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Offensive lineman Brady Taylor (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Ready) is still committed to Virginia Tech, but he says he is focused on a final decision between the Hokies and Ohio State.

The Buckeyes recently offered the Columbus native, and Taylor took the short trip over to Ohio State this weekend to meet with the coaches.


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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- After 300 prospects came out on Saturday to compete for 30 spots on the South Florida Express 7-on-7 team, about 100 were asked to return Sunday after making the first rounds of cuts.

Even after the recruiting buzz that centered around Day 1, there was even more with the immense level of talent on hand. Here is the latest on some of the top prospects who attended.


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Malik McDowell's recruitment was stagnant for much of the fall as the ESPN 300 defensive tackle from Southfield (Mich.) High put his college decision on the backburner. But now with signing day less than three weeks away, McDowell’s recruitment is beginning to take shape.

The 60th-ranked player nationally, McDowell is coming off an official visit to Florida State. The visit, his first to the Tallahassee campus, has the Noles squarely in contention for McDowell, according to his father, Greg.


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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- There's no shortage of talent in the bunch, and Ohio State has several holes on the roster where it might be able to use the influx of talent.

But no spot matches up a pressing need with an elite newcomer quite the way five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan does, and his official confirmation as a member of the program looms largest out of a group of seven unveiled by the Buckeyes on Friday.

Raekwon McMillan
Courtesy of IntersportRaekwon McMillan is ranked No. 13 in the ESPN 300 and is the No. 1 inside linebacker.
Ohio State has two starters returning at the position in Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry, and both were solid in their first seasons in full-time gigs. But there was little depth behind the first unit, and with Ryan Shazier skipping his senior season to declare for the NFL draft, there will be a noticeable sense of urgency to identify both a new starter and to fill out the second unit when spring practice rolls around.

Having the No. 1 inside linebacker in the ESPN 300 on campus in time for that competition should be a benefit, particularly if it allows McMillan to get a jump on a transition that can be difficult at his position as the coaches try to find a way to tap into a combination of size and speed that made him so coveted as a recruit.

He's not alone in bringing impressive measurable athleticism to Urban Meyer's third recruiting class, and McMillan isn't the only one of the early enrollees who the Buckeyes could find a use for quickly. Offensive linemen Marcelys Jones and Kyle Trout might find their way into the two-deep chart quickly. Wide receiver Johnnie Dixon and hybrid Curtis Samuel don't have many veteran players to try to hurdle for playing time. Kicker Sean Nuernberger could leave camp with the starting job. Quarterback Stephen Collier has generated excitement from the staff as well, but Braxton Miller is back along with two other quarterbacks, and that depth will allow him some time to develop.

McMillan probably won't have that same luxury, though Mike Mitchell and Trey Johnson both were brought along slowly by the Buckeyes after their heralded signings a year ago. Now that McMillan has officially arrived, the Buckeyes can judge for themselves how long it will take to get him and the rest of the newcomers on the field.

But at least for the moment, McMillan's reputation and Ohio State's needs appear to match up perfectly.

Big Ten Friday mailblog

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
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Wishing you a good weekend. We'll wrap up the East-West Shrine Game and NFLPA Bowl on Monday.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter.

To the inbox …

Brent from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, writes: So Iowa blasts Nebraska in Lincoln on the final Friday in November, plays a more difficult bowl opponent in LSU, and Nebraska finishes higher in your power rankings. That's par for the course.

[+] EnlargeZaire Anderson
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesIt was impossible to ignore what the Cornhuskers did to Georgia in the Gator Bowl when it came time to do the power rankings.
Adam Rittenberg: Both teams played SEC teams playing without their starting quarterbacks. LSU wasn't the same team without Zach Mettenberger. We do power rankings after the bowl games to factor in what happened in the bowl games. Otherwise, there's no point in doing another version. Nebraska improved during bowl practice and played well against a heavily favored Georgia team. Iowa couldn't mount a scoring drive of more than 5 yards against LSU. You can't solely do power rankings based on head-to-head results. Otherwise, Michigan would be ahead of Minnesota and Indiana would be ahead of Penn State. It's a what-have-you-done-lately type of deal.

Kellen from Duluth, Minn., writes: Given Nelson' transfer, do you see the Gophers trying to pick up JUCO or potentially a graduate transfer (Brewer from Tech?) to help fill in the depth and push the QB competition?

Rittenberg: Kellen, it's possible the Gophers try to add another quarterback. They could be fine with Mitch Leidner and Chris Streveler, who generated some positive buzz during his redshirt year, but you'd like to have more than two options at quarterback. Incoming recruit Dimonic McKinzy, who has enrolled early, could have the skill set to run Minnesota's offense. "They want a playmaker at the quarterback position," McKinzy told the (St. Paul) Pioneer Press. I'm not sure Michael Brewer is a great fit as he'd be going from a pass-heavy offense at Texas Tech to one built more around the run game at Minnesota.

Jeremy from the Cornfields of South Carolina writes: Adam, we are already hearing how stacked the future East Division is going to be compared to the West and how the West programs will need to step up to match. I do not claim to be a conference fan, I am a die-hard Husker fan born and raised in the cornfields. That being said Nebraska has fared very well over the course of the last three years against our new conference rivals; 3-0 vs PSU, 2-1 vs Michigan, 2-1 vs MSU, 2-1 vs NW, 2-1 vs Iowa, 1-1 vs OSU, and 1-2 vs Wisconsin. The losses didn't look good for sure, but under Pelini Nebraska has found ways to beat the elite teams within the conference. To me the West needs to look to Iowa, Northwestern and Minnesota to step up and Nebraska and Wisconsin to at least maintain. There is no guarantee that Michigan or PSU contribute to the strength of the East in the near future. I don't see the potential imbalance that people are talking about.

Rittenberg: I agree with some of your points, Jeremy. There are no guarantees that Michigan or Penn State boosts the East Division, as both programs face some challenges right now. What works against the West is a lack of historic powers. Although Wisconsin has been very good in the past two decades, Nebraska is undoubtedly the most decorated program in the West Division. The Huskers have fared well against Penn State and Michigan, but it's debatable whether Nebraska can get it done in the biggest games. It beat a very weak Ohio State team in 2011 and flopped against Big Ten champ Wisconsin in 2011 and 12-0 Ohio State in 2012. I don't think Nebraska belongs with Wisconsin yet but could soon get there. The bigger point is that Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, Purdue and Illinois must elevate their play and sustain it to improve the strength of the division.

Kenny from Hastings, Neb., writes: Am I missing something with Wisconsin this year? How is a 9-4 Wisconsin team better than a 9-4 Nebraska team? Wisconsin lost its final two games while the Huskers went 1-1, winning their bowl game (one of only two Big Ten teams to do so) and being the only team in the Big Ten to beat an SEC team. What gives?

Rittenberg: Don't push your luck, Kenny. You're somewhat fortunate to be ranked ahead of Iowa. Wisconsin ended the season poorly but had a better, more consistent squad than Nebraska for much of the season. If the two teams played after the bowls, I'd still take Wisconsin (and so would Brian). Nebraska is where it should be after a nice bowl win, but the Huskers weren't the Big Ten's third-best team this year.

[+] EnlargeC.J. Brown
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyC.J. Brown provided a lot of excitement for Maryland in 2013.
John from Washington D.C. writes: Adam; I know this was the "final" Big Ten Power Rankings for the year, but any chance of getting an 'amended' rankings with Maryland and Rutgers? Just a glimpse of what's to come, so to speak?

Rittenberg: John, we'll almost certainly have Rutgers and Maryland as part of the first 2014 power rankings, as they'll soon transition to the Big Ten blog. I need to study both teams a little more closely, but both are going through some staff turnover, especially Rutgers, which must replace both of its coordinators. Neither team was overly impressive in its bowl game, and both will be transitioning to a new league and a very tough division. Both teams struggled with turnovers this past season and will have to limit mistakes entering 2014.

Jason from B1G West writes: I think it is kind of interesting the amount of players from the SEC leaving school early for the draft, compared to the Big Ten. Would it be the different recruits the Big Ten gets, or more of a commitment to education from our conference, or maybe it's just the way things went down this year?

Rittenberg: Jason, several Big Ten fans have mentioned this to me after seeing the discrepancy in early entries between the leagues. There are certainly some Big Ten draft hopefuls like Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah who could have jumped to the NFL but wanted to finish his degree. But the SEC has players like that, too. It's too simplistic to argue that all SEC players only want to go pro and all Big Ten players care more about education than the NFL draft. There are examples of both in each league, but the bottom line is the SEC has more players who are capable of making the jump early than the Big Ten. That speaks to talent.

Ben from Ann Arbor, Mich., writes: Adam,In 2016-1019, the first four years the Big Ten will have a nine-game schedule, Michigan plays Wisconsin four times, Nebraska once, Northwestern once, and Minnesota once. I get that this is the result of parity based scheduling, but even so, wouldn't Wisconsin, the obvious top program in the West, then play Michigan State or OSU four times?

Rittenberg: Ben, keep in mind the Big Ten is trying to satisfy multiple objectives with the schedule. There's the parity-based component, which will pair teams like Michigan and Wisconsin more often than not, but the league also wants to make sure every matchup takes place once every four years. Michigan and Wisconsin haven't played since 2010, and the fact they'll play in four consecutive seasons won't be the norm for parity-based scheduling. Wisconsin plays both Michigan State and Ohio State twice between 2016-19, which is a little more typical of what you'll see with parity-based scheduling.

Big Ten lunchtime links

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
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I need my football fix. Someone should consider resurrecting the XFL ...

2014 Heisman contenders: Big Ten

January, 17, 2014
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The most famous statue in college football has been awarded to seven guys since somebody from the Big Ten has lifted it and been recognized as the best player in the country.

But plenty of candidates are already emerging to snap that skid and become the league's first winner since Troy Smith, starting with another Ohio State quarterback who has already figured prominently in the voting over the past two seasons. Starting with that candidate, we'll take a closer look at five Big Ten players capable of breaking through in 2014.

[+] EnlargeBraxton Miller
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesBraxton Miller, who already has a pair of top-10 Heisman finishes, could earn a trip to NYC with another big year leading the Buckeyes' high-scoring offense.
QB Braxton Miller, Ohio State: If not for his September injury last season, Miller may have already made an appearance in New York for the trophy presentation. Perhaps with the numbers he missed out on, he may have even won it. With a pair of top-10 finishes already to his credit, Miller elected to return for his senior season and will make one more run at the top prize. If he can take another step forward as a passer, he could easily become the favorite if he leads the high-scoring Buckeyes on another unbeaten run through the regular season.

RB Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin: For pure explosiveness out of the backfield, few players provide more firepower than Gordon. While he may wind up splitting some of the workload for the Badgers, with James White out of the picture Gordon isn't likely to finish second on the team in carries, which can damage an individual's case for hardware. Gordon rushed for 1,609 yards and 12 touchdowns while sharing time, and boosting those numbers could make him an appealing option for voters.

QB Connor Cook, Michigan State: The statistical résumé isn't all that impressive, but Cook clearly developed as the season progressed, proving it in two outstanding performances to cap the season in the Big Ten title game and the Rose Bowl. In both of those big wins for the Spartans, Cook had the numbers of a Heisman-caliber passer, throwing for more than 300 yards in each with five total touchdowns. Plus, he is the leader of a likely top-five team in the preseason polls, which will get him on the radar early.

RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska: The model of consistency, only two teams kept Abdullah from hitting the 100-yard mark as a junior -- and he came up short by just 17 combined yards. The centerpiece of the Nebraska offense decided to come back for one more season, and if he can match the prolific pace from last season when he finished with 1,690 yards, he could emerge as a legitimate threat for the trophy. The Huskers may need to spend longer in championship contention, but featuring Abdullah is probably the best way to do it.

QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State: The Nittany Lions are still locked out of the postseason, and while that probably shouldn't matter for individual awards, it has seemingly been a voting deterrent in the past. Hackenberg will have that uphill battle to fight as he tries to follow up his fantastic freshman season, but he has already proved he has the talent to insert himself in the national conversation and now has a new coach in James Franklin who surely won't hesitate to campaign for his quarterback. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards in his first season at the college level, and he figures to get better with experience.

Key recruiting visits -- Big Ten 

January, 17, 2014
Jan 17
9:00
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Now that the dead period has ended, prospects will continue taking visits to schools before signing day. The Big Ten has several top targets traveling all over the country this weekend, so here is a look at some of the bigger visitors for the conference.

1. DT Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes)
Visiting: Ohio State
Nnadi, who is ranked No. 253 in the ESPN 300, has Ohio State, Penn State, Florida State and Virginia Tech in his top group. The nation’s No. 21 defensive tackle visits Ohio State this weekend and with new defensive line coach Larry Johnson now officially hired by the Buckeyes, we’ll see where Ohio State ranks after this trip.


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Too-Early Top 25 recruiting primer

January, 16, 2014
Jan 16
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Now that teams know which players will be declaring for the NFL draft, it's time to take another look at the teams we're expecting to compete for the national championship in 2014.

So, with signing day mere weeks away, here's how the teams in the Way-Too-Early Top 25 are looking on the recruiting trail:

1. Florida State Seminoles
Who they have: The Seminoles previously held the No. 1 spot in the class rankings before falling to No. 6, but a big week at the Under Armour All-America Game -- three of FSU's top four commits pledged that week -- could propel FSU back into the top two by signing day. Dalvin Cook and Lorenzo Featherston committed to the Noles before the game and No. 40 Travis Rudolph pledged during. Now with 29 commitments, the Noles are close to done in what should be a special class. ESPN 300 linebackers Kain Daub, Jacob Pugh and Delvin Purifoy highlight the nation's strongest LB class. ESPN 300 QB J.J. Cosentino could eventually succeed Jameis Winston, although No. 7 dual-threat Treon Harris might get a shot, too. Florida State needed offensive linemen more than anything to protect its quarterbacks after 2014 and found a few. Chad Mavety, No. 8 in the ESPN Junior College 50, committed in December and is ready to contribute right away.
Who they want: Florida State is still in search of a landmark commitment at offensive tackle -- at least among high school prospects. Damian Prince will commit on signing day and it could come down to FSU and Florida. Fellow ESPN 300 OT Roderick Johnson could commit to FSU any day now. The Noles would like a five-star in this class and Marlon Humphrey visited Jan. 17, but without Pruitt it will be a tough sell. The Noles could land the top two receivers as Malachi Dupre (Jan. 24) and Ermon Lane (Jan. 31) visit close to signing day.
Storyline to watch: Will the Noles finish in the top two for the third time in four years? That type of run gives Jimbo Fisher, a Nick Saban protégé, the opportunity to knock off Alabama as the dominant team of the next decade. When all the faxes are in on signing day, FSU could realistically have signatures from eight of the country's top 40 recruits. -- Jared Shanker


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Nebraska loses three-star DE 

January, 16, 2014
Jan 16
8:49
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A three-star defensive end has had a change of heart with his commitment to Nebraska.


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#AskLoogs: Jan. 17

January, 16, 2014
Jan 16
6:30
PM ET


video

With signing day less than three weeks away, senior national recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill fields five pressing questions from college football fans.
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Gerry Hamilton, Craig Haubert and Tom Luginbill break down the impact of defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr. leaving the Nittany Lions to join the Buckeyes.

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