Penn State Nittany Lions: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Getting to know Jashon Cornell 

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
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video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

When you attend a school as prestigious as Cretin-Derham Hall, as No. 16-ranked recruit Jashon Cornell does, you are bound to have connections. The Minnesota school has produced its share of college and NFL players over the years, including associate dean of students Marcus Freeman, who played for Notre Dame.


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Three days of practice are now in the books and overall execution was sharper as the players begin to move into final preparations for the Under Armour All-America Game on Thursday. The productivity of the players picked up as did the speed of the play, and they’re continuing to think less and display their natural ability more. It was a physical day, with the pads popping and some big hits throughout the practice. Here are some of the highlights.

Top performers


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As expected, Day 2 at the Under Armour All-America practices were smoother, more concise and much more productive. The players are now starting to think less and play more. Natural ability is starting to come to the forefront, which allows for them to be more productive. There have been fewer dropped passes, fewer misses by the QBs and the offensive lines are starting to jell quicker than expected. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this group is there have not been any true letdowns. They have stepped up and been as advertised almost top to bottom for both squads. Let’s hit the highlights of the day:

Top performers

WR Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish): Sims might not wow anyone with his 40-yard dash time, but it may not matter. Sims is so similar to Mike Evans at Texas A&M. He just makes plays. He has extremely long arms and is outstanding when in contested matchups. The ball will look like it is uncatchable and then next thing you know he jumps out of nowhere, extends and makes a play and the defender is left scratching his head. When it comes down to it, the QBs for Team Highlight can trust that if they need to throw it up, Sims will make a play. The most basic thing about the position is catching the football and Sims has no problem doing that.


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Michigan’s top ranked commitment in 2014, Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic), tweeted on Tuesday about a change of plans.

The No. 2-ranked prospect committed to the Wolverines on ESPN back in May. At the time LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers were among the schools he was considering. It now seems Peppers will be reevaluating schools.

This is significant because Michigan coach Brady Hoke and his staff have a no-visit policy for their commitments. Any prospect who commits to Michigan is not allowed to take other visits.

If a prospect does take a visit to a different program then they are no longer considered a Michigan commit. That doesn’t preclude the Michigan staff from still recruiting that prospect, it just means they are no longer committed to Michigan.

Peppers is a five-star prospect and badly needed in Ann Arbor, Mich., so this proves to be a bad situation for Hoke if these visits do come to fruition. Peppers, however, did state he is still committed to the Wolverines.

"I am still 100% committed to the University of Michigan and that is the place where I want to go to college," Peppers said. "With the rumors about Coach Hoke possibly not being there I need to make sure that I have options and have seen other places in case the University of Michigan decides to go in a different direction. For the sake of my future I need to make sure I have other options. No need to look into it any further! Go Blue and beat TDS."

Peppers’ high school coach, Chris Partridge, said he had not heard anything about the potential visits from his star athlete.
Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin Derham-Hall), the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2015, has narrowed his top list. After much deliberation, Cornell has cut the list of schools in the running down to 15.

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From Wisconsin moving up in the polls to a few schools moving down, it was a busy week in the Big Ten and the class rankings reflect that.

Here’s a look at what conference recruiting writers Brad Bournival and Tom VanHaaren saw and some trends to follow in the upcoming weeks:

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The List: Top Big Ten games for recruits 

August, 27, 2013
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The 2013 season is right around the corner, which means recruits will be scheduling official and unofficial visits. The bigger the game, the bigger the implications at stake with regards to recruiting.

With a lot of top prospects still on the board for Big Ten teams, here is a look at the top 10 games this season for the conference.


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ESPN.com's preseason power rankings

August, 9, 2013
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College Football Power Rankings illustrationESPN IllustrationTBD BY EDITORIAL


Not surprisingly, the back-to-back BCS champions are again preseason favorites and top ESPN's power rankings. But a number of elite programs are ready for their chance to dethrone the king.

Top 15 breakdown
No. 1 Alabama
No. 2 Ohio State
No. 3 Oregon
No. 4 Stanford
No. 5 Texas A&M
No. 6 (tie) Georgia
No. (tie) South Carolina
No. 8 Louisville
No. 9 Clemson
No. 10 Florida
No. 11 Florida State
No. 12 LSU
No. 13 Notre Dame
No. 14 (tie) Michigan
No. 14 (tie) Texas

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- FBI agent Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) might eventually be his title, but he's a high school defensive tackle for now. The ESPN 150 prospect says he hopes to study criminal justice in college with a minor in sociology and would love to one day be a special agent.

Holley also is a year ahead in terms of his high school credits, so he's currently working on AP courses and earning an honors diploma.

"I loved AP psychology, and I've been taking AP credits so I can graduate early," he said. "That way I can get ahead in college credits, because my goal is to graduate in three and a half years. So I can either start working for the NFL combine or working on my masters."

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Kareem Ali Jr. (Erial, N.J./Timber Creek) took a deep breath before crouching into position for the 40-yard dash.

The 2015 DB had arrived here, at Penn State's advanced skills camp Saturday, after cancelling his Notre Dame trip. He wanted to see Happy Valley more. He wanted to see the stadium. ("108,000? That got me," he said. "I want to play under that.") He wanted to talk to the coaches. He wanted a scholarship.

And this, the 40-yard dash, became his first opportunity to impress the coaches. He stared ahead, and his body twitched when his turn came. He felt fast those first few steps, pumping his arms and gliding across the indoor turf. In less time than it takes for some to roll out of bed in the morning, Ali Jr. already had crossed the finish line.


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Penn State's staff spoke to defensive tackle Antoine White (Millville, N.J./Millville) on Wednesday and asked if he could make the 250-mile drive to Happy Valley on Saturday. Despite the short notice and the fact he hadn't attended any other camps, White said he'd try.


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The evaluation period might have ended a few days ago, but that doesn't mean ESPN 150 DT Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) has been able to get a break from recruiting.

He missed a call Wednesday night from a reporter but called back a few minutes later. Turns out he was on the other line -- picking up an offer from N.C. State, his 25th.


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Justin Hilliard sees the ball and runs to it. Then he delivers a crushing blow.

That is the consensus on the 2015 Cincinnati St. Xavier linebacker who already holds 20 offers.


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The No. 2 player in the country is going to Michigan. The Wolverines coaches are elated five-star Paramus (N.J.) Catholic cornerback Jabrill Peppers is headed to Ann Arbor, but that means five other coaching staffs are going back to the recruiting board and moving on down the list.

So where do those five teams go from here?


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Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic), the No. 2 prospect in the country, has set his decision date.

The No. 1 defensive back will make his decision live on ESPNU on May 26. With almost every program in the country targeting the talented prospect, Peppers has narrowed his list down to LSU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers and Stanford.

He still plans on taking his visit to Penn State on May 18, and has already been out to Michigan, LSU and Ohio State. There might still be a surprise visit in store before the announcement as well. The five-star prospect has turned heads with his play on the field and will undoubtedly be a game changer for whichever school he picks.

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