Penn State Nittany Lions: Andrew Dowell

Here are this week's top high school performances from Big Ten commits and targets.


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It is extremely rare when one football game can make a big impact during a rising high school star’s long recruiting process.

Saturday’s 43-40 quadruple-overtime win by Penn State over Michigan might be that exception.

While all of the 2015 commitments still have 16 months left before they can sign a national letter of intent, those in attendance said some big things days after witnessing the big win by the Nittany Lions.


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From commitments to big official visit weekends, it's been a busy week of recruiting in the Big Ten.

Conference recruiting writers Brad Bournival and Tom VanHaaren take a look back at the week that was and look ahead as teams build toward the future.

Boilermakers flip a commitment

Purdue picked up a pledge from safety Timothy Cason II (Clarkston, Mich./Clarkston) this week. Though unranked and a former Western Michigan commit, the Boilermakers were able to flip the switch on the 6-foot, 179-pound Cason and make him the ninth commitment of the 2014 class.


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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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Andrew Dowell (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) had the hit heard 'round Ohio during a camp this summer in Columbus.

David Dowell is the flashy wideout with offers that have landed him on the ESPN Junior 300.

No matter how fans look at it, the two brothers for St. Edward are the oars that row the boat for the Eagles.

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With any conference there will always be battles on the recruiting trail within the Big Ten. Coaching changes, different philosophies and geographic location all factor in to who battles who.

Here is a look at the top five Big Ten recruiting rivalries.

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From Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin grabbing a commit, to Penn State receiving great news on the recruiting front, to Ohio State playing host to some big-time official visitors this weekend, Big Ten storylines were everywhere this week.

Here’s a look at a busy time in this week’s Big Ten storylines:


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Tales From the Road: Penn State 

June, 5, 2013
6/05/13
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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Every Wednesday, as part of a RecruitingNation-wide series, NittanyNation will take a closer look at what's going on in the world of Penn State recruiting.


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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Before Andrew Dowell (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) and his twin brother David impressed the masses at the Columbus Nike Football Training Camp on Sunday, they snuck in a trip to Penn State to participate in the Nittany Lions’ one-day camp.

To say the trip was anything less spectacular to the brothers would be understating the importance.


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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden pulled one player aside several times during Saturday's advanced skills camp, gesturing and smiling while offering some tips.

That player, 2014 linebacker Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central), nodded along with Vanderlinden and appeared to take the instruction well -- especially for a recruit whose film mostly showcases him at tailback and defensive end.

"They wanted to see if I was comfortable playing at linebacker," Cabinda said. "Any mistakes I made for the most part were just mental mistakes, because of me not playing linebacker and not me physically being unable to do something. So that was a really good sign. They feel like I just need some coaching up, and I'll be fine."

The Nittany Lions have recruited Cabinda since his sophomore season, but teams' interest has especially picked up since April. His offer list increased from just one to more than a dozen, mostly from FCS schools. He now counts several FBS schools -- Boston College, UConn, UMass, Navy, Syracuse, Temple -- on that offer sheet.

The 6-foot-2, 221-pound athlete visited campus a few months ago, after junior day, to watch spring practice. And, although he doesn't yet hold a PSU offer, he thought he greatly improved his standing with the staff after his camp performance.

"They said they think very highly of me, and they definitely want me to come back," Cabinda said. "They said if they didn't think highly of me, then they wouldn't have asked me to come back. So I hope I'll be hearing from them soon.

"I've just always loved Penn State. I came here before, and I just love the campus. I visited the stadium; I was just laying down inside and taking it in. So, yeah, I really do like Penn State."

New offer out: 2015 CB Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter's Prep) stood out as the top athlete at PSU's camp and earned an offer from PSU before the afternoon's second session started up.

Bill O'Brien talked to Fitzpatrick's father on the field for several minutes during the morning session, and the elder Fitzpatrick said he enjoyed the chat. His son already boasts nine offers, and he'll undoubtedly be receiving more as he attends more camps and his film trickles out.

His father, also named Minkah, told NittanyNation his son will be stopping at several camps this summer and is only looking at schools in which he has considerable interest. PSU was Fizpatrick's first stop, but he also plans to see Alabama next month and has a South Carolina visit scheduled.

Fitzpatrick also wants to see Ohio State, Clemson and Michigan before his junior season begins.

Jesse James lookalike? One tight end who caught a lot of on-lookers' eyes was 2014 TE Alec Bloom (Ligonier, Pa./Ligonier), who stands at 6-foot-7 just like sophomore TE Jesse James.

Bloom, whose primary sport was basketball until this year, showed nice hands on several passes. He holds no offers but appears to be primary run-on material. This was his first-ever football camp, and the tight end felt the coaches noticed him Saturday.

And, of course, he was well-aware of those inevitable James comparisons.

"You ever hear of Jes--," someone asked.

"Jesse James," Bloom interrupted, laughing. "Yeah, I watched tape on him, and he's very good. He's a role model, so to speak."

On a lighter note ... : As soon O'Brien entered Holuba Hall, PSU's indoor practice facility, it was pretty easy to see just how starstruck some of the recruits were.

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