Penn State Nittany Lions: Jashon Cornell

Getting to know Jashon Cornell 

April, 18, 2014
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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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The Big Ten's 11-season national championship drought, coinciding with the SEC's ascent to the top of college football, has placed the spotlight on recruiting in both leagues.

[+] EnlargeMeyer
espnWHas Urban Meyer's SEC roots helped him on the Big Ten recruiting trail?
SEC fans point to crystal footballs, surging population and dominance in the national recruiting rankings. Big Ten fans counter with criticisms of SEC oversigning, low academic standards and shady recruiting tactics.

And then we have Urban Meyer and James Franklin.

The two coaches serve as links between the leagues, as both came to the Big Ten from SEC programs. Both coaches also have brought different recruiting approaches to the Big Ten that many label as "SEC-style." Both coaches also have been very successful on the trail early in their Big Ten tenures.

Fans can quarrel all offseason about the recruiting differences between the leagues. But what do top recruits think?

Colleague Tom VanHaaren decided to find out, interviewing several prospects about the Big Ten and the SEC. It's a fascinating Insider piece that you should definitely check out.

I won't give too much away, but the comments by top defensive end recruit Jashon Cornell are particularly interesting. He attributes Franklin's and Meyer's recruiting success directly to their SEC roots.
"The Big Ten needs to recruit harder. They need to really go after the recruits they really need," Cornell said. "They have to hassle you a little bit, on you every single day. That makes recruits think the coaches really want me and I could go there because the coaches want me so bad. That's what the SEC does."
Cornell is from Big Ten country (St. Paul, Minn.) and has multiple scholarship offers from both Big Ten and SEC programs.

There's no doubt Big Ten coaching staffs devote time to recruiting. But are they working hard enough? Are they making the right sales pitch to bring in top players? Do head coaches have the right type of assistants to get it done on the trail?

Check out VanHaaren's piece and send me your thoughts.
videoUrban Meyer has come away with the Big Ten’s top-ranked recruiting class every year since he was hired at Ohio State. His aggressive style and history of winning have helped put the Buckeyes in a category of their own when it comes to recruiting.

A big part of that, according to a few top-ranked recruits, is because Meyer brought an SEC mentality to the Big Ten. Being relentless, aggressive and surrounding himself with similar coaches has helped bring top talent to Columbus year after year.


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ESPN 300: Top Big Ten targets 

April, 16, 2014
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The top-ranked prospects tend to wait out the process, so there are still some huge names at the top of Big Ten recruiting boards. The top targets will be fought over by most teams within the conference, which will make for some interesting recruiting battles.

Here is a look at the top five targets within the Big Ten in the 2015 ESPN 300.

DE Jashon Cornell
6-4, 270 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: No. 16



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Top 2015 targets: Big Ten 

February, 6, 2014
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Now that the 2014 class is wrapped up, it's time to shift our attention to 2015 prospects. Big Ten programs have had plenty of success already with the rising seniors, but there are some major targets a lot of teams will battle for within the conference.

Here is a look at the top five targets within the Big Ten.


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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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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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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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From commitments to official visits to offers tendered, the Big Ten is never at a loss for headlines.

Here’s a look at the latest from an always busy conference:

Bill O’Brien serving pancakes

Urban Meyer has been known as the master in flipping committed prospects in his time at Ohio State and rightfully so with more than a dozen pledged targets becoming Buckeyes. O’Brien is catching up after flipping Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) from Syracuse to Penn State on Wednesday.

Cabinda marks the sixth pledge to change stripes and join the Nittany Lions since O’Brien took over the reins in Happy Valley.

He’s raided Maryland three times in landing running backs Richy Anderson and Johnathan Thomas as well as offensive guard Tanner Hartman. O’Brien has also plucked quarterback Steven Bench from Rice and landed defensive tackle Parker Cothren from Purdue.

Buckeye leafs

Ohio State’s biggest target is headed to Columbus this weekend for the game against Penn State as the top-ranked linebacker in the nation regardless of position comes to town on an official visit in Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County).

McMillan isn’t the only one slated to take an official visit as East Mississippi Community College teammates Avery Gennesy at offensive tackle and A.J. Stamps at safety are coming along. ESPN 300 wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) will be on an official visit, too as will commit and defensive end Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor).

By the way, Gennesy and Stamps went to the same community college current Ohio State junior and 2013 signee Corey Smith went to.

ESPN Junior 300 standouts Jauan Jennings (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Blackman), Lorenzo Nunez (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison), Brandon Wimbush (Jersey City/N.J./St. Peter’s Prep), Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City N.J./St. Peter’s Prep), Jacques Patrick (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek), Anthony McKee (Columbus/Walnut Ridge), Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson), Larry Scott (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) and Kelly Bryant (Piedmont, S.C./Wren) have all said they are coming.

As always, the list is fluid and could change at any time. There are a good collection of commits coming to the game as well.

Lee getting close

ESPN 300 linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) cut his list down to Cal, Louisville, Missouri and Virginia Tech on Wednesday night. He will be announcing his decision on Nov. 8, and has already taken an official visit out to Cal and will be out to see Virginia Tech this weekend.

The No. 242 ranked prospect had Northwestern and Penn State in his top list, so those two schools are now obviously out of the running.

It’s still a bit of a mystery as to where he will end up, since Lee has kept everything close to the vest. He is keeping everyone in suspense and taking it down to the wire right up to his announcement date.

London has a top five and a timeline

Running back Madre London (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) is a highly coveted senior among Big Ten teams. With limited options remaining, plenty of teams are hoping to land the three-star back.

On Wednesday, London tweeted that his top five is Nebraska, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Pitt and that he will be making his final decision in two weeks.

The Spartans might have the edge here, but it could go either way since he has taken a few visits recently to various programs.

At 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, he would be a great fit for most programs, so landing this Florida athlete will be a big deal for whichever program gets his commitment.

Michigan coaches on the road


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It was a big weekend for Big Ten recruiting. Tom VanHaaren and Brad Bournival recap the most important happenings around the conference:

Biggest commitment

Tom VanHaaren: Offensive lineman Nick Padla pledged to Michigan State over the weekend. That was a big deal for a few reasons, one of which was obvious on the field. Michigan State’s offense has struggled and the coaching staff needs help along the offensive line. Padla is the third offensive line commit in this class, so adding depth was key. Padla also has a 2014 teammate, defensive end Jhonny Williams, who has been hearing from Michigan State recently. If the coaches decide to offer Williams, then Padla’s commitment could help landing his teammate as well.

Brad Bournival: Wisconsin’s drought without a commitment ended two months to the day when defensive end Rohan Blackwood (Brooksville, Fla./Nature Coast Technical) gave his pledge to the Badgers after taking an official visit to Madison over the weekend. The three-star senior hinted that he could commit soon when he tweeted he might have found a new home prior to leaving for Florida. It became reality late Sunday evening when he made it official. Blackwood becomes the 12th commitment of the 2014 class for Wisconsin and proves the Badgers are serious about bolstering the defensive line as tackles Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie), Billy Hirschfield (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead) and Conor Sheehy (Milwaukee/Marquette University) preceded Blackwood with commitments in the 2014 class.

Biggest offer

VanHaaren: Ole Miss offered 2015 wide receiver Miles Boykin (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic) over the weekend. The rising prospect also holds offers from Illinois, Michigan State, Toledo and Western Michigan. At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, Boykin is sure to see his offer list continue to grow.

Bournival: Ohio State is hitting the recruiting trail hard and making sure it isn’t missing the quarterback position in 2015. The Buckeyes offered yet another signal-caller. This one coming in is Kai Locksley (Baltimore/Gilman), who is listed as a wide receiver by ESPN. Locksley also picked up an offer from the Badgers.

ESPN Junior 300 stars Lorenzo Nunez (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison), De’Andre Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas/Allen) and Torrance Gibson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./American Heritage) also have offers from the Buckeyes.

Wisconsin already has a commitment at quarterback in 2015 from dual-threat and ESPN Junior 300 standout Austin Kafentzis (Sandy, Utah/Jordan).

Boykin's offer is big because both Illinois and Michigan State are in need of receivers, even if he is a 2015 prospect. Ole Miss has done well with Illinois prospects recently, including No. 1 receiver Laquon Treadwell in 2013. It will be important for Big Ten schools to keep him home and out of the SEC.

Biggest performance

VanHaaren: I should just leave Michigan 2015 running back commit Damien Harris’ (Bethea, Ky./Madison Southern) name here because he keeps tearing it up on the field. Harris carried the ball 31 times and ran for 315 yards with three touchdowns. He has 802 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns after three games.

Bournival: Wisconsin pledge Ula Tolutau put himself in some rare air when the Salt Lake City East running back rushed for 338 yards on 16 carries and scored four touchdowns in a 59-36 win over Sandy (Utah) Jordan. According to his coach, Brandon Matich, it’s the sixth-best performance in Utah history. Not to be terribly outdone, Purdue commit Drue Tranquill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) is usually known for his defense, but he rushed for 200 yards and five touchdowns on eight carries in a 70-15 win over Ossian (Ind.) Norwell.

Most important visit

VanHaaren: There were plenty of big visitors at other programs, including Josh Kalu (Houston/Alief) at Nebraska, Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) at Michigan State and a few others.

However, only three programs will get the chance to host No. 4 ranked Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) and Michigan had that chance this past weekend. The atmosphere was electric and there probably wouldn’t have been a better weekend to have Hand on campus. I believe it will be very difficult to beat Michigan.

Here are a few pictures from prospects that took a visit to Ann Arbor:

Bournival: Was Noah Brown’s trip to Ohio State enough for the Buckeyes? The four-star athlete out of Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII took an official visit to Columbus over the weekend and seemed to enjoy himself. He talked about how exciting the Buckeyes’ skull session was before the game and tweeted about having dinner with Urban Meyer, adding that he was having a great time on his visit. With Rutgers as the perceived favorite and the Buckeyes coming on strong in the end, Ohio State did all it could to land Brown, who said he plans to make his decision this week.

Biggest question

VanHaaren: How well will Northwestern finish the season and what impact could that have on recruiting? The Wildcats are off to an impressive start to the season, beating Cal and Syracuse by a combined 35 points. Western Michigan and Maine are next up, and then Northwestern faces Ohio State in Evanston. If the Wildcats and Buckeyes are undefeated heading into that game, there will be a ton of implications on the line.

Bournival: Was Danny Clark (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) serious about what he said regarding the Buckeyes? The freshman phenom quarterback said if Ohio State offers, his recruiting process is over. His father, Jeff Clark, says it’s true. The Buckeyes are very high on the 6-foot-3, 205-pound prospect out of Massillon, who made his first career start last week in a 23-20 triple-overtime win over Canton GlenOak.

Biggest answer

Bournival: That comes today when running back Qadree Ollison (Buffalo, N.Y./Canisius) makes his announcement at 3:15 p.m. The three-star Ollison wanted to take a visit to Penn State over the weekend, but scheduling conflicts kept him from Happy Valley. Ollison, who is down to Pittsburgh and the Nittany Lions, did get a visit from wide receivers coach Stan Hixon at his game Friday. Penn State is believed to be the favorite, although Pitt hosted him on an official visit in Week 1. Ollison rushed for a school-record 1,876 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior.

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Big Ten recruiting storylines: Sept. 5 

September, 5, 2013
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This is a huge weekend in the Big Ten recruiting world with some very high-profile visitors invading college campuses around the conference.

Here’s a look at a few programs that will highlight a busy week in this week’s Big Ten storylines.


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The opening weekend of college football and the beginning of a fall evaluation period means there is plenty to talk about in recruiting. Here is a look at what happened this weekend in Big Ten recruiting:


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Big Ten recruiting mailbag

August, 30, 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.

@Blue_gC_Blood: How close in size are Michigan commit Shaun Crawford and Ohio State pledge Eric Glover-Williams? I heard they are pretty much a carbon copy of each other, true?

Brad Bournival: Having seen both individuals multiple times in pads, that is a very fair assessment. Crawford (Lakewood, Ohio/Saint Edward) is 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds and EGW is 5-10, 170 pounds. But it goes well beyond that as both are very athletic kids who aren’t afraid to mix it up at times. Speed, obviously, is their biggest common denominator. It would be great to see Glover-Williams play the slot or split out wide to see just how close in game they actually are, but unfortunately for Canton (Ohio) McKinley, the Bulldogs put their junior star behind center because he is the best athlete on the field. That said Crawford is the better defender, though it should be noted Glover-Williams is better offensively. Seeing the two in camps, however, their game really is almost the same.




@joshuas430: Do you think the recruiting success for Rutgers has been more with the move to the Big Ten or their new head coach?

Tom VanHaaren: That’s a good question. I think there is some cache for recruits to play for Rutgers now that they are a part of the Big Ten. But if you look at their top prospects, they are all guys from New Jersey.

In the 2014 class, Rutgers has four ESPN 300 commitments and they are all from New Jersey. Rutgers has always done well with local prospects and that hasn’t changed with this class.

From 2011 to 2013, Rutgers actually signed 10 prospects ranked as four-stars from New Jersey and New York. That is a key for the Scarlet Knights’ success in recruiting, and it’s continued in 2014.

It’s interesting to look at the Big Ten aspect of this, because if Rutgers was already in the conference, it would have the No. 3 ranked class in the Big Ten.




@GRSportsBlog: What is your opinion of Montae Nicholson being able to play a hybrid safety/outside linebacker at the next level and the fact Penn State is trying to recruit guys to be versatile in its defensive packages?

Bournival: Penn State has never brought that up to Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) as it wants him to play safety and not linebacker, as the Nittany Lions will take a linebacker in this class. However, with the NCAA sanctions, the limited number of 65 scholarships really does alter how Penn State approaches the type of players they pursue. The Nittany Lions don’t have the luxury to miss on a player, so you’ll see more athletic players who can play multiple roles on the team. For example, if it can grab a player who helps in the offense and special teams, Penn State won’t hesitate.

The other reason the Nittany Lions need to have fast, athletic type players is to be able to matchup in an ever-changing Big Ten Conference that isn’t all ground and pound anymore.




@dydd911: Do you think we will see any commits from visitors at the Under the Lights game?

VanHaaren: Michigan’s night game against Notre Dame in Week 2 is going to be one of the bigger recruiting events of the season. The Wolverines really only have three big home games, so it’s also an important event in general.

The last time these two teams faced off at night at Michigan Stadium, safety Dymonte Thomas ended up committing right after the game.

This answer all depends on who ends up making it in for the game, but as of now it doesn’t look like there will be that type of situation. It looks like this game will be something that sets the tone for a prospect and could eventually lead to a commitment down the road.

Some of the bigger names that are visiting include 2014 defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) and the No. 1 ranked player in the 2015 class Jashon Cornell (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall).

Hand has his announcement date set for Nov. 14 and still has official visits to Florida and then Alabama, so he doesn’t seem likely. Cornell, while he does have Michigan very high on his list, still plans on waiting to make a decision.

Since Michigan’s 2014 class is nearly full there will be a lot more underclassmen than seniors. That’s not a bad thing, especially if the environment is anything like it was two seasons ago in the first night game.




@buckeyefan686: It seems like Urban Meyer went hard after defensive backs and wide receivers in 2013 and linebackers/offensive tackles in 2014. What position groups do you see being the focus in 2015?

Bournival: First and foremost, I think Meyer looks at the quarterback position more than any other. With Braxton Miller possibly gone after this season and Kenny Guiton definitely, gone he’ll need to bolster that position and give it some depth. There could be no one with any meaningful in-game experience coming back in 2014 and he’ll need to address that in 2015.

With four defensive linemen gone after the 2014 season, don’t be surprised if he dips into the trenches yet again.




Mark, Chicago, Ill.: Do you see Northwestern landing any of the remaining big targets they have left in 2014?

VanHaaren: Short answer, yes. The bigger targets left on the board are all ESPN 300 prospects. Linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central), defensive back Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) and tight end Garrett Dickerson (Oradell, N.J./Bergen Catholic).

Lee is visiting Cal this weekend when they take on Northwestern and will likely then take an official out to see the Wildcats at home.

I do think there is a good chance that at least one of these prospects chooses Northwestern. The question is how many? That is yet to be seen.

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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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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Craig Haubert discusses recent additions to the Nittany Lions' 2015 class and first-year coach James Franklin's success on the recruiting trail.Tags: Adam McLean, Ryan Bates, Penn State Nittany Lions, James Franklin
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