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What I learned this weekend

11/21/2011

Ohio State has to like its odds with Odenigbo

One of the hardest players to read in the Midwest is ESPNU 150 defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo.

It seems pretty clear he is still wide open at this point and truly doesn’t have a favorite.

He named a top five before the season, but UCLA and USC have now entered the picture.

His official visit to Notre Dame on Oct. 22 was his first college football game. Ever.

So it’s hard to figure out what Odenigbo’s unofficial visit to Ohio State over the weekend means. At the very least, it should give the Buckeyes staff some confidence about where it stands with Odenigbo, a southwest Ohio resident who lives just outside Dayton in Centerville.

It was Odenigbo’s first game at Ohio State, and he was more than impressed by the atmosphere, which he said matched the one he saw at Notre Dame. Furthermore, Odenigbo said Sunday that Ohio State is still in the running for one of his final two official visits, which is somewhat telling considering the three other schools vying for those spots are all thousands of miles away in Cal, UCLA and USC.

Odenigbo, No. 50 in the ESPNU 150, isn’t giving any indication as to where he is leaning, but it’s also possible if he doesn’t feel 100 percent sold on any school, he could choose the hometown team, where his former teammate Michael Bennett plays. Also, Centerville has been a pipeline for Ohio State historically.

Stanford sticking with announcement date

Four-star Cincinnati Taft receiver Dwayne Stanford II made his final official visit this weekend, and is sticking with his Tuesday announcement date.

Stanford visited Oregon, which is in his final three along with Cincinnati and Ohio State. Stanford visited those two in October.

Stanford has said all along Oregon has a legitimate shot and that he isn’t an Ohio State lean like many believe him to be. Stanford said he likes that Oregon could use a big receiver and that he could play early.

There are two ways to look at this. First, things may have looked better for Oregon if Stanford decided to push back his announcement date. Stanford didn’t get back to Ohio until late Sunday, which gives him just about 24 hours to reflect on the visit. Would he be willing to pick Oregon after only seeing it for the first time just a day and a half ago when he’s seen Ohio State and Cincinnati multiple times?

On the other hand, if Oregon blew Stanford away, that visit is still fresh in his mind and maybe the shine of that trip will not have worn off by then.

Dunn to Michigan talk continues to heat up

Four-star Canton (Ohio) GlenOak running back Bri’onte Dunn has maintained his commitment to Ohio State the last several months despite admitting he is openly looking around. If Dunn doesn’t sign with Ohio State, it will almost certainly be to sign with Michigan.

WolverineNation recruiting reporter Tom VanHaaren is reporting Dunn not only visited for this past weekend’s Nebraska game, but he is planning to come back for Michigan’s game against Ohio State.

Now, it makes sense for Dunn to check out that game. He can see his top two on the field at the same time.

However, Michigan is dying for a win over Ohio State, and this is the Wolverines’ best chance in a long time. This could be the loudest Michigan Stadium has been for a game against Ohio State in a while, and that atmosphere could make a big impression on Dunn. It obviously won’t be the deciding factor, but it also clearly can’t hurt.

In the end, it will come down to the sanctions the NCAA hands Ohio State, and the longer that draws out, the longer Michigan stays at the forefront of Dunn’s mind.

Heinz Field to host top Pennsylvania recruits

Eight of Western Pennsylvania’s best teams will spend Saturday at Heinz Field for the four WPIAL championship games. Not only will the area’s top teams be on showcase, so will its top talent.

Pittsburgh commit Trenton Coles and 2013 prospects Tyler Boyd and Titus Howard of Clairton will square off with Sto-Rox’s deep and talented senior class. Four-star linebacker Deaysean Rippy and teammates Marzett Geter and Dontez Ford are all Division I prospects.

Montour boasts Kent State commit Julian Durden and top 2013 prospects Devin Wilson and Matt Barrone.

Four-star safety Demetrious Cox plays for Jeannette, where he also plays quarterback.

Patrick Kugler, who could be the state’s top player in 2013, plays for North Allegheny, which will square off against Upper St. Clair. The Panthers have three Division I prospects in Northwestern commits Ian Park and Jack Schwaba and Pitt commit Dakota Conwell.

Kiel can now focus on future

ESPNU 150 quarterback Gunner Kiel made waves last month when he announced he was re-evaluating his commitment to Indiana and was opening up his recruitment.

He hasn’t said much publicly since, but at this point it looks like Indiana is no longer an option for Kiel, whose brother, Dusty, is a Hoosiers quarterback.

On Friday, Kiel’s Columbus (Ind.) East team was knocked out of the playoffs in a state semifinal. With Columbus East’s exit, Kiel, No. 20 in the ESPNU 150, will be able to put his full attention on recruiting.

At this point, it appears Notre Dame leads for the nation’s No. 2 signal-caller.