Zook firing could lead to more in-state commitments
With Illinois firing Ron Zook on Sunday, it’s likely the Illini will lose their foothold in the state of Florida when it comes to recruiting. But that could be a good thing.
Under Zook, Illinois hasn’t done a great job of keeping the best in-state players in the state of Illinois. In the Class of 2012, Jason Robertson is the Illini’s top player from the state of Illinois, and he is ranked 18th in the state.
Zook relied too heavily on recruiting out of state, especially in Florida. Zook obviously had a lot of success recruiting the area, but it proved too tough to build a sustained winner by trying to beat out Florida’s Big Three on an annual basis.
Illinois isn’t rich with high school talent every year, but the Fighting Illini has to be able to keep most of the top players from the state inside the borders and supplement that with out-of-state recruits. The new coach will have to make Illinois and the Midwest a priority once again.
Ohio State will be just fine
So the Buckeyes lost to Michigan for the first time since 2003 and didn’t finish with a winning record for the first time since 1999.
But things are looking up for Ohio State.
Looming NCAA sanctions aside, Buckeyes fans have a lot to smile about based on recent developments. Over the last week, Ohio State picked up a pair of four-star commitments. First, ESPNU 150 defensive end Adolphus Washington selected the Buckeyes. Then on Sunday, four-star receiver Ricquan Southward switched his verbal commitment from Miami (Fla.) to Ohio State.
Not to mention, Urban Meyer will be the next coach, and having talked with a number of Ohio State commits, all seem to be very excited about playing under the two-time national champion.
Dieter finishes career with two national records
South Bend (Ind.) Washington receiver Gehrig Dieter was the talk of the country earlier this season with his three-game start to the year. He opened the season with two straight 300-yard receiving games, and in the third he racked up 437 yards to set a national record.
Though Dieter’s season came to an end this past weekend with a loss in the state championship, the two-star receiver earned another national record. With 2,171 yards on 81 catches, Dieter posted an average of 26.8 yards per catch, which is a national record. He just missed the career national record with an average of 22.5; the record is 23.0.
He also finished with six state records: single-game and single-season (2,171) yardage, career yardage (4,326), single-season receiving touchdowns (25), career receiving touchdowns (49) and yardage in a Class 4A final (168).
Dieter is looking heavily at Southern Methodist as he waits for his first BCS offer.
Isaac one of Midwest’s top juniors
As colleague Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com wrote over the weekend, people will eventually forget the score and maybe even the winner of Illinois’ 5A championship, but none can ever forget the performance Joliet Catholic running back Ty Isaac put on in a losing effort.
Isaac ran for 515 yards on 26 carries and ran for six touchdowns, four of which came from at least 56 yards out.
Nebraska commit Jordan Westerkamp, who set two title game records and is the state’s all-time leader in career receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns, was thoroughly impressed with Isaac.
“The kid’s legit,” Westerkamp told Powers. “He’s an unbelievable athlete.”
Isaac already has nine scholarship offers, including ones from Michigan, Notre Dame and Wisconsin.
Cass Tech’s Division I talent bounces back from rough start
Coming into the season, Detroit Cass Tech looked pretty unbeatable. The top two players in the state of Michigan, Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins-Stone, play for Cass Tech and as few as eight Cass Tech players could sign Division I scholarships.
But the first week of the season, Cass Tech was humiliated by Harrison (Farmington Hills) by a score of 43-7. That turned to be the turning point of the season, even if it came in Week 1. Cass Tech would lose two more games, but none hurt more than the season-opening loss.
Cass Tech regrouped, however, and earned its first state title this weekend.
For all the senior and junior talent Cass Tech has, too, it was freshman quarterback Jayru Campbell who led Cass Tech to the title.