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What I learned from this weekend

12/12/2011

Ohio State not holding anything back

On the first weekend following the end of the college football regular season, Ohio State arguably had its biggest Saturday of the year.

ESPNU 150 prospects Jordan Diamond, Tommy Schutt and Se’Von Pittman were all on campus, and it looks like Schutt and Pittman could be close to switching over to the Buckeyes. Diamond will wait until signing day but really enjoyed his visit.

Schutt is committed to Penn State and Pittman committed to Michigan State, so Urban Meyer would be making a major statement to a pair of Big Ten foes. On top of that, Wisconsin commit Kyle Dodson was also in town.

The Buckeyes had a number of their commitments come in as well to aid in the recruiting effort.

Four-star running back Bri’onte Dunn was in Columbus, too, and he has been wavering recently and many even considered a Michigan lean.

So far, no commitments have come from the weekend, but it was a big few days in Columbus nonetheless.

Spence a truly gifted athlete

The first time I saw Noah Spence play this year, the offense refused to run at him and did its best to avoid No. 9. As a result, Spence didn’t have a chance to make a lot of plays.

This weekend, when his team needed him most, Spence came up huge. He was around the football consistently in a second half that saw Bishop McDevitt allow just a single score after struggling in the first half.

On one play, Spence was able to stay with shifty back and Kent State commit Julian Durden. And on the game’s deciding play, Spence forced an errant throw that was picked off.

Illinois made a great hire

Illinois hired Tim Beckman to replace Ron Zook, and from a recruiting standpoint the hire was a strong one.

At Toledo, Beckman consistently had his classes near the top among other MAC schools. As colleague Scott Powers points out, he was even able to beat out Penn State for a recruit in the 2011 class.

What Beckman will bring is the ability to recruit Ohio, which is the most talent-rich state in the Midwest. Obviously he will have to lock down Illinois’ borders first, but being able to recruit out of Illinois will be key because Beckman won’t be able to build a program on Illinois recruits alone. Beckman was an assistant at Bowling Green and Ohio State, so he won’t have to introduce himself to the state’s high school coaches and players. The 2013 class in Ohio looks strong at this early juncture so Beckman has a chance to steal a couple of Ohio recruits in his first full recruiting class at Illinois.

Dieter gets first BCS offer

Record-breaking receiver Gehrig Dieter picked up his first BCS offer on Friday when Charlie Weis, hours after being named Kansas’ head coach, called the Dieter house to offer.

Dieter will take an official visit to Kansas sometime over the next two weeks as Dieter plans to announce in early January and enroll early.

It had been a frustrating recruiting season for Dieter, who wasn’t receiving much BCS interest despite setting a pair of national receiving records.