Print and Go Back ESPN.com: On The Trail: Midwest Region [Print without images]

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Big Ten recruiting storylines: Sept. 12

By Brad Bournival and Tom VanHaaren

From official visits past and future to a commitment, the Big Ten was buzzing with headlines this week.

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

Boiler Up

Purdue’s game against Notre Dame could be very important for a couple of commits with wandering eyes, as outside linebacker Drue Tranquill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) and offensive tackle Denzel Ward (Chicago/Simeon Career Academy) will be in town for the game.

In fact, seven of the eight pledges in Purdue's 2014 class plan on seeing the nationally televised contest, with only wide receiver Gregory Phillips (Lithonia, Ga./Arabia Mountain) not coming up. Wide receiver Trae Hart (Dallas/First Baptist) and quarterback David Blough (Carrollton, Texas/Creekview) will be on official visits, while tight end and Kentucky commit Darryl Long (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South) is expected to make an unofficial visit.

Goulbourne highly wanted

Wide receiver Kadeem Goulbourne (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay) has offers from across the country. At 6-foot-3, 186 pounds, he hasn’t yet officially narrowed anything down, but he does have some visits in mind.

“Right now I’m going to take visits to Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Boston College and maybe Oklahoma,” he said. “I might be visiting an SEC school, too. It will either be Arkansas, Ole Miss or Tennessee.”

Goulbourne plans on taking his visits and then making a decision either in late November or December.

As you can see by his list, distance won’t matter to the Florida resident, and judging by his list there is a chance he ends up in the Big Ten.

Goulbourne says he will be looking for very specific things on his visits, but won’t know who leads until the trips are over.

“The only things that matter to me are the opportunity and chance to play, the coaching stability,” he said. “When I do attend the visits, I want to talk to the players, too. Not the seniors, but the guys that just got there and see what they think now that they’re there.”

Jet City Buckeyes

When Ohio State picked up a commitment from four-star athlete Noah Brown (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII), fans could almost hear a collective groan rise up from secondary coaches around the Big Ten. With Brown in the fold, the Buckeyes now have 10 offensive weapons in the last two classes that run a 4.5 or faster at either wide receiver or in the slot.

The other nine are 2014 standouts Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary), Lonnie Johnson (Gary, Ind./West Side), Malik Hooker (New Castle, Pa./New Castle), Terry McLaurin (Indianapolis/Cathedral), Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus) and current freshmen James Clark (New Smyrna Beach/New Smyrna Beach), Dontre Wilson (Desoto, Texas/DeSoto), Jalin Marshall (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) and Corey Smith (Akron, Ohio/East Mississippi Community College).

Miami (Fla.) commit visiting Nebraska

The Cornhuskers will get the opportunity to host Miami running back commit Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield) this weekend on an official visit.

Powell has had an interesting recruitment already, as he once was committed to Tennessee, then decommitted and is currently with the Hurricanes.

The ESPN 300 athlete will get to take in a good game, as Nebraska takes on UCLA at home. If the Cornhuskers put on a good show it might help in their pursuit of Powell.

Nicholson getting closer

Montae Nicholson (Monroeville, Pa./Gateway) took a visit to Michigan State last weekend and came away very impressed.

“As of now they’re sitting pretty good,” he said. “I guess you could say they are in my top group.”

Nicholson had trimmed his list but says he now just plans on taking his official visits and then making a decision. He says he only has two more officials in mind.

He will visit Oregon, Pitt, Florida State and potentially one more after that. Nicholson plans on making his decision shortly after those visits.

It will be interesting to see if the Spartans did enough this late in the process to be in the picture.

Positive reactions for Michigan

All of the reactions out of Michigan’s previous weekend have been positive. That was to be expected, of course, but the game against Notre Dame really has prospects buzzing.

Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) commented on the visit and said Michigan did a great job, and he also mentioned that 2015 defensive lineman Tim Settle (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson) also thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Michigan hasn’t offered Settle yet, but if the Wolverines decide to extend an offer, there is a good chance Michigan will be on his short list.

The visit did a lot for Settle and gave him an excellent look at what Michigan has to offer. Before anything gets too serious, though, Michigan will need to offer the ESPN Junior 300 prospect.

What’s next for Penn State?

After missing out on three-star running back Qadree Ollison (Buffalo, N.Y./Canisius), the question becomes what do the Nittany Lions do at running back? The answer is nothing. Ollison wouldn’t have been an added bonus to an already strong class, with Nick Scott (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) and Mark Allen (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic) in the backfield.

Expect Penn State to concentrate on a linebacker, defensive tackle and possibly two defensive backs, as this class is almost closed. With Nicholson and Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa) seemingly on the outside looking in for the Nittany Lions, it’ll be interesting to see who winds up in the secondary out of the class. Ricky Walker (Hampton, Va./Bethel) and Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) remain in play at defensive tackle.

On a positive note, ESPN Junior 300 outside linebacker Justin Hilliard (Cincinnati/St. Xavier) and rising 2015 quarterback Alex Malzone (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Brother Rice) are scheduled to take unofficial visits to Happy Valley this weekend when the Nittany Lions take on UCF.