Thursday, September 19, 2013
Big Ten recruiting storylines: Sept. 19
By Brad Bournival and Tom VanHaaren
Just a few days after stubbing its toe on the field, the Big Ten conference will try to right the ship in the recruiting world.
ESPN Junior 300 running back Larry Scott will make an unofficial visit to the Horseshoe this weekend.
From official visits to commitments, here’s a look at a few programs that highlight a busy time in this week’s Big Ten storylines.
The fact Ohio State opened as 57-point favorites against Florida A&M didn’t scare off some big unofficial visitors, as ESPN Junior 300 running back Larry Scott -- L.J. for short -- out of Hubbard (Ohio) High School will lead a group of three big names with unofficial visits to the Horseshoe.
Freshman quarterback sensation Danny Clark (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) is also slated to attend along with three-star offensive tackle Rob Dowdy (Westerville, Ohio/Westerville South).
In other news, the Buckeyes extended an offer to junior wide receiver Van Jefferson (Brentwood, Tenn./Ravenwood). Jefferson already counts offers from Middle Tennessee, Penn State, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
ESPN 300 tight end Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirida) has also scheduled a visit. The 6-foot-3, 243-pound senior will be heading to Columbus on an official visit next weekend for Ohio State’s game against Wisconsin.
The Wildcats host ESPN 300 linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) this weekend on an official visit. This is a big opportunity for Northwestern as it is in his top group.
Lee says that Northwestern, Oregon, Cal, Louisville, Virginia Tech and now Penn State are all in the mix.
He has been out to Cal already and will visit Northwestern this weekend and Virginia Tech on Oct. 26. There is a possibility he sets up another trip for Sept. 27 as well.
For this coming visit, Lee says he is just hoping to see what Northwestern has to offer and how he might fit in.
“I’m looking forward to getting a good feel for the school itself. The staff and the players mainly” he said. “I want to see how I fit in with the players. I know it will be a great weekend, though.”
The Badgers picked up commitment No. 13 in the 2014 recruiting class as wide receiver Chris Jones (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha Catholic) joined his teammate and running back Taiwan Deal as part of the Badgers' group of pledges.
The 6-2, 188-pound Jones had it down to Boston College, Cincinnati, Maryland, Nebraska, Toledo, Wake Forest and Wisconsin, but it was really a race between the Terrapins and Badgers.
“He’ll bring a winning attitude and the ability to stretch the field,” DeMatha coach Elijah Brooks said. “With a new coach, he’ll be a good fit for them.”
Jones is the first wide receiver taken by Wisconsin in this class, and his height and ability to get open will make him a good target at the next level.
As a junior, the three-star wideout registered 45 catches for 800 yards and seven touchdowns.
Four of the Cornhuskers’ commitments had no idea anything even happened, and a few thought it would be resolved by the time they got there.
Unless any action actually takes place, it isn’t likely to affect the commitments in any way.
This happened two years ago, so they understand that it wasn’t recently and that action won’t be taken for now. Besides, there are some positives that Pelini and his staff have with this class.
They are honoring the scholarship of quarterback commit Zack Darlington (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) after sustaining his second concussion in August.
Darlington has been told that he will have a scholarship even if he doesn’t play a down of football for Nebraska. While it’s not certain he will play, Darlington believes he will and is still planning on enrolling early in January.
There’s a pretty big group of official visitors throughout the Big Ten this weekend. Indiana will host quarterback commit Alexander Diamont (Los Angeles/Venice) along with safety Tony Fields (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby), cornerback Craig James (Edwardsville, Ill./Edwardsville), wide receiver Coray Keel (Snellville, Ga./South Gwinnett), inside linebacker Greg Miclisse (Palm Bay, Fla./Bayside) and wide receiver Kenric Young (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville).
Iowa will usher in athlete Marcel Joly (Forestville, Md./Forestville) for an official visit when it takes on Western Michigan.
Ragnow narrows list
Offensive tackle Frank Ragnow (Victoria, Minn./Chanhassen) has plenty of offers to choose from, but he has trimmed his list down to seven potential suitors.
Minnesota, Florida State, Cal, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Missouri all make the list for the three-star lineman.
The Gophers need to keep this in-state prospect home, but it might be difficult to do so. Arkansas and Florida State seem to have come on strong, but there is plenty of time left to convince him to stay home.