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Thursday, September 26, 2013
Big Ten recruiting storylines: Sept. 26

By Brad Bournival and Tom VanHaaren


From Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin grabbing a commit, to Penn State receiving great news on the recruiting front, to Ohio State playing host to some big-time official visitors this weekend, Big Ten storylines were everywhere this week.

Here’s a look at a busy time in this week’s Big Ten storylines:

Bye week travels

Quite a few Big Ten teams are on a bye week, which means there is time to squeeze in some recruiting. Here is a look at a few stops that were made:

Michigan made its way to Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville to see 2014 Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith, Northville (Mich.) to see offensive lineman David Moorman, Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic to see ESPN Junior 300 linebacker Chris Green and will be at Cincinnati St. Xavier on Friday for several prospects.

Northwestern saw 2015 wide receiver Cameron Green, ESPN Junior 300 offensive lineman Richie Petitbon, 2015 athlete Kai Locksley and ESPN Jr. 300 wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown.

Michigan State saw 2014 offensive lineman Lukayus McNeil, 2014 running back Chris James, Iowa State commit Jauan Wesley, ESPN Junior 300 offensive lineman Brandon Tiassum and will see ESPN Junior 300 defensive lineman Simeon Lane on Friday.

Hawkeye proud

Athlete Marcel Joly (Forestville, Md./Forestville) committed to Iowa just one day after an official visit. For the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Joly, the choice was easy.

“It was the coaches,” he said. “They showed me a lot of love. They want me on the team. They care about me as a person, not just a player. I just want to get my job done and help the team go a long way.”

Joly is the 14th pledge in the 2014 class for the Hawkeyes and joins Omar Truitt (Washington D.C./St. John’s College), Josh Jackson (Corinth, Texas/Lake Dallas) and Jyaz Jones (Dallas, Texas/South Oak Cliff) as members of the secondary in this recruiting cycle.

Kicker makes the call at Michigan State

The Spartans added an Under Armour All-American to its 2014 class in kicker Jake Hartbarger (Whitehouse, Ohio/Anthony Wayne).

The three-star kicker chose Michigan State over offers from Iowa State, Miami (Ohio), Oklahoma and Toledo.

Lee adding intrigue

ESPN 300 linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) raised eyebrows when he canceled his visit to Northwestern. He instead took an unofficial visit to Louisville and is yet to reschedule the visit to Northwestern.

Lee recently said he might schedule a trip to Penn State, a recent addition to his top list, on Oct. 12 for the Michigan game. He will try to visit Oregon and will head to Virginia Tech on Oct. 26.

Once that visit is done he will announce his decision on his birthday -- Nov. 8.

Illinois working on 2015

With the 2014 class almost wrapped up, Illini coaches are turning to the 2015 class. A few offers were extended this week and more are sure to go out.

Athlete David Dowell (Lakewood, Ohio/St. Edward) and linebacker Jahvoni Simmons (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) both received offers from Illinois.

Simmons is the 15th-ranked prospect in the 2015 class and is starting to rack up quite the offer list.

Dowell is ranked No. 131 overall and should start to see his offer sheet grow in the near future.

More Nittany Lions

While we couldn’t use every quote from Penn State pledges and recruits in Tuesday’s reaction story to the NCAA handing lightening scholarship restrictions, there were some solid statements.

“It’s great for all of us who are or are going to be a part of Penn State football,” 2014 commit Troy Reeder said. “This will definitely help Penn State become an even more desirable destination for recruits.”

Will Dowell, the father of David Dowell and running back Andrew Dowell, offered this as his junior twins start getting into the heart of the recruiting process.

“Any time a university can increase their available scholarships by 20 percent, it will definitely help the football program,” he said. “This will give Penn State more of an opportunity to maintain its status and enhances its ability to compete for premium scholarship talent.

“By expediting its return to a full complement of 85 scholarships, the football future is brighter. The Valley is not as low.”

Reservations waiting

Ohio State will have a slew of recruits on hand for its game against Wisconsin on Saturday.

Right now, ESPN 300 wide receivers Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer), Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman), athlete John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Polytechnic) and pledge and offensive guard Demetrius Knox (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) are expected to take official visits. Three-star tight ends Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) and DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, Kan./Derby) will be taking official visits as well and three-star safety Shawn Boone (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) might be there.

David Dowell will join his brother and running back Andrew on unofficial visits. ESPN junior 300 athlete Brian Cole (Saginaw, Mich./Heritage), offensive tackle Drew Richmond (Memphis, Tenn./Memphis University), outside linebacker Justin Hilliard (Cincinnati/St. Xavier), offensive tackle Matt Burrell Jr. (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor) and running back Mike Weber (Detroit/Cass Tech) will take unofficial trips as well.

Wisconsin winner

Three-star safety Lubern Figaro (Everett, Mass/Everett) became the 14th member of Wisconsin’s 2014 class late Wednesday night. The fact it came a few days after his official visit wasn’t coincidence.

“I felt like I was home,” Figaro said. “The vibe there was good, the crowd, the players, the coaches, they just treat me good over there. I saw how the atmosphere was and they’re always a top 25 team in the country, so you can’t go wrong with that.”

The 6-1, 180-pound Figaro joins Austin Hudson (Tampa Bay, Fla./Plan) in the secondary in this class.

“I have to a chance to play early if I go hard in the gym,” Figaro said. “I’m fast off the edge and aggressive. It’s exciting.”