NCF On The Trail: Michigan Wolverines

The Ultimate ESPN 300 list is loaded with intriguing stories. From unheralded players rising to the top to players not yet reaching their potential, the list has everything. To outline a few of those intriguing players, here is a look at the top five within the Big Ten:

Quarterback Kyler Murray grabbed all of the headlines at Allen (Texas) High School over the past few seasons, but it’s actually junior offensive tackle Greg Little who is a higher-ranked prospect.

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Michigan’s late start on the recruiting trail left the Wolverines in more down-to-the-wire recruiting battles than any team in the Big Ten this February.

Five of the 14 prospects in the class waited until this week to announce that they would be headed to Ann Arbor. Nine players who made their announcements Wednesday had Michigan among their final choices. Four of them selected the Wolverines, four went another direction and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith remains undecided after initially declaring he would play for UCLA. Here’s a breakdown of where Harbaugh & Co. hit or missed during a drama-filled signing day.


Keith Washington, DB -- Prattville High School, Alabama

Washington played quarterback at Prattville, but is expected to play cornerback (where he has some high school experience) when he arrives at Michigan. The 6-foot-1, 161-pound athlete committed to Cal in late January but changed his mind Wednesday. He won Harbaugh’s affection when he offered to prove his 4.3-second 40-yard dash time in the parking lot after the coach questioned its legitimacy on a recent recruiting visit.

“And he was serious, dead serious,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “I liked him even more, and I knew he'd go out; I knew he was a competitor.”

Karan Higdon, RB -- Riverview High School, Florida

Higdon flew relatively under the radar as a potential Michigan prospect until he flipped from Iowa to the Wolverines Wednesday morning. Billed as a tough inside runner, Higdon gives Michigan its only running back in a class that was heavy on the offensive side of the ball. His late change of heart may have cost the Wolverines a chance to land the top player in their home state. More on that later.

Shelton Johnson, DE -- Atlantic Community High School, Florida

[+] EnlargeT.J. Wheatley
Erik McKinney/ESPNMichigan legacy Ty Wheatley Jr. could play defensive end or tight end, but will likely start on offense.
One of the last players to make his decision public Wednesday, Johnson was expected to land at Florida State. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound pass-rusher has some filling out to do, but has the potential to grow into a physical and fast edge player in D.J. Durkin's defense. He’s also one of three Florida natives that give Harbaugh’s staff a strong start in the Sunshine State. With Durkin’s ties there from his time with the Gators there is a good chance that success will continue in the future.

Ty Wheatley Jr., TE -- Canisius High School, New York

When Ty Wheatley Sr., the former Big Ten rushing champion, returned to his alma mater in early January as an assistant coach it seemed inevitable that his son would eventually follow. The younger Wheatley waited until Wednesday to follow in dad’s footsteps. Before his Michigan connection grew stronger, the top player in New York was strongly considering heading to the West Coast or to Alabama for college. He has the potential to play defensive end or tight end at Michigan, but will likely start on offense.


Mike Weber, RB -- Cass Tech High School, Michigan

The first head-to-head battle between Harbaugh and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer goes to Meyer, although he had a healthy head start in recruiting Weber that made it less than a fair fight. Ranked by ESPN as the top player in Michigan, Weber was originally committed to come to Ann Arbor, but flipped to Ohio State when Brady Hoke was fired in December.

Weber remained torn between the two rivals until Wednesday morning. He told reporters at his announcement that Higdon’s decision to choose the Wolverines made his choice to stay with the Buckeyes much easier. Had Weber stayed home, Michigan would have finished with three of the top four high school seniors in the state, according to ESPN’s rankings.

Chris Clark, TE -- Avon Old Farms, Connecticut

Like Weber, Clark committed to Michigan this summer but backed away when the 2014 season spiraled out of control. He visited Michigan and UCLA on back-to-back days last month and ultimately decided to join the Bruins, who signed several highly touted prospects Wednesday. Harbaugh’s track record of making tight ends a centerpiece of his offense at Stanford was appealing to Clark, but not enough to sway him away from Los Angeles.

Iman Marshall, CB -- Long Beach Poly High School, California

The country’s top cornerback was a prime example of the power many believe Harbaugh’s brand can wield for Michigan on the recruiting trail. Marshall’s interest in coming to Ann Arbor piqued when Harbaugh arrived. Any school other than USC (where Marshall eventually signed) was considered a long shot to land him, but his initial interest should leave Michigan optimistic that Harbaugh’s reputation will allow the Wolverines to get a foot in the door with high-profile recruits who might not have otherwise considered them.

Van Jefferson, WR -- Ravenwood High School, Tennessee

Jefferson pushed back his decision multiple times Wednesday while trying to pick between Ole Miss, Michigan and Georgia. The four-star wideout would have been the fifth ESPN 300 recruit to select Michigan if he flipped. The Wolverines added receiver Grant Perry, a high school teammate of early enrollee quarterback Alex Malzone, earlier this week. Athlete Brian Cole, another early enrollee, will also start his college career at wide receiver. Jefferson would have rounded out a strong receiver class, but opted to stick to his commitment at Ole Miss.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The competition was fierce, went down to the wire and ultimately kept Ohio State coaches up for most of Tuesday night.

The Buckeyes also know their work might only be beginning with a new regime at Michigan, and it’s exactly what they’d expect from the most intense rivalry in college football.

The battles between certainly never lacked for intensity under the previous Wolverines coaching staff, though it’s pretty clear who has had the upper hand since Urban Meyer arrived and took his program in a much different direction than Brady Hoke did his before he was fired. Ohio State was able to maintain its edge in the first true head-to-head battle with Jim Harbaugh leading up to national signing day, but if the tug of war over running back Mike Weber is any indication, The Game is about to return to being a 12-month war.

[+] EnlargeMike Weber
Tom Hauck for Student SportsGetting running back Mike Weber's signature was the first major recruiting battle between Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh. Ohio State was able to sign the top player in Michigan on Wednesday, but not without some anxious moments.
“No doubt,” Ohio State running backs coach Stan Drayton said. “I mean, Harbaugh’s presence was felt up north, no doubt about it. He went in there guns a-blazing trying to get the best player in his state, which he should.”

This time the recruiting barrage from Harbaugh and his staff came up short, but not without making the Buckeyes sweat it out into the late-night hours leading up to Weber’s decision Wednesday.

A former Michigan commitment, the ESPN 300 prospect from Detroit's Cass Technical High School had some doubts creep into his mind late in the process for a variety of reasons, keeping Meyer and Drayton busy on the phone with Weber to help fight off the pressure that had been building on the other side of the border to keep him at home, where he would have provided a significant boost to Harbaugh’s first class.

It wasn’t the only time the Buckeyes had been forced to deal with Michigan’s new presence on the recruiting trail, with Meyer also pointing to quarterback Joe Burrow and defensive tackle Joshua Alabi -- Weber's high school teammate -- as other Ohio State commitments whom the Wolverines made a push to flip during the last month. And it definitely won’t be the last time these storied programs tangle off the field in the coming years.

“We felt it,” Meyer said. “They contacted all of our players ... but you expect that. I remember when I first got here, people were saying things [about not recruiting committed players.] That’s their job. If they don’t, are you kidding me? Kids in their home state? I expect that.

“I think the previous coach was a heck of a recruiter and they’re always going to have great recruiters there. But we’re well aware of everything they’re doing.”

Like anything else that can be boiled down to a winner and loser in the rivalry, Meyer also didn’t mind making people aware that “absolutely you keep score” on those recruiting victories over the Wolverines. But he also didn’t hide from the fact that Harbaugh certainly made it a challenge coming down the stretch.

For his part, Harbaugh wasn’t pressed about recruiting against his once and future rival, and he didn’t feel any need to address the Buckeyes on his own. Perhaps the nature of some of the individual battles will change moving forward, with Michigan potentially not needing to chase committed prospects as aggressively as it did with such a short window following the coaching transition.

But Harbaugh is officially back in the game now, and with a full recruiting cycle to work with, the two coaching staffs figure to see each other much more often than just on the opposite sideline at the end of November.

“You make a call and ask someone if they are interested in talking about Michigan,” Harbaugh said. “Certainly if someone says no, it is no. But if someone says yes, then I want to show them Michigan.

“We were trying to build a recruiting base and that is kind of the way the pickle squirted this year.”

Don’t mistake that for an apology from Harbaugh, and Meyer made it clear it wasn’t necessary anyway for a coach just doing his job.

Both guys understand the business and The Game, and one key recruitment already indicates the stakes are only going to get higher.

Schools that need a stellar recruiting class in 2016 

February, 5, 2015
Feb 5
Now that the 2015 class is in the books, it's time to take a look at which teams need to make a big recruiting splash for the 2016 class. Here are five schools that have to recruit well to move forward and reestablish their programs among the elite:

Michigan: Coach Jim Harbaugh is not going to be judged upon his 2015 class, but the blueprint he lays out going forward -- especially in his first full calendar year -- will be crucial to revamping the Wolverines' roster. Because he was hired after the San Francisco 49ers' season ended, Harbaugh got a late start with Michigan, and his staff had only nine commits heading into February. The focus for 2016 will be on toughness, even if it means taking a kid who, athletically, isn't ideal, especially along the offensive line and at tight end and fullback. It is going to be a pretty strong year in the 2016 class in the Midwest, which is good timing for the Wolverines.

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Completed class: Michigan Wolverines

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
Michigan has announced its 2015 class:

ESPN 300
Zach Gentry, QB-PP -- Eldorado High School, New Mexico
Brian Cole, ATH -- Heritage High School, Michigan
Tyree Kinnel, S -- Wayne High School, Ohio
Grant Newsome, OT -- The Lawrenceville School, Virginia

Alex Malzone, QB-PP -- Brother Rice High School, Michigan

Shelton Johnson, DE -- Atlantic Community High School, Florida
T.J. Wheatley Jr., TE-Y -- Canisius High School, New York
Reuben Jones, DE -- Lake Gibson High School, Florida
Karan Higdon, RB -- Riverview High School, Florida
Nolan Ulizio, OT -- Lakota West High School, Ohio
Grant Perry, WR -- Brother Rice High School, Michigan
Jon Runyan Jr., OT -- St. Joseph's Prep School, Pennsylvania
Andrew David, K -- Washington High School, Ohio
Keith Washington, ATH -- Prattville High School, Alabama
videoThe national signing day ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines have been turned off. The Class of 2015 is mostly in the books. As is the case annually, there were a number of winners -- and a couple of losers -- on national signing day. Here is a look at the schools that excelled and the schools that had a rough day.


UCLA: The Bruins began the day at No. 17 in the ESPN RecruitingNation class rankings, but they quickly moved up to No. 11 with a run of ESPN 300 commitments. No. 111 prospect Chris Clark, a tight end, got the day started and was followed by RB Soso Jamabo (No. 28), OG Joshua Wariboko (No. 105) and OLB Roquan Smith (No. 29). The day got even better in the early afternoon when No. 130 recruit Cordell Broadus, a wide receiver, picked the Bruins over Arizona State. All five of the recruits who committed to UCLA on Wednesday are from different states.

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Watch: Jim Harbaugh discusses his first Michigan class

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh joins ESPN's Pedro Gomez to talk about the signing day rush for the Wolverines and Harbaugh's plans to contend in the Big Ten.
Signing day is still a day away, but Michigan’s most important recruiting pickup of the week already is on the ground in Ann Arbor. He’s 34 years old and exhausted his NCAA eligibility more than a decade ago.

Chris Partridge, most recently the head coach of an east coast high school powerhouse, will be orchestrating the Wolverines’ recruiting operations moving forward under coach Jim Harbaugh. The university has yet to formally announce Partridge’s new role and declined to comment on the new addition. Nonetheless, Partridge has been working with the Michigan staff for at least a week to polish its 2015 class and, more importantly, set up future years of recruiting.

Michigan will likely finish this week with the smallest incoming batch of prospects among Power 5 schools. Nine high school seniors are currently committed to play for Harbaugh, with a few more potential additions coming in the next 24 hours. The low numbers are an expected drawback from the program’s long wait to land its five-star coach in late December.

“I didn’t expect Jim Harbaugh to come right in and light the world on fire,” Tom Luginbill, ESPN’s national recruiting director, said on a conference call earlier this week. “He’ll do the best he can and get it solidified so that this coming Thursday, he and his staff can lay down the blueprint of what’s going to be Michigan’s future – three, four, five, seven years down the line.”

Partridge, who coached current Michigan players Jabrill Peppers and Juwann Bushell-Beatty at Paramus Catholic in New Jersey, figures to play a large role in organizing that future. His job is an increasingly popular position on college football staffs. Among their many other duties, similar folks at other schools develop camps, recruiting events and high school relationships to help their coaches identify and connect with future prospects. Partridge’s unique background leaves him better prepared than most to jump in and get started.

A former linebacker and captain at Lafayette in the Patriot League, Partridge walked away from the college coaching profession in 2007. He was at that time an assistant and a promising recruiter at The Citadel feeling the financial pinch of being a young coach. He also wanted to return home to be closer to his mother, Bonnie O’Brien, who was struggling to battle several illnesses.

O’Brien runs a recruiting firm that places IT professionals in new jobs. Partridge figured recruiting is recruiting whether its football or the technology industry, and he would be a good fit to take over the family business. The only problem is his mother wouldn’t give him a job.

“He was young and he didn’t have the experience I wanted. So he got a job somewhere else,” O’Brien said. “He surprised the hell out of me with how well he did as a recruiter. He proved his worth.”

Partridge worked with another firm for a year before O'Brien invited him into the family company. He handled the firm’s most specialized IT job openings while honing the skills he started to develop as a college coach.

“His people skills and his listening skills, I think he came with all of those. He listens to someone and really hears what he has to say. He can relate to a 5-year-old as well as he relates to a 15--old or a 55-year-old,” said O’Brien, sounding more like a former employer than a doting mother.

Football called again four years later and Partridge returned to the sideline as the head coach at Paramus Catholic, his alma mater. He won two state championships and churned out FBS prospects like Peppers, Michigan’s top recruit from the 2014 class.

A former teammate at Lafayette and longtime roommate Blake Costanzo helped connect Partridge and Harbaugh. Costanzo met several of Michigan's new coaches while playing special teams for the Harbaugh and the 49ers in 2011 and again in 2014.

“I knew that if they had a chance to sit down and talk, I knew [Harbaugh] wouldn’t let Chris walk out the door,” Costanzo said. “They’re both very similar people. They’re very passionate, very detail-oriented multi-taskers. Especially their coaching passion, they’re both out there working with their guys in the grind.”

Costanzo will take over Partridge’s old post at Paramus Catholic. He said Partridge’s connections in the state should help him drum up interest in Michigan among high school recruits. New Jersey is home to two of the top 10 players in ESPN Junior 300, including defensive tackle Rashan Gary, who played for Partridge at Paramus. Those connections could give him and Michigan a jump-start on the 2016 class that most expect will be more indicative of Michigan’s recruiting future.
Signing day is less than 48 hours away. While you breathlessly await your team's official unveiling of its class and chew your fingernails over late decisions, a great debate continues over whether recruiting rankings really tell us anything.

For a little more enlightenment, we decided to look at this year's first-team All-Big Ten honorees to see where each player ranked as a prospect. Any player on offense or defense who made either the coaches' first team or was a first-team pick by the media was categorized through their ESPN Recruiting rankings (we'll save kicker prospect rankings for another conversation).

Here's what we found:

Five-star recruits


Four-star recruits (7)
Three-star recruits (14)
Two-star recruits (2)
Not ranked (3)

* -- junior college recruits

Three-star recruits typically don't generate a lot of hype on signing day, but that's where the bulk of the Big Ten's top performers checked in out of high school. That includes 2014 Big Ten offensive player of the year and Doak Walker Award winner Gordon; Big Ten offensive lineman of the year and Outland Trophy winner Scherff; Coleman, who also rushed for 2,000 yards; Big Ten receiver of the year Lippett; Big Ten linebacker of the year Hull; Big Ten defensive back of the year Drummond; a possible first-round pick in Waynes; 2013 Big Ten defensive lineman of the year Calhoun.

Seven four-star prospects more than lived up to their rankings, especially Barrett, Bosa and Zettel in the 2014 season. But there were almost as many two-star and not-ranked prospects as there were four-star recruits on the All-Big Ten first team. Not surprisingly, Wisconsin and Minnesota were able to unearth those diamonds in the rough.

The All-Big Ten second teams are another eclectic mix. They include four-star prospects who fulfilled their promise such as Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett, Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs and Wisconsin center Dan Voltz. There are also a whole bunch of three-star guys who more than reached their potential, like Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, Minnesota running back David Cobb, Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker. Then there are the true overachievers, with two-star prospects like Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah and Northwestern's Nick VanHoose, and guys who were almost completely overlooked in Michigan State left tackle Jack Conklin and Minnesota defensive back Eric Murray.

The lesson here? Nothing is really guaranteed in recruiting rankings. While you may be focusing on the four- and five-star guys on Wednesday with good reason, sometimes the two- and three-star prospects become the ones you really have to watch on Saturdays.
New Year's Day and national signing day used to be the two most disheartening days on the Big Ten football calendar.

Make no mistake, New Year's Day had been much more of a buzzkill. The Big Ten's poor results on an afternoon where it clustered its top postseason games on big stages damaged the league's reputation and depressed its fans.

National signing day had been a different kind of downer. Unlike New Year's Day, when the Big Ten's collective struggles were front and center, national signing day pushed the league off to the side. The Big Ten went from being embarrassed on Jan. 1 to being largely ignored on the first Wednesday in February.

[+] EnlargeUrban Meyer
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesOhio State raised a trophy in January and raised expectations for the Big Ten on signing day.
Of course, this was ESPN's fault, as all things were/are. ESPN's in-season obsession with all things SEC spilled into its recruiting coverage, Big Ten fans contended.

Two things to note:

1. Recruiting rankings are inherently subjective

2. The numbers don't lie. Every recruiting list shows more elite prospects in the South -- many of whom choose to play for SEC schools -- than in the Midwest

The bottom line is signing day had become more of an SEC and ACC event than a Big Ten exposition. There's a reason why every year around this time, I snarkily ask our friends in ACC country if they're ready for the biggest day on their football calendar.

But signing day 2015, arriving in just 36 hours, could have a different feel around the Big Ten. For the first time in a while, the Big Ten is the most talked-about league in the sport. Ohio State just won the first College Football Playoff national championship, securing its first title -- and the Big Ten's -- in 12 seasons. The Buckeyes capped a Big Ten bowl season that far surpassed expectations (6-5 overall, 2-0 in New Year's Six games).

Michigan made the top coaching move of the offseason by landing Jim Harbaugh. Two former Big Ten quarterbacks shined Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIX, with former Michigan signal-caller Tom Brady coming away with his fourth ring.

The Big Ten has tangible momentum that it wants to sustain through the offseason, beginning with national signing day.

How realistic is that goal?

Signing day is largely about hype, and the Big Ten undoubtedly will be discussed more this year than in the past.

Ohio State's class, ranked No. 7 nationally by ESPN RecruitingNation, will be examined as the Buckeyes bring in standouts such as Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell, and hope to keep Torrance Gibson. Unlike many Big Ten coaches, Ohio State's Urban Meyer eschews redshirting and has quickly turned young players into key contributors. Meyer's first full class in 2013 -- featuring Joey Bosa, J.T. Barrett, Ezekiel Elliott, Vonn Bell, Jalin Marshall and Darron Lee -- played a huge role in this year's title run.

Michigan's first class under Harbaugh also will be in the spotlight. It will be small -- the Wolverines have only nine verbal commitments -- but Harbaugh already has bolstered the quarterback spot with Zach Gentry, who had originally picked Texas. Michigan could finish strong with tight end Chris Clark, linebacker Roquan Smith and cornerback Iman Marshall, all of whom are announcing their decisions on signing day.

James Franklin's first full class at Penn State should get Lions fans excited for the future. Franklin and his staff put much of the group together last spring, landing 13 commitments before the end of May. They've upgraded their top problem unit, offensive line, with recruitsSterling Jenkins and Ryan Bates, to go along with junior college transfer Paris Palmer.

Michigan State is arguably the nation's top player development program. But after consecutive top-5 finishes, the Spartans' recruiting efforts are getting noticed. MSU is poised to sign a top-30 class and might have locked up its future offensive backfield with quarterback Brian Lewerke and running back L.J. Scott. Twin brothers Andrew and David Dowell, one-time Northwestern and Kentucky commits, recently switched their pledge to MSU.

Wisconsin and Nebraska also could end up among ESPN RecruitingNation's top 30 classes. Not surprisingly, the Badgers have seen attrition in their class after the surprising departure of coach Gary Andersen to Oregon State, but they've bolstered their offense with running backs Bradrick Shaw and Jordan Stevenson, tight end Kyle Penniston and quarterback Austin Kafentzis. Nebraska also went through a coaching change but has made a nice push under Mike Riley and his innovative recruiting approach, landing offensive lineman Jalin Barnett and holding onto defensive back Eric Lee and others.

As colleague Mitch Sherman wrote last week, Big Ten coaches had no consensus about whether the league's recent on-field surge would improve recruiting, especially for non-traditional powers. Maryland, despite losing two recruits to Indiana this past weekend, will be a program to watch Wednesday as linemen Austrian Robinson and Isaiah Prince make their decisions. Illinois hopes to upgrade its defensive line with Jamal Milan, who also is considering Minnesota and Indiana. Minnesota, Rutgers, Northwestern, Indiana and others look to lock up solid classes on Wednesday.

There will be Big Ten teams that don't move the needle regionally or nationally, as there are every year. But there's optimism about the league's overall recruiting efforts, fueled by the bowl/playoff momentum.

The Big Ten changed its fortunes on New Year's Day. National signing day looms, and league should gain a greater market share of the spotlight, providing a springboard to the offseason.
National signing day, and the build up to it, is as close as Texas and Texas A&M get to actual football competition these days, to see who will in fact “run this state.”

Well, right now it’s neither school. The Lone Star State is run by Baylor and TCU, the Big 12 co-champs that narrowly missed the initial College Football Playoff field.

That’s why the 2015 recruiting class and the season are so vital to both the Longhorns and Aggies, with each power striving to re-establish itself -- not just regionally, but nationally.

Texas and Texas A&M lead off our look at programs and coaches that need the 2015 class to pay off, and the sooner the better.

(Note: The RecruitingNation ranking and number of commitments are updated as of Sunday evening.)

1. Texas
Ranking: 9
Commitments: 26

The Longhorns have secured a number of solid, team-building pieces in this class, and a few high-end targets -- DT Daylon Mack and RB Soso Jamabo, among them -- remain distinct possibilities to sign with Texas this week.

Still, Wednesday

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Best of the visits: Big Ten

February, 1, 2015
Feb 1
The final recruiting visit weekend for the 2015 class was a last-minute effort to get prospects on board. A few Big Ten teams were hosting big visitors, so here is a look at the best of the weekend.

The Michigan State equipment staff opened the weekend by showing the fans what the locker room setup looks like for visiting prospects. This is where the jersey and helmet pictures come from and the recruits get a look at their potential future jerseys.

Ohio State is close to filling its 2015 class, but there are still some big targets on the board. Two of the bigger prospects happened to be on campus this weekend with defensive back Damon Arnette and linebacker Porter Gustin.

Gustin got a chance to see the new championship trophy and hang out on campus for his final visit.

The ESPN 300 prospect made the trip with most of his family, which gave everyone a look at what the Buckeyes have to offer.

While he wasn’t on a visit to Ohio State, Buckeyes quarterback commit Torrance Gibson was on a visit to Miami. Gibson has seen interest from the Hurricanes, Auburn and LSU in recent weeks and has Ohio State fans nervous about what he will do on signing day.

Penn State is also close to filling its 2015 class, especially after the commitment of defensive back John Petrishen on his visit.

Because the 2015 class is so close to being full, the Penn State coaching staff was able to hold a junior day of sorts and host some of the top targets in the 2016 class as well. That included all of the 2016 commits with Shane Simmons, Miles Sanders and Jake Zembiec.

Penn State added to that 2016 commit list over the weekend when Detroit defensive back Lavert Hill announced his commitment to the Nittany Lions on the visit.

What would a visit weekend be without a few cookie cakes, right? Illinois went with a giant cookie cake that looks to resemble a football for Cameron Watkins’ visit.

Michigan had a few big visitors on campus as well, including Washington State wide receiver commit Deontay Burnett.

The Wolverines are looking to add a receiver to this class, which is why Ole Miss receiver commit Van Jefferson was also visiting. Jefferson grew up in Michigan while his father, Shawn, was the wide receivers coach for the Detroit Lions until 2012.

Wisconsin hosted a somewhat new target this weekend in linebacker Jake Whalen. He has been on the Badgers’ target list for a while, but he was only recently offered a full scholarship.

Iowa had been looking good to land Whalen, but now with the Wisconsin offer, that decision could go for the Badgers.

Nebraska received some good news from a few of the visitors in Lincoln on Sunday. Defensive end Alex Davis tweeted he was decommitting from Georgia Southern and committing to Nebraska.

Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

January, 30, 2015
Jan 30

The last visit weekend before signing day means the last effort to sway recruits and land some final prospects. There are quite a few important visitors within the Big Ten this weekend, so here is a look at the most important visitors for each team.

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Despite making a commitment to Alabama last week, ESPN 300 offensive tackle Isaiah Prince said Wednesday he's visiting Maryland and will give the Terps a solid look.

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