NCF On The Trail: Ohio State Buckeyes

LSU and Texas A&M have become bigger rivals on the field and in recruiting now that both are in the SEC. Plus, few programs are trending like Ohio State is on the field and on the recruiting trail.

Michigan and Ohio State have always fought for some of the same recruits. The Wolverines win some and the Buckeyes win some, and those recruiting battles have real implications on the field.

Each team could have used one or two more victories on the recruiting trail, so let’s take a look at a few current players recruited by both teams who could have made an impact for the opposing team in the big game on Saturday, and a few future battles that could impact games in the years to come.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

November, 25, 2014
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Here is a look at all the most important recruiting action from this past weekend within the Big Ten conference.


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On The Trail Show (noon ET)

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
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Join RecruitingNation's panel of experts as they break down all the recruiting news around this week's rivalry games.

Early Offer: Malik Jefferson's final 7 

November, 24, 2014
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Malik Jefferson reduced his list to seven schools on Monday, and though the list is hardly a surprise, recruiters think there are still some in store with the No. 35 player in the country.

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UA jersey tour: Tyler Jordan

November, 21, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Four-star offensive guard Tyler Jordan was presented with his Under Armour All-America Game jersey Friday morning in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance. The ceremony took place in front of family, friends and teammates at the Bishop Kenny High School cafeteria.

The 10th-ranked guard and the 128th-ranked prospect overall in the ESPN 300 said he felt honored to be selected.

“I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little kid and honestly I never thought I would be here," Jordan said.

Jordan has been committed to Florida since February but with the Gators coaching position in limbo, Jordan has received attention from a few Big Ten schools.

“I’m still committed and not wavering at all,” Jordan said. “My commitment is really solid but because of the whole coaching situation, I’ll probably take my visits. I’m not sure where yet but I’ve heard from a few that were talking to me even when I was committed. Penn State and Ohio State I talk to some but I haven’t decided where I’ll visit yet.”

The 6-foot-4, 270 pound prospect at Bishop Kenny but is being recruited by Florida and other schools to play on the interior of the line.

Seven questions with Tyler Jordan

Who was the best player you ever saw play in the Under Armour game?

Jordan: I remember watching [Jadeveon] Clowney. He’s a heck of a player — he was really good.

If you could start a team with any other player in your class who would it be?

Jordan: Probably CeCe Jefferson. I’ve played against him every year but I didn’t get a chance to this year because he was injured.

If you could start a team with any player in this class who would it be?

Jordan: Probably my entire team at Kenny. We have a strong bond and we play well together.

What’s your earliest football memory?

Jordan: Probably the first day of tryouts my freshman year. First year, first practice, first day in pads I was laying kids out and putting them on their backs.

If you could take on a professional athlete in their sport, who would it be and why?

Jordan: Mike Tyson. I’d take a punch — why not?

What would you like to improve on before you get to college?

Jordan: Body position and hand position so that I can get on to people and move them around more.

What are you looking forward to most about going to Orlando?

Jordan: Getting to play against the best-of-the best and learning from experienced coaches and former college coaches.

What’s something about yourself that not many people know about?

Jordan: I’m trying to learn how to play guitar right now, which is not going so well for me.

Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

November, 21, 2014
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The Big Ten will have an important recruiting weekend despite the weather in most areas being poor and the regular season coming close to the end. Here is a look at the most important visitors of the weekend for the conference.

Michigan versus Maryland:


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The top five remains steady, but Ohio State has moved a step closer to potentially breaking into that group. The Buckeyes, whose class is led by three five-star prospects, added a commitment from an eighth ESPN 300 player in offensive lineman Matt Burrell Jr. The top-10 OG is a big, tough and competitive player. He needs to continue to better blend technique with his aggressive nature, but with some work he can be a physical and productive presence in the trenches for Ohio State.

It has been a challenging season for North Carolina, but the Tar Heels, who have won three of their past four games, were able to score a big victory on the recruiting trail. With a commitment from ESPN 300 DE Jalen Dalton, North Carolina was able to keep the state's No. 3-ranked prospect at home. A lengthy and athletic defender with good upside, Dalton is a promising player who could grow into a potential playmaker for a team that needs major help on defense. Despite some of the struggles this season UNC has still managed to put together a strong class that now sits at No. 21 and features five ESPN 300 prospects.

Inside the rankings

The biggest challenge for Urban Meyer and his staff since he arrived in Columbus has been luring top-flight defensive front personnel and overall skill from the Midwest that is comparable to what he had at Florida. It has been a down period in Ohio for the 2014 and 2015 classes in terms of sheer numbers and caliber of players, which led to the Buckeyes going after guys like Joey Bosa (Florida), Raekwon McMillan (Georgia), Vonn Bell (Georgia) and many others to help supplement the roster. That trend is continuing with the commitment of 2015 athlete Torrance Gibson.

The good news for the Buckeyes is that the upcoming in-state 2016 class is much stronger and deeper, which hopefully will allow for them to not have to venture too far south this time around to supplement the roster. The Buckeyes already have four players committed in 2016 and all are from Ohio.



To read the full class rankings, click here.

ESPN Jr. 300: What to know in the Big Ten 

November, 19, 2014
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The ESPN Jr. 300 has been updated with new rankings, and there are a ton of Big Ten commits and targets on the list. To help break down the movement and implications, here is all you need to know about the top list and the Big Ten conference.


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There have been some interesting names linked to the Florida opening, but several coaches believe Marshall's Doc Holliday could be a good recruiting fit in Gainesville. Plus, many expected ESPN 300 OT Chuma Edoga to flip from USC to Georgia, but it looks like the Trojans have won the battle in the end.


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UA jersey tour: Kendall Sheffield

November, 18, 2014
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There are many who believe ESPN 300 cornerback Kendall Sheffield is the poster child for how to go through the recruiting process.

Play like a champion. Garner interest from college scouts. Earn scholarships. Treat every scholarship with equal density. Refuse to publicly lean to a program.

Ask Sheffield about a favorite in his recruiting process, and expect an answer that will lead the most persistent, inquisitive person to nowhere. He's quick to say that he's "still wide open with 37 offers."

Ask the five-star cornerback about the Under Armour All-America Game, however, and get a completely different answer. Sheffield was awarded his commemorative jersey on Tuesday in a ceremony sponsored by American Family Insurance.

"It's a huge honor to be an Under Armour All-American. I'm very happy, very excited," Sheffield said. "I've always wanted to be an Under Armour All-American, since I was a little kid. "I just want to get there and have fun and compete."

Hearing Sheffield open up about the game is a treat of sorts, as he's naturally an actions-first kind of athlete. Sheffield prefers letting his game speak for itself -- and it's spoken loud enough for him to earn nearly 40 offers coast to coast.

At 6 foot and 181 pounds, Sheffield is the top-ranked player in Texas and the No. 3 cornerback in the nation. He is No. 8 in the ESPN 300 and has seen a steady rise in the 2015 rankings since its debut last season.

Sheffield's resume has everything college coaches want to hear. His fastest 40-yard dash is 4.37 seconds. He's a cover corner who doesn't mind making the big hits. If he's needed for special teams, he can be a reliable return man, as well.

The world will get a chance to judge for itself when Sheffield competes in the UA game in January. The big question now, however, is, where will Sheffield end up? He's taken official visits to USC, Ohio State and Florida State, and he recently was in Baton Rouge for an unofficial visit to LSU. Sheffield said he'll take an official visit to Alabama next month, and he's expecting to take an unofficial visit for Texas A&M's Thanksgiving game against LSU in College Station.

Sheffield said he plans on taking that fifth official visit. Which team will get it?

"I'm unsure right now," he said. "It'll be one of my 37 offers."

Sheffield will announce his college plans at the UA game. Until then, he's tight-lipped. One thing he won't keep close to the vest is the importance of having a position coach who will push him. He said the winning school will have a coach he can build a quality relationship with, in addition to someone who can potentially take him to the next level.

"That's important to me," Sheffield said. "Real important."

Quick hits on Kendall Sheffield

Best player to put on a UA jersey: "Jadeveon Clowney. He's a good athlete, and he was the No. 1 player coming out of high school. He also was the No. 1 draft pick."

Receiver you most want to compete against: "It doesn't matter. I just want to get there and compete."

Your jersey number: "I've always worn No. 11. It's a number I've worn since Little League."

Favorite football memory: "It was my sophomore year in my first year on varsity. I had my first interception, and it was a pick-six. It won the game for us."

Did you know? Sheffield wants to major in sports management. He said the schools he ultimately considers in his top list will have solid sports management programs.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

November, 18, 2014
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There was plenty of recruiting news once again this weekend so we are here to recap all that happened within the conference. This is the Big Ten weekend recruiting wrap and a small look at what is ahead within the conference.


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The Big Ten's top class got stronger Monday night with the addition of ESPN 300 guard Matt Burrell Jr. Continue reading to find out what's next for Burrell in Columbus:


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Best of the visits: Big Ten

November, 16, 2014
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In one of the coldest games of the season, Ohio State and Minnesota squared off in a back and forth match that ended with a Buckeyes win. The snow and cold might have impacted the play on the field, but it didn’t stop Minnesotans from enjoying the day.

The weather also didn’t keep the prospects from visiting as there were quite a few recruits in attendance.

He wasn’t visiting as a Minnesota target, but Ohio State five-star commit Jashon Cornell decided to attend the game to watch his future team in Ohio State. The Minnesota native didn’t have too far of a drive, but it takes some dedication to sit in that weather.
The Gophers did have some of their own targets on campus, too, including offensive lineman Tyler Moore. There is no confirmation if his mother's name is Mary, but there is confirming that Tyler enjoyed his trip. The Gophers weren't the only team to deal with bad weather as Wisconsin also had snow and frigid temperatures. While it was an excellent game to watch, Florida native Andre Smith made it very apparent he was aware of how cold it was. Offensive line commit David Moorman was also at the game and got the chance to do a little recruiting. Moorman spent some time ESPN 300 offensive lineman Jalen Merrick, who is also from Florida. Penn State wasn't hosting a marquee opponent in Temple, but it didn't stop some of the bigger prospects from coming out to the game. ESPN Jr. 300 wide receiver Brad Hawkins came out for the match and tweeted a picture from his seats. Hawkins is one of the bigger receiver targets along the East Coast, ranked No. 239 in the ESPN Jr. 300, so he will be a focus for the Nittany Lions in the future.

Since the East Coast and surrounding areas are so important to Penn State, it was a huge visit with ESPN Jr. 300 defensive back Eric Burrell out of Maryland. Burrell is ranked No. 80 in the 2016 class and was also on campus with 2017 offensive lineman Jordan McNair.

Maryland ended up losing its game to Michigan State, but once again it was a good game to have recruits on campus for. Some of the prospects in surrounding areas, including ESPN Jr. 300 tight end Naseir Upshur took a visit this weekend. The Terps also had some official visitors, including defensive lineman Wesley Annan.

Because of its location, Maryland has some unique selling poins for recruits, some of which Annan was able to check out for himself. Annan got to check out the Lincoln Memorial since it's so close to campus. There aren't many other schools that can boast that type of experience for recruits.
Long gone are the days where the Big Ten is filled with statuesque quarterbacks and signal-callers with no mobility. The conference has shifted to follow national trends utilizing more athletic quarterbacks within the offense.

Of the 16 prospects committed to Big Ten teams with the potential to play quarterback, 11 consider themselves passers first who can make plays with the run.

That attribute has become very valuable to coaches across the board including within the conference.


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