NCF On The Trail: Wisconsin Badgers

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.

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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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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Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

November, 14, 2014
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A lot of the big visit weekends have come and gone for Big Ten teams, but there are still a few important weekends left. With a few big games, including Ohio State facing off against Minnesota and Nebraska taking on Wisconsin, there are still some big visiting prospects to talk about.

Nebraska vs. Wisconsin:

The Badgers are hosting the Cornhuskers in this matchup of two top-25 teams on Saturday. The Badgers will have a few commitments on hand in David Moorman, Andrew James and Brandyn Lee among others.

The commits will have the opportunity to help recruit a few of the visiting targets including teammates Andre Smith and Chris Barr.

Offensive lineman Jalen Merrick and cornerback T.J. Griffin will also be in attendance for the big game.

This is a good situation for Wisconsin as it should be an exciting game and atmosphere for the prospects, but the visitor list is small enough that the coaches can give a lot of personal attention to the uncommitted targets.


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"College GameDay" will be at Michigan State this weekend, and so will a lot of high-profile recruits such as Ricky DeBerry and Quarte Sapp. Plus, Michigan running back commit Mike Weber is getting closer to lining up his official visits, including trips to the Wolverines' biggest rivals.

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Five-star Torrance Gibson is slated to announce his decision Monday, and there's expectations that it'll be a good day to be a Buckeye. Plus, Florida and Maryland's recruiting efforts could get a real shot in the arm after big victories this weekend over recruiting rivals.

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Best of the visits: Big Ten

November, 2, 2014
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Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan all had a few big recruiting visitors on campus this past weekend. Of course those recruits took to social media to share their experiences and document what happened.

Offensive lineman Branden Bowen is currently committed to Utah, but he made the trip out to see the Buckeyes play Illinois.
As Bowen noted in his tweet, he is from Utah, where it was significantly warmer than Ohio. The weather wasn't terrible in Columbus, but it got pretty cold at the game given that it was at night.

Bowen didn't come very prepared and ended up wearing shorts to the game. If he ends up choosing Ohio State I'm sure he will invest in a pair of long pants for the winter. The Buckeyes also got the chance to entertain one of their newest commitments, linebacker Jerome Baker. The ESPN 300 linebacker flipped from Florida and was excited to take in the game with no stress. Ohio State had another in-state linebacker on campus outside of Baker in Cincinnati native Anthony McKee. McKee doesn't have an offer yet, but depending on how the class plays out he could find himself with an offer down the line.

Maryland coach Randy Edsall was hoping to build a rivalry with conference opponent Penn State and the game this past weekend might have been a nice foundation for that rivalry.

The Terps players refused to shake hands with the Penn State players at the opening coin toss, which caused quite a stir on Twitter among recruits. There were plenty of prospects in attendance to see the incident as well, including ESPN Jr. 300 commit Shane Simmons and ESPN Jr. 300 target Robbie Robinson. The staff was expecting another ESPN Jr. 300 target in E.J. Price, but he tweeted that he was unable to make it to the game.

Wisconsin wasn't at home on Saturday as it took on Rutgers, but that doesn't mean the Badgers' targets weren't watching.

One of the bigger 2016 recruits, ESPN Jr. 300 running back Antonio Williams, has been paying close attention to most of Wisconsin's games this season, including this one. Williams has said the Badgers lead for him as of right now and as the No. 148-ranked prospect in his class, he would be a huge addition.

Michigan also had some prospects on campus, mainly from the 2016 and 2017 class.

Sophomore quarterback Andrew Marty tweeted a picture from the end zone before the game. Two of the bigger targets on campus, ESPN Jr. 300 defensive end Prince Sammons and offensive lineman Michael Jordan, both got to spend some time together as well. Finally, Nebraska was hosting a few official visitors for the 2015 class for its game against Purdue.

Offensive lineman Zach Robertson and receivers A.D. Miller and Tony Brown were the three most prominent.

Miller is an Illinois commit, who initially was trying to keep his visit under wraps, got a first-hand look at the Nebraska fan base. The Huskers beat Purdue and gave the targets a good game to come and see. The atmosphere was exciting and the prospects all enjoyed their time in Lincoln.

Best of the visits: Big Ten

October, 26, 2014
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Wisconsin had a big recruiting weekend, hosting several visitors for its game against Maryland. The Badgers came away with the win and the coaches also landed a few commitments.

Athlete Zack Baun and linebacker Jordan Griffin both announced their commitment to Wisconsin on Saturday, giving the Badgers 21 commitments in the 2015 class.


This type of visit is big for the uncommitted prospects, but it’s also important for the committed recruits to take in the atmosphere and spend time around the program.


Michigan State had a huge game at home Saturday, hosting quite a few commitments, targets and in-state prospects. The Spartans beat rival Michigan in resounding fashion and in front of an exciting atmosphere.


The visiting recruits got to see quite a show, and the Spartans likely helped themselves with the in-state recruits, especially the 2016 and 2017 class.


Because Michigan State came away with the win, the prospects also got to see an exciting environment in the locker room after the game.


While the Spartans handled Michigan fairly easily, the game in Happy Valley with Penn State and Ohio State turned into an outstanding game. The two teams went to overtime, where Ohio State eventually won. The sentiment from the prospects on campus, though, was that it was crazy and exciting.


Penn State losing won’t matter as much to prospects because of the way it happened and the fact that the crowd was loud and the visit seemed to make a lasting impression on many of the recruits. The Nittany Lions had some big 2015 targets on hand, including ESPN 300 offensive lineman Matt Burrell, who was taking an official visit.


Penn State coach James Franklin made sure to get a little recruiting done before the game with Burrell and Indiana quarterback commit Tommy Stevens, who was offered by the Nittany Lions.

Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

October, 24, 2014
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This is shaping up to be an important weekend for the Big Ten, with rivalry games and big recruiting visitors on tap.

Plenty of recruits are making their way to Big Ten games this weekend, so here is a look at some of the top prospects who will be on hand.

Ohio State vs. Penn State


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Randy Edsall knows recruiting is the lifeblood of his program, and he is really impressing local coaches with his effort. Plus, don’t be surprised if you see NC State finish with a flurry.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
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There weren't too many big games within the Big Ten this past weekend, but that doesn't mean there wasn't any recruiting news. Offers were extended, commitments were made and decommitments were contemplated.

We take a look at the week that was and what could happen in the future within the conference.


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Best of the visits: Big Ten

October, 12, 2014
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If Michigan ever needed a win this season it was on Saturday, at night against Penn State. The Wolverines had the biggest target left on the 2015 board in defensive end Keisean Lucier-South on campus.



South has said that Michigan's losing season hasn't impacted how he feels about the program, but it's only a positive to have a win and an exciting atmosphere for his visit.

South also hung out with some of the Michigan commitments on the trip. Since a few of the committed prospects have taken visits or entertained visiting other programs, this was also a big deal for the staff to get them back on campus.



Quarterback commit Messiah DeWeaver, a 2016 prospect, made the trip up as well and had the chance to help recruit a few other targets in his class. One of those prospects was offensive lineman Clark Yarbrough, who tweeted out a few pictures that indicated he and his family were enjoying themselves.



Iowa had a big weekend as well, with a ton of top targets on campus. There were none bigger, though, than Ohio State commit Justin Hilliard.

The five-star prospect took an official visit to see Iowa and his older brother, C.J., who plays for the Hawkeyes. It is difficult to see Hilliard flipping from Ohio State to Iowa, and it probably wasn't a great sign for Hawkeyes fans he tweeted a picture of a block 'O' before he made it to Iowa.



Outside of Hilliard, there were plenty of other big recruits in attendance for the game against Indiana. That even included 2017 defensive lineman Juan Harris, who tweeted out his excitement for the program after the game.



Finally, Wisconsin had some important official visitors on campus for the game against Illinois, including Florida linebacker prospect Jordan Griffin.



This visit could help propel the Badgers further ahead in his recruitment, and could help get Griffin closer to a commitment if all goes as planned.

Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
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Week six is here with recruiting presents for everyone. Unless you aren’t a fan of decommitments, prospects looking around, official visitors and surprise visits. In which case, there are no presents for you.

The Big Ten has all of those storylines wrapped up in one weekend, so here is a look at the most intriguing and important visitors within the conference.

Michigan vs. Penn State:

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Big Ten teams need to find a way to increase athleticism through recruiting and Wisconsin is working hard in Florida to make that happen. Plus, UCLA quarterback commit Josh Rosen continues to be the gift that keeps on giving for the Bruins on the recruiting trail.


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