Big Ten Signing Day Blitz (cont.)
Posted: Thursday February 8, 2007 5:23PM; Updated: Thursday February 8, 2007 5:23PM
Headliner: Without a doubt, five-star offensive tackle Josh Oglesby is the headliner. Ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 1 offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 10 player overall, Oglesby was a major recruiting victory for the Badgers. He has been committed to Wisconsin for almost a year. He could have gone anywhere in the nation but he decided to stay home. He'll make an immediate impact.
Sleeper: Jasper Grimes of Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer was a late academic qualifier. Credit ace recruiter Dave Doeren for keeping on him and getting Grimes to visit late in the process. Grimes had an outstanding senior season. Grimes could end up being one of those overlooked players from South Florida that leaves the state and becomes a star.
Overview: The Badgers put together one of their best recruiting classes in a long time this year. Landing local standouts like Oglesby and running back John Clay were key to Wisconsin's success. This class is also deep at a number of different positions. Players like receiver Nick Toon, quarterback James Stallons and defensive back Quincy Landingham have a shot to be special.
7. Michigan State
Headliner: Defensive tackle Antonio Jeremiah fits the bill as the top player in this Michigan State class. Ranked as the No. 4 player in Ohio, Jeremiah could have gone to almost any school in the nation. Jeremiah picked the Spartans mostly because of the intense recruiting effort by new coach Mark Dantonio. The 6-4, 280-pound Jeremiah is one of the most athletic defensive tackles in the nation. He should be able to give an immediate boost to the MSU defense.
Sleeper: Holland (Mich.) Christian quarterback Kirk Cousins came on late as a senior, and his stock rose rapidly. Michigan State liked him early, but didn't offer until the new staff arrived. It was an offer that he soon accepted after a Jan. 12 official visit. Before the pledge he was heading to Central Michigan, where he would have been a star in the MAC. Now he's heading to the Big Ten and he's likely one of the biggest steals for any team in the conference.
Overview: Dantonio and his staff did a masterful job of producing results given the short amount of time they had to recruit. The Spartans will finish in the top 40 nationally, which is amazing considering that there were more questions than answers about this class in early January. Landing Jeremiah was big, but the additions of stars like Mark Dell at receiver and athlete Cedric Everson down the stretch were equally important.
Headliner: If he recovers from a knee injury, there's no doubt that Northwestern got a major steal in Lisbon (Ohio) David Anderson three-star defensive end Vincent Brown. The 6-foot-5, 239-pound Brown is one of the top defensive ends in the Midwest. His relentless pass rushing ability and nose for the football will make him a good player for the Wildcats.
Sleeper: Running back Scott Concannon of Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge was overshadowed by his two blue-chip teammates, Logan Gray and Aron White. However, Concannon is a talented running back that ranks as one of the top 30 players in Missouri. He's the type of hard-nosed running back that will succeed at Northwestern. He might not be as highly regarded as others in this class, but he's got a shot to be a real steal.
Overview: While the Wildcats struggled on the field this season, the Northwestern coaches have to be pleased with this class. The Wildcats finished eighth in the Big Ten, with 14 three-star commitments leading the way. While there isn't one clear-cut home-run stud in this class, there are a few kids in there that are going to be great players for the Wildcats. At the top of the list is Ohio high school star Jordan Mabin. Nobody had a better senior season in the state of Ohio than Mabin, and he was a monster recruiting get for the Wildcats. He could play from Day One in Evanston.
Headliner: Defensive end Anthony Jacobs of Northfield, Minn., is the top player in the state of Minnesota. He has stuck with the Gophers through the coaching change. He's a tough, physical defensive player, but he's also quite athletic. Jacobs also played running back in high school, so expect him to use that speed when he's coming off the edge on the next level.
Sleeper: Fairview Heights, Ill., running back Duane Bennett might not be the fastest back around, but he did rack up good numbers in his final two high school seasons. The previous staff at Minnesota loved his style and got him to commit. Bennett could be one of those two-star players that flew somewhat under the radar and eventually becomes a nice player for the Gophers.
Overview: Mark this down -- this will be the lowest ranked class that Tim Brewster will sign as the coach of the Golden Gophers. Brewster and his staff did a tremendous job with what little time they had to recruit. At one point it was almost a sure thing that Minnesota would finish at the bottom of the Big Ten. However, late additions like Curtis Thomas and Kyle Theret helped bolster this class.
Headliner: Quarterback Justin Siller was one of the most heavily recruited players in Michigan this season. The Boilermakers are getting the perfect player for their new spread-option system on offense. Siller had a very good career at Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary's. The 6-4, 191-pounder can sling it, and he can also make things happen with his feet. He was a nice pickup for Purdue.
Sleeper: Purdue feels like it got a major steal from Louisiana with the addition of two-star defensive tackle Preston Numa of River Ridge (La.) John Curtis. The 6-2, 273-pounder was also recruited by Louisiana Monroe, Southeastern Louisiana and Southern Illinois. Purdue coaches feel his motor and athletic ability make him a nice player with a huge upside.
Overview: Purdue isn't used to being ranked toward the bottom of the Big Ten. However, that's what this year's class produced. Purdue did come in second for quite a few kids that would have pushed this class much higher. From a needs standpoint, Purdue did well. It landed two quarterbacks, three running backs and plenty of help on defense.
Headliner: The loss of Jerimy Finch definitely stings. He would have been the biggest recruit Indiana signed in more than 20 years. With him off the board, Indiana looks to a guy like Jeff Boyd -- Finch's teammate at Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central -- to be the top player in this class. Quarterback Teddy Schell also is a nice addition.
Sleeper: Quarterback Mitchell Evans doesn't have the strongest arm in the world, but he has proven he can make plays. He's also extremely athletic, which should make him a nice fit for the Indiana offense. While he wasn't one of the biggest recruits in Ohio, Indiana did have to beat out a host of MAC teams for him. Those schools tend to know quarterback talent when they see it.
Overview: This year the Hoosiers definitely took some major strides forward -- not just locally, but in other areas. Indiana did well in Ohio -- a territory that always has some great players. The Hoosiers also continued to move in on some quality kids in Florida. While it won't rank near the top of the Big Ten, the Hoosiers did a nice job of also filling needs in this year's class.