Every week here at The Big Ten Blog, we will update you on the latest commits, decommits and rumors in the recruiting world. Normally that means one update for the entire conference every week. Not so this week, after an insane amount of commits throughout the league.
Here's the breakdown from the Leaders Division, which netted 12 recruits over the past week (which, as you'll see, still pales in comparison to what the Legends Division pulled off).
Ohio State ramped up its recruiting efforts with a busy week, logging a pair of verbal commitments after nearly two quiet months. Kicker/punter Johnny Townsend wasn't on many scouts' radars when he camped with the Buckeyes recently, but according to Bay News 9, Meyer offered Townsend a full ride there and he committed a week later.
Meanwhile, New Albany (OH) safety Darron Lee committed on Tuesday, per the Columbus Dispatch. Lee is 6'3" and 205 and still growing, so depending on his strength, conditioning and skill-set development, he may yet develop into a linebacker.
[UPDATE: Ohio State's up to 14 commits with a Wednesday afternoon commitment from big-time defensive tackle Michael Hill, per Eleven Warriors. Hill is the nation's fifth-ranked DT prospect, per Rivals.com, and the other services have him in their Top 20 at the position. He's 6'2" and 315 pounds, and should develop into an absolute monster in the middle for Ohio State.
Penn State also picked up two commits on the week, and they're good ones. Zach Bradshaw is the latest commit, per State College News; he's a 6'3" wideout from Damascus (MD) who turned down offers from South Carolina, Michigan and a host of ACC and mid-level Big Ten schools. His high-end speed isn't great, but he plays the ball extremely well and has the size to be a difference-maker.
The Nittany Lions also welcomed 4-star OT Dorian Johnson to the fold, per PennLive.com. He's a mountain of a man at 6'6" and 275 pounds (with ample room to grow), and he plays with a nastiness coaches dream of. Yes, there are highlights.
Wisconsin had a big week as well, landing two verbals of its own. The Badgers plucked defensive tackle Sam Raridon from West Des Moines (IA), per the Wisconsin State Journal. His father played for Nebraska, and for Barry Alvarez's title-winning high school team in Mason City (IA) before that.
Raridon is 6'3" and 264 pounds, and his father, Scott Sr., says that's the result of keeping him athletic instead of bulking him up. Yep, 264 is his small weight. Expect him closer to 290 in Madison.
Wisconsin also says hello to offensive line prospect Matt Miller, who committed on Wednesday, per MadtownBadgers.com. Miller is a two-way high school player for St. John's Jesuit in Toledo (OH) who projects better as an offensive lineman at this point. He's got a lot of growing to do at 6'5" and "only" 260 pounds, but fortunately, Wisconsin's sort of good at developing linemen, so he's in a good spot here.
Illinois registered an eye-popping four commitments this week, bringing a rapidly growing class up to 14 recruits. DT Bryce Douglas told ESPN.com that his parents are Illinois grads, and his father played basketball there, so the 6'2", 330-pound big man committed minutes after receiving an offer at camp.
Defensive back Darius Mosely joined the fold on Saturday, per the Chicago Tribune. He projects as a cornerback, though he also played wideout for O'Fallon High.
Also in the mix is Dawaune "D.J." Smoot, a defensive end who committed yesterday, per Scout.com.
Illinois' jewel of the week, though, was 4-star athlete Caleb Day, who selected the Illini over offers from Ohio State and Arkansas, among others. The Chicago Tribune says Day is a running back, defensive back and return specialist who will probably play DB at this level. Day's coach said he was extremely high on new Illinois coach Tim Beckman, and that helped seal the deal.
And yes, he has highlights:
Finally, Purdue doubled its 2013 class with two new commits. Per NWITimes.com, David Yancey of Saint John (IN) camped at Purdue recently and picked up an offer as a running back—a position he's still getting used to as a former QB.
Nonetheless, Purdue told Yancey he could play pretty early, and he committed shortly thereafter. He's got ideal size at 5'11" and 210 pounds, and his athletic gifts are readily apparent. Now, Purdue just needs to hang onto this guy for seven more months' worth of outside pressure.
Purdue also picked up a commit from versatile athlete John Strauser, per the Journal and Courier. Strauser played eight positions last year (pshht, showoff), but at 6'4" and 245 right now, he projects as a linebacker or defensive end at Purdue.
Strauser's other big offer was from Pittsburgh, which thought it might have a chance seeing as how Strauser's uncle is head coach Paul Chryst. Nope! Blood might be thicker than water, but the Big Ten is thicker than blood.
None. By and large, these early commitments have been pretty steadfast thus far. Maybe that will change as more big-time offers roll in and invitations for official visits during the season roll in.
News and Rumors
Penn State is in early on 2014 stud LB Michael Ferns, who spurned Ohio State and named Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State as his three finalists, per PennLive.com.
Cornerback Adrian Baker is really hoping for an Ohio State offer after a successful camp session there. If he gets it, a commitment is probably forthcoming.
Eleven Warriors spoke with highly-touted OL/DT Sam Mustipher, who camped at Ohio State recently and got an offer from Urban Meyer. Mustipher will "will always hold [Ohio State] very high" on his list, and if he continues to develop, he has All-America potential, either at Ohio State or elsewhere.