Every Wednesday here at The Big Ten Blog, we will update you on the latest commits, news and rumors in the recruiting world.
Michigan's 2014 class is off to an early start, as Michael Ferns has verbally committed. Ferns is likely one of the top inside linebackers of the '14 class, and he held offers from schools like Ohio State, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Duke.
Oh, Duke: always the bridesmaids. Ferns' highlight reel speaks for itself, especially considering that's a sophomore flying around the field like that. This is a huge pickup for Brady Hoke and his crew.
Likewise, Michigan State just added a 2014 recruit in linebacker Byron Bullough. And yes, the fact that he is a linebacker named Bullough is not a coincidence; Byron is following in the footsteps of brothers Max and Riley to come to East Lansing. And his father, Shane. And uncle Chuck. And grandfather Hank (though Hank played guard, but c'mon). So what we're saying is, Byron Bullough was the lock of the century to go to MSU.
Penn State's recruiting hasn't fallen off a cliff in the wake of the NCAA sanctions, and this week the Nittany Lions welcomed CB Jordan Smith to the 2013 recruiting class.
Smith's the lowest-rated of any of Penn State's recruits, and among Big Ten teams, Illinois was the only one to offer the cornerback from Washington, DC. But just getting back on the right side of the ledger must be an enormous relief to Penn State and its fans.
Nebraska added Jonathan Cook, a corner out of Alabama, to its 2013 recruiting class. Cook's offer sheet wasn't great—Minnesota and Penn State were the only other Big Ten teams to offer—but he did get offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Kentucky.
As you'll see in his video below, Cook is a pure corner and a good one at that; his instincts are great, he's not afraid of contact, and he's plenty fast. He should fit in nicely at Nebraska.
Whoa, Indiana's doing things. Antonio Allen, a near-consensus 4-star DB from Indianapolis, committed late last week. The safety prospect had been an Ole Miss commit for three months before bailing a couple weeks ago, and Indiana beat out schools like Michigan State, Iowa and Illinois for Allen's verbal.
He's clocking in at 5'10" and 205 at this point, and Indiana probably wishes he could get on the field this year. Alas, Hoosiers.
Chase Dutra, a WR/S from Brownsburg (IN), also committed to the Hoosiers a couple days ago. He's 6'2" and 200 pounds, and Indiana thinks he could also bulk up to play linebacker, but safety and wideout are his two positions as of now.
Northwestern scored a coup by beating out Wisconsin, Illinois and a host of other Big Ten schools to land RB/S Godwin Igwebuike from Pickerington (OH). Northwestern's academics likely played a crucial role in this commitment, as Duke was also in his final five. Look for Igwebuike to take over the strong safety role after Ibraheim Campbell graduates; Igwebuike could be a three-year starter there.
It's a heck of a week for defensive backs. Iowa offered WR/S prospect Matthew VandeBerg a grayshirt not long ago, and the South Dakota prep accepted the offer over the weekend. He had no other offers at that point, so it was a bit of an easy choice.
Penn State lost...nobody this week. Hey, how about that?
News & Rumors
According to the Post-Gazette, former PSU commit and 5-star OL Dorian Johnson is leaning toward Pitt and Ohio State. Johnson is from Belle Vernon, PA (a small town close to Pittsburgh), so if location continues to be important to him Ohio State may be in trouble there. Then again, Columbus is just a straight shot east on I-70 for three hours, so who knows?
According to 247Sports.com ($), mammoth tackle Aaron Cochran will be setting up an official visit to Nebraska later this year. Cochran clocks in at 6'8" and 355 pounds, so he would be ever so slightly helpful in Nebraska's vaunted power rushing game.
Per ESPN.com ($), Purdue offered WR/TE Ian Bunting, a 6'6", 194-pound 2014 prospect who is probably not staying at 194 pounds for very long. He's also getting interest from Wisconsin, Northwestern and Illinois, and expect that list of interested Big Ten teams to grow as Bunting fills out.