2014 College Football Recruits Most Likely to Spurn Big Ten Coaches
Although it takes its share of criticism, the Big Ten is an elite conference. Ohio State and Michigan are national powers, while Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State and Northwestern provide good depth. Recruiting in the league is competitive and not many B1G coaches are used to being told no.
However, with the Big Ten's region possessing good talent, many coaches from programs in other conferences raid the area for prospects. While Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke will sign Top 10 classes this year, they – and several other Big Ten coaches – will strike out with several elite recruits on the recruiting trail.
A running back prospect from the South is considering a Big Ten school, but he's likely to stay in SEC country. A linebacker in the Midwest is a wanted-man by the B1G, but he appears to have his sights set elsewhere. Meyer is trying to land another elite safety prospect to pair with 2013 signee Vonn Bell, but the Buckeyes' head coach is behind two other juggernaut programs.
Derrick Nnadi, DT
Derek Nnadi, who will play in the 2014 Army All-American game, is a great defensive tackle prospect who would be a great fit in the Big Ten. He is considering B1G schools such as Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan State, says 247Sports.
However, Nnadi is expected to stay in his home state and sign with Virginia or Virginia Tech.
Nnadi, who is 6'1" and 305 pounds, is a stout run-defender with excellent play strength. He has adequate snap-quickness and can shock a blocker with a jolting punch at the point of attack. Nnadi has the strength to stack a block, anchor down and create a mess in the interior trenches.
He will not lead his team in sacks or quarterback hurries, but Nnadi has the potential to be among the best run-stoppers in the country.
Brandon Harris, QB
Brandon Harris, who is a dual-threat type of quarterback, is a field-general with a high ceiling. Ohio State is in his final three, as he is interested in playing in Urban Meyer's spread-option offense, according to ESPNU.
However, Harris is from Louisiana and the SEC does not let players of his quality escape without a fight. LSU and Auburn are also under serious consideration and likely ahead of the Buckeyes on Harris' list.
Chances are he ends up a Tiger.
Harris, who is slightly taller than 6'2" and 193 pounds, has outstanding arm talent. He can drive the football downfield with authority and has no issues attacking outside the numbers. If Harris feels the pocket is too crowded, he has the mobility to maneuver out of traffic and make plays with his legs.
Dewayne Hendrix, DE
Dewayne Hendrix, who had 12 tackles-for-loss as a junior, is one of the best defensive end prospects in the Midwest region. However, Hendrix, who is from Illinois, does not seem interested in playing in his native region and is likely headed to the SEC.
Tennessee leads for Hendrix, per 247Sports, but keep an eye on Florida.
Hendrix, who is 6'5" and 255 pounds, is a solid strong-side defensive end prospect. He is at his best when he can come off the ball, punch a blocker and read a play. Hendrix has the strength to set the edge, displays adequate shed skills and flashes the potential to move inside as a sub-package pass rusher.
He would be a solid fit in Will Muschamp's hybrid 3-4/4-3 defense, but look for Hendrix to sign up to play in Knoxville.
Nyles Morgan, LB
The Big Ten will not be home for Nyles Morgan, as the physical linebacker appears to have no serious interest in any of the conference's schools. Morgan has his sights set on joining his former high school teammate and Ole Miss signee Laquon Treadwell, says 247Sports.
However, Morgan also is looking for a program with excellent academic standards and Vanderbilt has emerged as a suitor for his services. Northwestern was expected to be an option, but he does not appear to be interested in staying close to his home in Illinois.
Morgan, who is 6'2" and 228 pounds, is an instinctive linebacker who plays with good strength. He can challenge lead blockers at the point of attack, shed and strike a ball-carrier as a forceful wrap tackler. Morgan fits best as an inside/middle 'backer, but does flash the range to be able to hold his own on the outside.
Braden Smith, OL
Braden Smith, whose sister is a shot putter at TCU, has many schools after him. He is a versatile blocker with the ability to play guard or tackle on either side of the line.
Smith, who is 6'6" and 290 pounds, is considering Michigan among several other prominent programs, according to 247Sports. However, he is expected to spurn Brady Hoke's offer and join his sister at TCU.
Smith has explosiveness at the snap and plays big at the point of attack. He displays great physicality and power on the field, while also possessing adequate pull/trap ability. He takes care of his body and plays like a warrior in the trenches.
Clifton Garrett, LB
Clifton Garrett has been on a mission this offseason. The inside linebacker knew he had to improve his ability to cover and play in space after his junior season and he is now on track to convert those prior deficiencies into strengths.
Many Big Ten coaches would love to add a 'backer like Garrett to their roster, however he will not play in the conference. Garrett, who is from Illinois, is expected to sign with an SEC school.
LSU leads Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama and Tennessee, says 247Sports. Garrett, who is 6'2" and 228 pounds, has great ball-location skills. He is dangerous in the box and is one of the hardest hitters in the country.
His style of play is better suited for the SEC.
Jamal Adams, S
Jamal Adams, who has nine interceptions from 2010-2012, is an elite safety prospect who could be special. Urban Meyer agrees with that statement and has made such an impression on Adams that Ohio State is in his top six, per 247Sports
However, Adams, who is Florida receivers coach Joker Phillips' godson, has the Gators and in-state Texas also high on his list. Meyer is drooling at the thought of having Adams potentially play with 2013 signee Vonn Bell and the pair of safeties could rule the Big Ten in Columbus.
Yet, do not expect this dream to come true as Adams could choose Florida, Texas or even Texas A&M.
Adams, who is 6'0" and 199 pounds, is an athletic safety with great speed, instincts and vision. He can play free or strong safety and has the potential to be an All-American.
Leonard Fournette, RB
Leonard Fournette is the most impressive player in the country and has a long list of offers. He is a coveted prospect and recently informed GoBlueWolverine.com that he will take an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor, Mich.
However, Wolverine fans should table their excitement as Fournette still is expected to decide between LSU and Alabama. Texas could be a darkhorse, but he will either be a Tiger or sign with the Crimson Tide.
Fournette, who is 6'1" and 225 pounds, is a load-back with great speed, vision and hands. He can attack a front seven with power, use good quickness to elude a tackler and has an extra gear to run away from defenses. Fournette also has the skills to catch several passes a game.