Every Big Ten Team's Biggest Competitor for Its Top 2014 Recruit Target
The Big Ten Conference has a competitive recruiting trail, and its schools also have to deal with neighboring Notre Dame lurking around its recruiting targets.
Ohio State and Michigan have the ability to recruit nationally, but even the two powerful Big Ten programs have to fend off other schools.
Speaking of Big Blue, the Wolverines are fighting two prominent SEC programs for a defensive end. Penn State has high hopes for a big defensive tackle, and Minnesota is trying to keep its top committed prospect away from its conference rivals.
Top Target: Jalen Brown, WR
Brown would be the crowing jewel in the Badgers' recruiting class, as landing the 4-star receiver from Arizona would give Wisconsin's offense a rare elite prospect on the perimeter.
Brown, who is 6'2" and 187 pounds, has solid build-up speed, athletic ability and a large catch radius. He is not a speedy receiver, but don't label him a possession guy.
Vanderbilt appears to be the Badgers' main competition for him, according to 247Sports.
Top Target: Renell Wren, DE
With his great strength and power, Wren could be a cornerstone player for Purdue. He is a 3-star defensive end who is 6'5" and 245 pounds.
The Missouri native can stack blocks, power through tight ends and shed to make tackles. He could add more bulk and become a defensive tackle for the Boilermakers.
Schools such as Kansas, Michigan State and Nebraska stand in Purdue's way, per 247Sports.
Penn State Nittany Lions
Top Target: Thomas Holley, DT
Although Holley has limited experience as a football player, the Brooklyn defender is one of the best prospects in America.
At 6'4" and 285 pounds, he has explosiveness at the snap, plays like a giant at the point of attack and flashes the skills to play tackle in a 4-3 scheme or end in a 3-4 alignment.
Notre Dame and Ohio State are also in the mix for the 4-star defensive tackle, says 247Sports.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Top Target: Raekwon McMillan, LB
McMillan is a 6'2" inside/middle linebacker who weighs 242 pounds. The Georgia defender is a powerful player who does not shy away from contact and hits like a truck.
McMillan has good instincts, reacts quickly to running plays and can fire into alleys to challenge running backs. The 5-star 'backer could make an instant impact in college.
Alabama, Clemson and Florida will try to keep him from being a Buckeye, according to 247Sports.
Top Target: Parrker Westphal, CB
A smart cornerback who quickly diagnoses route combinations, Westphal would be a great fit at Northwestern. He is a 6'0", 186-pound cornerback who excels in zone coverage, but he can also match up in man-to-man situations.
Michigan, Vanderbilt and Arizona State are competition for the 4-star cornerback, according to 247Sports. If Westphal signs with the Wildcats, he should see the field early due to his size and instincts.
Top Target: Peyton Newell, DT
Newell, who is 6'2" and 282 pounds, fits the mold of Nebraska football due to his strength and toughness.
He has average quickness off the ball, but he can get under a guard's pads and hold his ground in the trenches. The 3-star defensive tackle has a great motor, hustles and brings his lunch pail to each game.
Nebraska's toughest competition is South Carolina, says 247Sports.
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Top Target: Jeff Jones, RB
Jones is already committed to Minnesota, but the Gophers are going to have to recruit him like he is still on the market. The 5'11", 196-pound running back has good speed, runs tough inside and has deceptive quickness.
With Minnesota being a dormant program in the Big Ten, many rival schools will attempt to get in Jones' ear. Michigan State, Iowa and Iowa State still keep tabs on the 4-star runner, reports Allen Trieu of Scout.com (subscription required).
Michigan State Spartans
Top Target: Malik McDowell, DL
The Spartans annually contend in the Big Ten, thanks to playing solid defense. McDowell could help continue that trend, as the Michigan native is a stud in the defensive trenches.
At 6'7" and 290 pounds, McDowell has the strength to stack a block, anchor and make a mess versus running plays. He can quickly get upfield at the snap as a rusher, and he shows sneaky explosiveness to finish plays.
Michigan is all who stands in the way of the Spartans landing the 4-star prospect, per 247Sports.
Top Target: Da'Shawn Hand, DE
Big Blue needs defensive ends who can get after the quarterback, so Hand would fill an immediate need in Ann Arbor. The Virginia native is a 5-star edge-defender who will play immediately in college.
Hand, who is 6'4" and 254 pounds, can play over tight ends and set the edge versus running plays. He flashes the ability to use his mitts as weapons, is strong at the point of attack and can menace a passer.
Michigan's stiffest competition will come from Alabama and Florida, per 247Sports.
Top Target: Brian Wallace, OT
Wallace is an underrated 4-star tackle with great athleticism and agility. He has the potential to be used on pulls, traps and down-blocks.
It is remarkable to see the 6'6", 297-pounder move so easily in the trenches. He has much to work on, but Wallace's movement skills, along with being tutored by head coach Kirk Ferentz, could make him an All-Big Ten blocker at Iowa.
Unless he signs with Alabama, Ohio State, Arkansas or Nebraska, as he also like those four schools, according to 247Sports.
Top Target: Lukayus McNeil, OT
A 6'7", 272-pound offensive tackle, McNeil could develop into a cornerstone player in Bloomington. He shows good balance, quick feet and a high ceiling as a tackle.
He is the kind of recruit many bigger programs will wish they had recruited harder in a few seasons. Michigan State is Indiana's biggest competitor for the 3-star prospect, says 247Sports.
Illinois Fighting Illini
Top Target: Adoree' Jackson, CB
Illinois is not the ideal landing spot for many 5-star prospects, but Jackson is originally from the state. He is an electric cornerback who can also play receiver at 5'9.5" and 182 pounds.
Despite his small frame, Jackson has great strength for a skill-position player. He also has outstanding speed, quickness and instincts.
USC, Florida and UCLA are just a few of many schools who Illinois must beat out for Jackson, per 247Sports.