Top 2015 College Football Recruit Each Big Ten Coach Covets the Most
Recruiting around the Midwest and within the Big Ten can get highly competitive. Each Big Ten coach covets a host of recruits, but chances are their rivals also have their sights set on the same group of prospects.
Recruiting classes are built by acquiring multiple players, but each coach has that one potential crowning jewel he absolutely loves. A linebacker is a favorite of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, while the same goes for Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio.
Plus, one Big Ten coach already has a commitment from the recruit he covets the most.
Gary Andersen, Wisconsin
Coveted recruit: Jon Dietzen, OL
Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen is a defensive line coach at heart, so he knows how important it is to have depth and talent in the trenches. That's why 4-star offensive lineman Jon Dietzen is the prospect Andersen covets the most.
Dietzen, who is from Wisconsin, is 6'5" and 330 pounds. He is a solid athlete for a player his size, plus he is heavy-handed when punching targets. The Badgers are known for producing great blockers, and Dietzen would be a terrific fit.
Kyle Flood, Rutgers
Coveted recruit: Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB
Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood has to start locking up the top talent in his state more often. That's why 5-star cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick is his most coveted recruit.
The New Jersey native is a 6'0", 185-pound cover man who has good strength to press receivers at the line. Fitzpatrick also plays smart on the perimeter, evidenced by his great instincts and awareness in coverage. It may be tough to convince him to head to Piscataway, but Flood has to stay on him.
Darrell Hazell, Purdue
Coveted recruit: Brandon Knight, OT
Purdue is in no position to be quite picky on the recruiting trail. The Boilermakers need to increase their talent level, and head coach Darrell Hazell knows that.
A player like 3-star offensive tackle Brandon Knight would help. At 6'5" and 265 pounds, Knight has excellent length in his frame. He needs to get stronger, but he does a good job of using his long arms to keep defenders away from his body when pass-protecting.
James Franklin, Penn State
Coveted recruit: Sterling Jenkins, OT
Penn State head coach James Franklin is already building a great recruiting class, with two solid offensive line commitments. Yet Franklin is likely drooling over 4-star blocker Sterling Jenkins, who is 6'8" and 305 pounds.
Jenkins not only has fantastic size, he can slide and mirror well as a pass-protector. With some polish and good coaching, he could play left tackle in college.
Adam Friedman of Rivals.com (subscription required) wrote on April 4:
The Baldwin (Pa.) star was considering seven schools but now only Penn State and Ohio State remain as contenders.
Urban Meyer, Ohio State
Coveted recruit: Torrance Gibson, QB
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is a firm believer in the spread-option offense. The system requires a dual-threat quarterback who can pierce defenses with his arm and legs.
Torrance Gibson, a 5-star quarterback from Florida, is an ideal prospect for the Buckeyes' offense. Meyer would love to have him in Columbus, where the 6'4", 200-pound lefty would be able to pilot Ohio State's offensive attack with his great athleticism and arm talent.
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
Coveted recruit: David Dowell, WR
Among the most respected head coaches in the conference, Pat Fitzgerald will continue adding the best talent he can find as head coach of Northwestern.
Fitzgerald would be wise to stay on 4-star receiver David Dowell, who hails from Ohio. At 6'1" and 180 pounds, Dowell displays above-average speed and quickness to separate from cornerbacks. He has great ball skills, which helps him when he attacks throws in traffic with his hands.
Bo Pelini, Nebraska
Coveted recruit: Avery Anderson, CB
A defensive-minded head coach, Nebraska's Bo Pelini is as intense as they come. His most coveted recruit this year actually is already committed to his program.
Avery Anderson, a 4-star cornerback who plays in Colorado, pledged to Big Red on Feb. 2. At 6'0" and 174 pounds, Anderson is a big cover man who has solid athleticism and strength. There's a chance Pelini slides him inside to safety in Lincoln.
Jerry Kill, Minnesota
Coveted recruit: Jashon Cornell, DE
Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill was able to keep his state's top prospect home in 2014, as he signed 4-star running back Jeff Jones.
Kill is trying to do it again in 2015. This time, his top target is 5-star defensive end Jashon Cornell. At 6'4" and 270 pounds, Cornell combines good size with athleticism to terrorize offenses off the edge. He also has the strength to kick inside and rush over guards as a defensive tackle on passing downs.
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
Coveted recruit: Ricky DeBerry, OLB
With Michigan State coming off a Rose Bowl victory thanks to its defense, head coach Mark Dantonio is certainly going to make sure the unit continues to play at a high level.
Virginia native and 4-star linebacker Ricky DeBerry would help. DeBerry, who is 6'2.5" and 245 pounds, has outstanding instincts and ball-location skills. He sheds blocks with power at the point of attack, and he has impressive short-area quickness to close.
Brady Hoke, Michigan
Coveted recruit: George Campbell, WR
Formerly committed to Michigan, 5-star receiver George Campbell is still wanted in Ann Arbor. Brady Hoke has recruited well since becoming head coach of the Wolverines, but he hasn't signed many elite receiver prospects.
Campbell, who is from Florida, would be a difference-maker for Big Blue. The 6'3", 184-pounder has excellent speed and athleticism, and he can race by defenders after the catch.
Randy Edsall, Maryland
Coveted recruit: Jalen Christian, ATH
It's only a matter of time before Maryland head coach Randy Edsall has to replace talented receiver Stefon Diggs. Edsall would be smart to get Diggs' replacement in this recruiting cycle, and 4-star athlete Jalen Christian has what it takes to fulfill that role.
Although he's not very big at 5'10" and 165 pounds, the Maryland native is a fantastic run-after-catch specialist. Christian has great speed and elusiveness with the ball, and he can also help as a returner.
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
Coveted recruit: Justin Hilliard, LB
Kirk Ferentz is known for his ability to develop offensive linemen, but Iowa's head coach has a linebacker as his most coveted recruit.
That linebacker is the one and only Justin Hilliard, a 4-star prospect from Cincinnati. At 6'2" and 230 pounds, Hilliard has impressive range and speed. He can play outside or inside, plus he helps a ton in coverage.
Kevin Wilson, Indiana
Coveted recruit: Darrin Hall, RB
Kevin Wilson is an offensive-minded head coach who can get creative with his schemes and play-calling. Indiana would benefit from the combination of Wilson's offensive creativity and the speed of 4-star running back Darrin Hall.
The 6'0", 205-pounder has steadily put on more size throughout his high school career while keeping his good speed. Hall is an athletic runner who can dance and dodge around defenders, plus he's a solid option as a receiver out of the backfield.
Tim Beckman, Illinois
Coveted recruit: Miles Boykin, WR
A 4-star receiver, Miles Boykin is the most coveted prospect for Illinois head coach Tim Beckman. At 6'4" and 212 pounds, Boykin isn't a speedster, but he has good hands and is physical.
Boykin has the strength to bully cornerbacks as a blocker, plus he out-muscles them for 50-50 balls. He would be a candidate for early playing time if he signed with Illinois.