Power Ranking Top 25 2015 College Football Recruits from Big Ten Country
The 2015 class features a ton of great recruits who hail from Big Ten country. Typically, Big Ten country consists of the states in the Midwest, but the region has expanded in 2014.
Maryland and Rutgers are set to join the Big Ten, so prospects from New Jersey and Maryland will be included on this list. While rankings will fluctuate throughout the recruiting cycle, this will be a current rundown of who the top players are from Big Ten country.
A 4-star athlete is one of the top players on this list, while a 5-star defensive end from Illinois is also ranked high. Plus, the ranking of an underrated cornerback from Philadelphia may be a surprise.
25. Josh Barajas, LB
At 6'3" and 210 pounds, Josh Barajas is a solid 4-star linebacker who can play on all three downs. The Indiana native is an athletic second-level defender who can cover running backs and tight ends on passing plays.
Barajas has solid awareness and instincts, plus his great speed helps him play with terrific range. He will be a key defensive player for Penn State in a few years.
24. Isaiah Prince, OT
Isaiah Prince is nowhere near being close to a complete player. However, his upside is through the roof. Prince is a 6'6", 275-pound athletic offensive tackle from Maryland who moves like a receiver.
He can dance with rushers in space, plus he recovers with ease. Prince's technique needs polish and refinement, but that will come with college coaching. He could develop into a left tackle at the next level.
Maryland, Florida, Ohio State and Penn State are the 4-star recruit's main favorites, per 247Sports.
23. Juwan Johnson, WR
State: New Jersey
Although he doesn't possess blazing speed, 4-star receiver Juwan Johnson does have solid short-area quickness out of his breaks. At 6'4" and 200 pounds, he uses his size to shield defenders away from balls before he snatches passes with his hands.
Johnson also is a terror on fades, as he high-points 50-50 balls on a consistent basis. Much of his damage at Penn State will come in the intermediate passing game.
22. Ryan Bates, OT
Another Penn State commit, Ryan Bates is a 4-star offensive lineman who will be a starter one day for the Nittany Lions. He is a tough blocker who will have started games at both guard and tackle before he leaves Happy Valley.
Bates, who is 6'5" and 280 pounds, has solid quickness at the snap to engage with defensive linemen. He punches sharply upon contact, plus he slides with defenders well when engaged.
He's a good one.
21. Michael Weber, RB
Hailing from Detroit, Michael Weber may be the best running back in the Midwest. He plays for powerhouse Cass Technical in Michigan, where he uses natural vision and instincts to gain yards.
The 5'10", 205-pounder has great acceleration through holes, which gets him to the second level in a hurry. Weber has good elusiveness to dodge defenders, plus he's not bad at all in the passing game.
Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Tennessee are key schools in the 4-star runner's recruitment, according to 247Sports.
20. Shaun Crawford, CB
At 5'9.5" and 170 pounds, Shaun Crawford isn't the biggest cornerback in the country. Yet, he's still one of the best.
The 4-star prospect has excellent quickness and cover skills. Crawford is comfortable sitting off a receiver, as he has loose hips and good vision. He also can match quick receivers in the slot, which is specifically where he could contribute early in his career at Michigan.
19. Adam McLean, DT
Adam McLean is a 4-star defensive tackle who is one of the most powerful players in the country at the point of attack. The 6'2", 290-pounder has impressive quickness at the snap, but he is a heavy-handed puncher.
McLean also appears to have several different moves in his pass-rush arsenal. He understands how to have a plan before the ball is snapped, plus he plays with solid leverage.
He is committed to Penn State.
18. Tristen Hoge, OL
Idaho isn't known for producing 4-star college football recruits, but Tristen Hoge is a rare one from the state. He is a versatile blocker who can play every position across the offensive front.
At 6'5" and 287 pounds, Hoge has solid quickness and strength. He displays excellent toughness at the point of attack, as he never backs down from anyone in the trenches.
Hoge's good short-area quickness and awareness could lead Notre Dame's coaching staff to have him play center.
17. Jalen Christian, ATH
Jalen Christian is a 4-star offensive weapon from Maryland. Yet, he can also help a team as a cornerback.
Christian, who is 5'10" and 165 pounds, is an explosive athlete. He can play receiver or running back on offense, where his elusiveness with the ball is always on full display.
Schools such as South Carolina, Duke and Maryland are in the mix, says 247Sports.
16. Hale Hentges, TE
Missouri may compete in the SEC, but the state is still part of the Midwest. That means it's still considered a part of Big Ten country, and coaches in the conference are not going to stay out of it when recruiting.
That also means a 4-star prospect such as Hale Hentges is included on this list.
The 6'6", 230-pounder is a tight end who also has the quickness to rush passers as a defensive end. Ohio State is the favorite for Hentges, per 247Sports.
15. Larry Scott, RB
At 6'0" and 205 pounds, Larry Scott is a talented 4-star running back from Ohio who can wear down defenses.
Scott has quick feet, plus he exhibits solid balance and vision with the ball. He makes solid decisions behind the line of scrimmage, and Scott also has the speed to make long runs. He could weigh 230 pounds before he leaves college.
Michigan State, West Virginia and Ohio State are among his favorites, according to 247Sports.
14. Hjalte Froholdt, DT
At 6'4" and 282 pounds, Froholdt has an incredible motor. He plays full tilt on every snap, plus he has great quickness. The Arkansas commit is also a tough player who can play with strength and power at the point of attack.
Look for him to get time at both defensive end and defensive tackle in Fayetteville.
Dawson wrote on April 10, "He became a national recruit on the basis of his sophomore season at Warren G. Harding High in Warren, Ohio."
13. Alex Ofodile, WR
A 4-star receiver, Alex Ofodile has smooth athleticism and great length. He isn't the quickest off the line, but he has enough lateral quickness to work his way around jams.
The 6'3", 185-pounder is a good route-runner who separates from defenders in a solid manner. His long arms allow him to pluck passes on the move, plus he runs with adequate vision after the catch.
Missouri is his leader, says 247Sports.
12. Brandon Wimbush, QB
State: New Jersey
Although he is raw, Brandon Wimbush is a 4-star dual-threat quarterback from New Jersey with a lot of talent. He has excellent arm strength, plus he can be dangerous as a runner with the ball.
Wimbush, who is 6'2" and 205 pounds, can threaten the third level of a defense from the pocket due to having a cannon for an arm. He can rifle throws into tight windows, but Wimbush also has the athleticism to escape traffic when things break down in the pocket.
Ohio State, Penn State and Miami are among his top suitors, according to 247Sports.
11. Steven Gonzalez, OL
State: New Jersey
Among the best run-blockers in the country, Steven Gonzalez will be a starting offensive lineman for Penn state soon enough.
The 6'3", 300-pounder fires out quickly at the snap, plus he has great strength at the point of attack. Gonzalez gets nasty when he makes contact, as he drives his feet and just grinds away. He will be a beloved blocker in Happy Valley.
10. Brian Cole, ATH
A 4-star athlete, Brian Cole is a versatile player who could wind up at several different positions in college. Running back and receiver are his main positions, but don't sleep on him playing safety.
Cole, who is 6'2" and 190 pounds, has deceptive strength. He can break tackles with the ball in his hands, and the Michigan native also displays above-average speed. Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan are battling for him, says 247Sports.
9. Eric Glover-Williams, CB/ATH
An Ohio State commit, Eric Glover-Williams is as explosive and sudden as any recruit on this list. He has the speed and short-area quickness to play cornerback, but he may be too good with the ball in his hands to not play offense in Columbus.
Glover-Williams is 5'11" and 165 pounds, plus he's awfully elusive. He's a terror in space who can return kicks and punts in an impressive manner. It will be interesting to see if he actually plays cornerback for the Buckeyes.
8. Drew Lock, QB
Drew Lock is a 4-star quarterback who has decided to stay home and play for Missouri. He has terrific size at 6'5" and 195 pounds, plus his arm strength is his best asset.
Lock can stand tall in the pocket to look over the rush. He shoots throws with tremendous velocity to all areas of the field, oftentimes proving to be a classic gunslinger. Lock should be a productive passer in the Tigers' spread offense.
7. John Reid, CB
Other lists may have John Reid lower, but the Philadelphia native deserves to be ranked this high. He is a fantastic cover corner who can be left alone on an island on the perimeter.
Reid, who is 5'10" and 180 pounds, has loose hips to impressively transition out of his backpedal. He rarely circles to close on balls, plus he works with good instincts and anticipation.
Notre Dame, Alabama, Penn State and Miami are among schools in the hunt for Reid, according to 247Sports.
6. Jerome Baker, ATH
From Cleveland, Jerome Baker is a 4-star athlete who can play linebacker or running back. He operates as a power runner with deceptive quickness on offense, but his future may be on defense.
Baker can attack the line of scrimmage sharply after the snap, plus he has the range to track running backs to the sidelines. The 6'1", 205-pounder also has the speed and athleticism to stick with tight ends and running backs in coverage.
Florida, Ohio State and Tennessee are his top schools, says 247Sports.
5. Sterling Jenkins, OT
At 6'8" and 305 pounds, Sterling Jenkins already has the size of a college offensive lineman. The Pittsburgh native could weigh more than 320 pounds in a few seasons.
Jenkins is a good athlete for his size, plus he slides well when mirroring rushers in his pass sets. He's athletic enough to play left tackle, but he can reach linebackers in his track on running plays as a right tackle.
Jenkins is pretty much down to Ohio State and Penn State, according to 247Sports.
4. Jashon Cornell, DE
A 4-star defensive end, Jashon Cornell can play on both the weak side and strong side. The Minnesota native also has the size and strength to play defensive tackle on passing downs.
Cornell is a 6'4", 270-pounder who has good short-area quickness in pursuit. He can anchor versus offensive tackles and tight ends versus running plays on the edge, plus he has the pass-rushing ability to pressure passers.
Many schools are in the race for Cornell, including Notre Dame and Michigan, per 247Sports.
3. Terry Beckner Jr., DE
At 6'4" and 293 pounds, 5-star defensive end Terry Beckner Jr. has the size of a defensive tackle. He has good strength at the point of attack, which is where offensive linemen and tight ends learn just how heavy the Illinois native's hands are.
Beckner is a solid athlete who can pursue the ball well. He displays good quickness at the snap, plus he's a monster when he converts speed to power as a pass-rusher.
Missouri is leading several others, according to 247Sports.
2. Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB
State: New Jersey
Minkah Fitzpatrick is a 5-star cornerback who is committed to Alabama. He possesses great awareness and instincts in coverage, and he can effectively play zone and press man.
Fitzpatrick, who is 6'0" and 185 pounds, has just enough speed to run with receivers downfield. He has good anticipation when he's in trail position, plus Fitzpatrick doesn't get fooled often by different route combinations in zone schemes.
1. Justin Hilliard, OLB
Justin Hilliard is a 5-star linebacker from Cincinnati who can play inside or outside. He's tough at the point of attack, plus the Ohio native has excellent range on the second level.
Hilliard, who is 6'2" and 230 pounds, has a quick first step to fill alleys versus running plays. He also has the athleticism and speed to chase running backs across the box.
Versus passing plays, Hilliard can buzz into his drops with depth, and his speed helps him stay with running backs and tight ends in the intermediate passing game.
Notre Dame, Michigan and Iowa are thick in the mix, according to the experts at 247Sports.