Midwest staying strong with big-time O-Line commits

Originally Published: August 15, 2008
By Bill Kurelic | Special to ESPN.com

Much is made about the speed and skill position talent in the SEC while the Big Ten is often thought to have more than its share of the big guys up front doing the blocking. The destinations of a number of the offensive linemen in the ESPNU 150 proves perception may in fact be reality. Of the 20 offensive linemen in the ESPNU 150, 14 have selected a college and five are headed to a college in the Midwest.

[+] EnlargeJack Mewhort
Courtesy Bucknuts.comOhio State commit Jack Mewhort ranks as the No. 1 center in the 2009 class.
Chris Watt (No. 68) has committed to Notre Dame. David Barrent (No. 69) is headed to Michigan State. Eric Shrive (No. 72) will stay in-state and play for Joe Paterno at Penn State. Zach Martin (No. 105) will join Watt at Notre Dame. Jack Mewhort (No. 122) will head south from Toledo to play his college football, but not too far south. Mewhort committed to Ohio State in December.

A sixth, Marcus Hall, seems likely to play his college football in the Midwest. Hall says Ohio State, Michigan and LSU are his top three choices at this point, and of the three, LSU is the one school that was not among his top four choices a month ago. At this point it seems much more likely that Hall plays his college football in the Big Ten rather than the SEC.

The Big Ten also isn't doing too badly in terms of wide receiver commitments. There are 18 wide receivers in the ESPNU 150 and half of them have selected a college. Of the nine that have made a commitment, five are headed to Big Ten schools.

Bryce McNeal (No. 65) is headed to Michigan. Terry Hawthorne (No. 83) and Kraig Appleton (No. 108) have committed to Illinois. Keenan Davis (No. 111) selected Iowa. Duron Carter (No. 150) is headed north from the state of Florida to play at his father Cris' alma mater, Ohio State.

Midwest Notes

One outstanding prospect not headed to the Big Ten is running back David Oku (Midwest City, Okla./Carl Albert). The No. 123 prospect in the ESPNU 150 decided against making official visits to either Michigan or Illinois and took those two Midwest schools off his list. Oku has official visits scheduled to Florida State, Tennessee and Nebraska.

Tate Forcier
Forcier FamilyCalifornia quarterback Tate Forcier could be headed to the Big Ten.
Quarterback Tate Forcier (San Diego/Scripps Ranch) has official visits scheduled to Michigan the weekend of August 30 when the Wolverines play Utah and Penn State the weekend of Sept. 27 when the Nittany Lions play Illinois in a night game. Forcier is also considering scholarship offers from Florida, Oregon and Texas A&M, but it would not be surprising to see Forcier's decision come down to one of the two Big Ten schools.

Here are five Class of 2010 Ohio prospects to keep an eye on: Jamel Turner, who (Youngstown, Ohio/Ursuline) already has verbal scholarship offers from Ohio State, Illinois, Michigan State and Akron, offensive lineman Matt James (Cincinnati/St. Xavier), defensive end Darryl Baldwin (Cleveland/Solon), offensive lineman Andrew Norwell (Cincinnati/Anderson) and defensive end Derrick Bryant (Columbus, Ohio/Brookhaven).

ALSO SEE