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An early look at 2009 Big Ten recruiting classes

8/18/2008

Much of the Class of 2009 recruiting is done for Big Ten schools. It is not yet the end of August and 24 prospects have already declared they will sign with Ohio State. Penn State has 16 commitments and Michigan State 15. New Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez has 14 commitments and space in his first Wolverine recruiting class is getting tight. Indiana also has 14 commitments, while Ron Zook has rounded up 11 commitments for Illinois.

A look at each commitment list reveals plenty of potential future stars for the conference. Here is a school-by-school look at the key prospects; if a player is in the ESPNU 150, his number on the list is noted.

Ohio State: The Buckeyes currently hold the No. 2 spot in the country among the ESPNU top 10 recruiting classes, so it's not surprising there are a number of outstanding prospects who could be impact players at the next level. Linebacker Dorian Bell is the No. 16 prospect on the ESPNU 150. As Bell gets to Ohio State, the Bucks will lose two starting linebackers in James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, so there will be immediate opportunity. Expect Bell to take advantage, if not right away, eventually. As good as Bell is, fellow linebacker commitment Storm Klein isn't far behind. The Bucks have commitments from two of the country's premier defensive linemen in Melvin Fellows (No. 107) and John Simon. Both are outstanding prospects who already have college bodies. Safety Jamie Wood (No. 93) is a playmaker and C.J. Barnett (No. 73) is one of the country's top cornerback prospects. On the other side of the ball, wide receiver Duron Carter (No. 150) has the talent to carry on the Buckeyes' run of fine wide receivers as does James Jackson. Offensive lineman Jack Mewhort (No. 122) is the highest rated of three fine offensive line commitments the Bucks have landed.

Michigan: Next recruiting season will be Rich Rodriguez' first with a full year to prepare. But he certainly isn't doing a bad job this year. Rodriquez may have his quarterback of the future in either Kevin Newsome (No. 147) from Virginia or Shavodrick Beaver from Texas. If one of those two eventually takes over at the helm for the Wolverines, a good-looking target could be wide receiver Bryce McNeal (No. 65) from Minnesota. On the defensive side of ball tackle William Campbell is an outstanding talent who committed very early to Lloyd Carr and has decided to stay with the Wolverines with Rodriguez at the helm. Justin Turner and Isaiah Bell (No. 91), both from Ohio, are two fine secondary prospects headed to Ann Arbor.

Michigan State: Most of Mark Dantonio's recruiting class is from either Michigan or Ohio. But arguably the top prospect in the class is offensive tackle David Barrent (No. 69), who is from Iowa. Barrent will likely be blocking someday for Edwin Baker (No. 81) and Larry Caper, the top two running backs in the state. Both had offers on the table from Michigan. Linebacker Chris Norman and offensive lineman Blake Treadwell are two other very talented in-state prospects who have selected the Green and White.

Penn State: Joe Paterno has not recruited well overall in Pennsylvania for several years. After losing the state's No. 1 prospect, Terrelle Pryor, to Ohio State last year, Paterno has seen the top guy in-state go with the Buckeyes again this year, Dorian Bell. But Paterno has landed the Keystone State's No. 1 offensive lineman in Eric Shrive (No. 82). He also beat out Jim Tressel for Maryland defensive back Darrell Givens (No. 59), who originally committed to Ohio State before changing to the Nittany Lions. Defensive end Sean Stanley is another good prospect from the state of Maryland who is headed to State College. In all, Paterno has commitments from six prospects from the state of Maryland.

Wisconsin: The top prospect on Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema's commitment list is quarterback Jon Budmayr (No. 143) from Illinois. It is not a good year overall for talent in the state of Wisconsin, but Bielema has landed all four in-state guys he offered including defensive linemen Jordan Kohout and Shelby Harris and offensive lineman Ryan Groy. Brian Wozniak, the top tight end prospect in Ohio, is headed to Madison.

Illinois: Ron Zook has added two outstanding wide receivers to his program in East St. Louis, Ill., teammates Terry Hawthorne (No. 82) and Kraig Appleton (No. 108). Two other in-state prospects of note who will play for the Fighting Illini are offensive lineman Leon Hill and defensive lineman Lendell Buckner, teammates at Chicago Leo. Zook is working the state of Ohio hard and has landed Bud Golden -- a very good running back from Cincinnati.

Minnesota: Gophers coach Tim Brewster signed a very good 2008 class. He isn't doing too bad this year. Brewster has landed quarterback Moses Alipate (No. 119) whose athletic prowess in football, baseball and basketball is almost legendary in the state of Minnesota. Brewster also landed two pretty good running back prospects from the state of Texas including Hasan Lipscomb.

Iowa: Kirk Ferentz lost out to Michigan State for the state's top prospect, David Barrent (No. 69). However the No. 2 prospect in-state, wide receiver Keenan Davis (No. 81), has committed to the Hawkeyes. To this point Ferentz has just four verbal commitments.

Indiana: Indiana coach Bill Lynch has rounded up 15 commitments, most from either in-state or Michigan. Although none of IU's commits are in the ESPNU 150, quarterback Edward Wright-Baker and wide receiver Duwyce Wilson could be a nice combination for the Hoosiers down the road.

Northwestern: Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald has six commitments. The one with the most future star power is quarterback Evan Watkins. Former Northwestern and Cincinnati Bengals tight end Bob Trumpy's nephew, running back Mike Trumpy, is also headed to Northwestern.

Purdue: Like the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Boilermakers have just four commitments. Three of the four are from Florida, including wide receiver Gary Bush who could fit in very well at Purdue.

Bill Kurelic covers recruiting in the Midwest for ESPN.com.