Ohio State highlights Big Ten recruiting
Big Ten Recruiting Breakdown
|1||Steve Miller (Canton, Ohio/McKinley)
The Buckeyes head the Big Ten class rankings and are currently No. 4 in the nation. Ohio State has retained a lot of the state's top talent and flexed its recruiting muscle outside as well. No. 2 overall quarterback Braxton Miller (Huber Heights, Ohio/Wayne) has a powerful arm and is explosive on the ground with his legs. He's one of the better pure quarterback pickups in recent years. DE Miller and four-star OG Michael Bennett (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) are great in-state commitments up front. Recent receiver commit Evan Spencer (Vernon Hills, Ill./Vernon Hills) is a playmaker and one of the best in the Midwest. The Buckeyes also plucked two talented four-star prospects out of Florida -- safety Jeremy Cash (Plantation, Fla./Plantation) and tight end Jeff Heuerman (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier).
|2||Christian Jones (Spring, Texas/Westfield)
The Wildcats made a push for the top 25 in our latest class rankings and are recruiting very well under the energetic Pat Fitzgerald, particularly considering their academic restraints. Jones could be the very first ESPNU 150 prospect signed by the program. His size-to-speed combination is at an upper-tier level. While plucking Jones out of Texas is an impressive feat, the solid depth in this class is just as notable. After Jones, three prospects hover right under the four-star range and are rated in the top 25 at their positions. Offensive tackle Jack Konopka (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd) has the large frame and athleticism to develop into a good one.
|3||Lawrence Thomas (Detroit/ Renaissance)
The Spartans are currently flirting with landing their first top-25 class in the Mark Dantonio era. They have been putting together a quality class that is almost completely made up of three-star talent. The class features a trio of good prospects at linebacker led by lone four-star prospect Thomas, who might end up fitting better at end, as well as high three-star outside linebacker Darien Harris (Hyattsville, Md./ DeMatha Catholic). The Spartans have also landed a pair of good offensive line prospects led by top-10 center prospect Jack Allen (Hinsdale, Ill./ Central).
|4||Jordan Walsh (Glen Ellyn, Ill./ Glenbard West)
Iowa's class currently sits a little outside the top 25 and while not very flashy it represents a solid effort thus far. The class features only two in-state prospects at this time, but they are both good gets. Austin Blythe (Williamsburg, Iowa/Williamsburg) could develop into a good guard or center for the Hawkeyes and tight end Henry Krieger-Coble (Mount Pleasant, Iowa/Mount Pleasant) is a tough kid who can help Iowa move the chains. Walsh gives Iowa another good guard in this class and tight end Ray Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville) gives the Hawkeyes a second good tight end prospect. The Hawkeyes also went to Florida to get a promising quarterback in Jake Rudock (Weston, Fla./Saint Thomas Aquinas).
|5||Delonte Hollowell (Detroit/Cass Tech)
The Wolverines still have work to do if they are going to land another top-25 class. While they sit on the outside looking in, it is not a bad collection of talent, but lacks the impact-type prospects that many are used to seeing Michigan get. The Wolverines have a pair of good cornerback prospects committed, led by in-state product Hollowell. The Wolverines also landed an intriguing quarterback prospect in Kevin Sousa (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona), who is a bit raw at this point, but is a physically impressive kid with upside. Brennen Beyer (Canton, Mich./Plymouth), a top-25 defensive end prospect, will likely fit well at outside linebacker in the Wolverines' scheme, much like current starter Craig Roh has.
|6||Max Pirman (Orrville, Ohio/Orrville)
The Hoosiers have been very busy in the first half of the recruiting calendar. Heading into the season, Indiana already has 21 commits and this class is shaping up to be one of the Hoosiers' stronger classes from top to bottom in recent years. This 2011 class lacks high-end impact type recruits, but does have a solid core of quality prospects, including 14 three-star recruits. A good in-state/hometown pickup was running back D'Angelo Roberts (Bloomington, Ind./North), who is diminutive but well-rounded as a runner. Indiana has also picked up a trio of solid defensive tackles led by Shafer Johnson (Southfield, Mich./ Christian).
|7||Tommy Olson (Mahtomedi, Minn./Mahtomedi)
The recruiting buzz Tim Brewster created a few years ago around the Golden Gophers' program has lessened, but he is still recruiting well. Four-star offensive lineman Olson was a significant in-state land. Minnesota's first commitment for 2011 is ESPN's No. 14-rated guard and an explosive inside run-blocker and trapper. Fellow offensive lineman Kyle McAvoy (Bloomington, Ill./Bloomington) is currently the Gophers' No. 2-rated prospect and is a dominating run-blocker with a finisher's attitude.
|8||Zeph Grimes (Bamberg, S.C./Bamberg-Ehrhardt)
Illinois has failed to put together a top-25 class, after the Illini put together back-to-back top-20 classes in 2007 and 2008. While plenty of time remains, at this point Ron Zook does not look to be on pace to get this class among the nation's best either. Three of the top four prospects are secondary players and two of those project to safety, addressing a need to add some youth there. Both Grimes and Carl Williams (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) are three-star safety prospects from the Southeast. The Illini also have two committed three-star guard prospects in Ted Karras (Indianapolis/Cathedral) and Chris Boles (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic).
|9||Jake Keefer (Baldwin, Wis./ Baldwin-Woodville)
The Badgers are assembling a quality Big Ten class thus far comprised of versatile, jumbo-athlete types. There are several hard-nosed prospects who could get recruited on either side of the ball and be catalysts on special teams. Keefer is an active linebacker prospect who can make plays sideline to sideline and fits the H-back role on offense. Sam Arneson (Merrill, Wis./Merrill) is a well-rounded tight end and overall football player who could get a look at linebacker.
|10||Angelo Mangiro (Succasuna, N.J./Roxbury)
After inking the top class in the Big Ten last year, the Nittany Lions are not off to a fast start in 2011. But they aren't expected to sign a big class. The four prospects they do have committed are of quality, particularly the massive guy up top. Mangiro is one of the top offensive guards in the country and will bring great bulk, explosive strength and toughness to Happy Valley. A trio of three-star defensive ends, without difference-making talents at this stage, rounds out the rest of this class.
|11||Robert Kugler (Wexford, Pa./North Allegheny)
This current class lacks depth, but the Boilermakers do not usually come out of the gates fast. It is a solid group with four out of six committed prospects rated in the mid-to-high three-star range. Kugler is a tough, blue-collar football player who may also garner a look at defensive end. On offense, he lacks size but is a physical blocker and has quality hands. Russell Bellomy (Arlington, Texas/James Martin) is an intriguing quarterback to keep your eye on. He lacks ideal measurables but is an athletic gunslinger with a lot of sought-after intangibles at the position.
Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school levels. Craig Haubert is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has more than a decade of coaching experience.
• Nearly a decade of college coaching experience.
• Was recruiting coordinator at nationally-ranked Division II colleges.