Midwest Recruiting Notebook

Ohio State flipped two commitments yesterday, will this be a trend? Plus we take a look around the rest of the Big Ten and MAC in this week's notebook.

A History of Flipping
Yesterday, Ohio State secured commitments from two players that were verbally committed to other Big Ten schools, Canton McKinley (Ohio) defensive end Se'Von Pittman from Michigan State and Glenbard West (Ill.) defensive tackle Tommy Schutt from Tommy Schutt, the two first commitments in the Urban Meyer era.

Of course, fans of the schools who were pilfered are already tweeting to hide the kids and hide the wives, 'cause Urban and company are leaving no stone unturned. This is what tends to happen when a coach takes a job though. Rich Rodriguez flipped Michael Shaw and Roy Roundtree in his first year in an effort to fill the class out. Will it be a trend? I don't believe so, because next year, Meyer likely won't need to be flipping anybody. He'll be in on these kids from the start.

Earlier this year, it was the Buckeyes who had one leave, as Kyle Kalis famously switched his commitment from Ohio State to Michigan. Last year, Mika'il McCall switched from Michigan State to Iowa. And dare I say, I have word that we're not done yet this year with recruits going from Big Ten school to Big Ten school. All's fair in love, and war and recruiting. Until the kids are signed on the dotted line, coaches can do as they please, and just as they have that right, fans on message boards and Twitter certainly withhold the right to call them all the names they want.


Breaking Down Recent Commitments

  • Tommy Schutt (Ohio State): 6'3, 310-lb kid that started out his high school career as a running back believe it or not. He's moved all over the field from playing end and even standing up over the center in a Bill Bellichick type move by Glenbard West last year. For a big, wide kid, he's light on his feet and coordinated. His biggest challenge will be learning to play inside, as he hasn't consistently played there. He's built like a nose, and I imagine, he'll end up playing there and what he'll have to learn is that, at that position, tying people up, and not always making plays is just as important. He's a guy you'll see in the backfield a lot though and his motor never stops running.

  • Se'Von Pittman (Ohio State): Fantastic pass rusher with fine athleticism and has a college ready frame. He'll have to round his game out, as he's a pure rush guy right now, but that's a skill that can help him play early on passing downs. I think, if you lump him in with last year's ends Ohio State got, he's the best pass rusher of the bunch, but the other guys are more well rounded at the moment. All in all, Kenny Hayes, Steve Miller, Adolphus Washington and Pittman is a pretty strong two year haul.

  • Kevin Buford (Iowa): A Toledo flip, Buford's strong senior season earned him the late Big Ten interest. He's been a standout running back and return man as well, but will play cornerback for the Hawkeyes and may get a shot doing return work as well. He's not the biggest guy at 5'9, 170-lbs, but he's smart, has good ball skills and instincts and that's exactly what you think of when you think Iowa cornerbacks. The guy Hawkeye fans should remember is Jovon Johnson. He wasn't the biggest guy either, and out of high school, his only other offer was Kent State.

  • Wes Johnson (Ball State): A defensive end from Grand Rapids Christian (Mich.), Johnson is a guy that I think, would have gotten a lot more attention if he was just a little bigger. As it stands, he's a smooth, athletic pass rusher that really gets after it. He'll have to add some weight as he's only around 215-220 right now, but he can definitely play.

  • Faith Ekakitie (Iowa): The Lake Forest Academy defensive tackle made his choice last week, and like I said about Schutt above, this is another guy that will move inside from the outside. He's gone from middle linebacker to end and projects to tackle in college. He has the body and has the tools to make the transition, but he'll have to pick up on the technique and get used to being more physical, as he won't be just running around the edge anymore. He's an athletic, talented kid with great work ethic though. More than likely, I think he'll be redshirted, but you can't ever count out a kid that is smart and works at it like he does. He will have to also adjust to going up against bigger, stronger players, although he did matchup against fellow commit Ryan Ward and some other top players this year.

  • Connor Collins (Central Michigan): A physical, 6'4, 275-lb guard prospect, Collins was an All-State tackle this year for Millington High. He's a sleeper lineman that not came on the radar late, but that's just the type of guy that has succeeded on the offensive line for the Chippewas in recent years. Eric Fisher, an All-MAC selection this season, had only one other offer, from Eastern Michigan, and is now being considered as an NFL prospect.


    Around the Big Ten

    Northwestern: The Wildcats are still in the market for a linebacker and Ifeadi Odenigbo, the four-star from Centerville still has the Cats high on his list. It may come down to Stanford and Northwestern for him. We also are hearing they have a great shot with Massachusetts product Abner Logan.
    Ohio State: What's next for the Buckeyes after yesterday's big day? Kyle Dodson took his official visit as well over the weekend, and the Wisconsin commitment did not de-commit, but told Scout he had a good time on his visit. Dodson, Nick Davidson and Jordan Diamond would be a dream haul to end the offensive line class. The other big priority is hanging on to Brionte Dunn, who may take an official to Michigan this week. Recently, another four-star prospect, OLB David Perkins set a January official with Ohio State and these days, you just never know which new names will pop up with the Buckeyes.
    Michigan: Only a few spots left for the Wolverines, and we're sure that at least one will be a wide receiver and one will be an offensive lineman. The Wolverines have hit the offensive line hard. They checked in with Las Vegas four-star Jeremiah Poutasi today, and we hear more top offensive linemen are being visited tomorrow. Even though Missouri wide receiver Jehu Chesson takes an official to Iowa this weekend, we still feel Michigan is the team to beat there. Then there is Brionte Dunn. Will he visit this weekend? That still remains to be seen, but even if it gets reschedule, we hear Dunn is committed to making it to campus with his mom and that a delay would be because he is no longer enrolling early and has more time to make a decision.
    Michigan State: Which defensive end will the Spartans pursue now that Se'Von Pittman is off to Ohio State? We hear there has been contact between MSU and Pharaoh Brown, the former Michigan commit, but no visit has been set there. David Perkins, who has the Spartans in his top five, is still a possibility. We saw Perkins and Pittman side by side at the Columbus NIKE Camp and in terms of pass rush ability, the two were very similar. Colorado commit Kisima Jagne is another possibility. The Spartans host a junior day this weekend. Cameron Dillard has already confirmed and we hear Indianapolis area standouts Antonio Allen, Darius Latham and Tim Kimbrough have been invited along with Fort Wayne Bishop Luers linebacker Jaylon Smith.
    Illinois: New head coach Tim Beckman and his staff did a great job recruiting at Toledo, and their ties to the state of Illinois should help in Champaign. The Rockets have three commits from the state and were among the first to recruit or offer top prospects like Tevin Coleman. The presence of Beckman and possibly some of his assistants who recruited the area, could help the Illini get back in with kids like Coleman or Anthony Standifer, the former Michigan commit who held an early offer from the Rockets.
    Iowa: The Hawkeyes will host Jehu Chesson this weekend, and bringing in another receiver in this class is key. Iowa also offered Tevaun Smith over the weekend, and we hear there is still some contact between the Hawkeyes and Central Michigan commit Jordan Fields, who visited earlier in the fall and had a big season as a receiver even though he was recruited largely as a safety.
    Indiana: Head coach Kevin Wilson was in the Indianapolis area recently. He stopped to see Brownsburg junior Chase Dutra and also spent the day over at Warren Central where two of his commits, Kevin Davis and Jordan Wallace reside. The school also has several other FBS prospects in their junior, sophomore and freshman classes.
    Wisconsin: One Midwest prospect we hear the Badgers have turned the heat up on is Birmingham Brother Rice (Mich.) linebacker Jon Reschke. Reschke holds offers from Michigan State and Toledo, and we're told the Badgers have invited him up to a January junior day and have been in increased contact.
    Minnesota: The Gophers have go back in after Anthony Standifer from Crete-Monee, who held a Gopher offer. Defensive line coach Jeff Phelps is a Crete-Monee alum. We hear Phelps was also recently in the Indianapolis area, and made a stop at Warren Central among other schools.
    Penn State: Still without a running back in the 2012 class, we hear the Nittany Lions reached out to a few Midwestern backs recently, including West Bloomfield's C.J. Brathwaite, who subsequently committed to Washington State.
    Nebraska: One 2013 prospect to watch is Cooper (Minn.) safety Malik Rucker. His father Charles played for Nebraska in the eighties and his brother Xavier is on the team now. Xavier stands 5'7, but Malik is 6'1, 175-lbs and is a vicious hitter on tape. There has already been contact and after posting 53 tackles (ten for loss) and two interceptions as a junior, the younger Rucker is slowly creeping onto the radar.
    Purdue: Birmingham Brother Rice (Mich.) linebacker Jon Reschke (mentioned above) says Purdue invited him to a bowl practice, but because of his hockey schedule, he will not be able to make it. However, he plans to visit West Lafayette in January.


    Other Notes

    Wheaton St. Francis (Ill.) junior offensive lineman Kyle Bosch reports a new offer from Boston College.

    Flint Powers (Mich.) junior quarterback Garrett Pougnet, who scored six touchdowns in the state title game, says Cincinnati was in school today.

    Peoria Manual (Ill.) junior offensive tackle Logan Tuley-Tillman will head to Notre Dame for a bowl practice with the Irish over this weekend.

    Illinois commit Cody Quinn, from Middletown (Ohio) visited West Virginia over the weekend.


    Sleeper of the Week

    Macomb Dakota (Mich.) senior tight end Jeremy Byers had a great senior season. At 6'4, 220-lbs, he runs well and has good hands. Northern Colorado, Grand Valley State and Saginaw Valley State have all offered scholarships and we hear there is still some late FBS interest.


    Underclassman of the Week

    Gary Jones, a junior at Allegan (Mich.) is a kid I really liked on tape. He's long at 6'2, 185-lbs and is a 200m champion in track and a varsity basketball player. He could play receiver or defensive back at the next level. Great frame, great athlete, and a lot of potential there. Allegan's not a school that pumps out talent though, so he'll have to be proactive on the camp circuit.

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