Several new commitments made it a big week for the Big Ten. We take a look at some of them, and update you on other happenings around the Midwest.
Breaking Down the Commits
I have to start with Jason Spriggs and give him some spotlight, because in the midst of all the excitement surrounding Gunner Kiel, the Indiana Hoosiers landed a player that will be key in keeping the nation's top quarterback off his back.
Spriggs, a 6'6, 256-lb tight end, is good enough to play that position at the next level. I've seen him at the Army Combine and the Sound Mind Sound Body camp, as well as on tape, and our consensus was that he was a good receiver that ran well enough to project, not as a field stretcher, but as a move the chains type underneath. In that regard, he could be quite a safety valve for Kiel.
That said, a true left tackle prospect is something the Hoosier class has lacked, and Spriggs can certainly add the weight needed to be the blind side protector. In that regard, this was a great pick up, because his versatility is something that was needed. There was rightfully a lot of hoopla around Kiel, but don't sleep on the other recent commit for Indiana as an impact player either.
Michigan State scored a big time commitment from Farmington Hills Harrison four-star receiver Aaron Burbridge. We saw Burbridge in-game twice last year, in camp twice this summer and on film.
My sources tell me the Spartans, and other schools offered Burbridge simply off of his state championship game tape, where his dominant play helped the Hawks defeat Lowell. Once his full highlight tape got out, it was a done deal. He's an outstanding receiver with great ball skills, body control and route running ability. He's also a great corner, but I think MSU will have him on offense.
There have been many rumors and talk about his academics. I do not know exactly where that stands, but I do think that schools who did not recruit him or offer him because of that will live to regret it. He's a kid who was ranked a little conservatively because of that concern and because he did not get out a ton this summer, but come this season, if he does what we think he will do, he can move up.
Michigan State's other commitment this week, Canton McKinley (Ohio) cornerback Jermaine Edmondson is a kid we like because he plays bigger than his size. He's physical, goes up and challenges for the ball and has solid ball skills. His willingness to put his hands on receivers and throw his body around in run support makes him a good fit in the Spartan defense.
Minnesota kept their state's top prospect, a four-star player with many other BCS offers, and a prospect with a lot of upside this weekend with Blue Earth offensive tackle Jonah Pirsig.
I had a chance to watch him in two games on film as well as his highlight tape. I came away impressed with how light on his feet he was for a 6'9, 305-lb kid. He can pass block right now too. His team runs it a little more than they pass it, but it's no Wing-T. He does pass block in high school.
I think he can improve at playing nastier. He's so big and it sometimes seems easy for him out there, but I wanted to see him dominate a little more and bury some defenders more than he did. That said, upside is high here and for the Gophers to get him and beat out Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and others for him was a great recruiting job by Jerry Kill and company.
Michigan picked up Chris Wormley at their BBQ yesterday. The Toledo Whitmer four-star defensive end is a legitimate 6'5, 260-lbs and has the room to add more weight. He'll be a strongside end, and/or a five-tech early on, but we could see him developing into an inside guy as well. He's a great athlete for that size, running in track (as well as throwing). He's another that we'd like to see pick up the mean streak, but physically, he has all the tools.
Toledo picked up Canton (Mich.) cornerback Kevin Buford and Conant (Ill.) offensive lineman Paul Perschon. Buford, we've seen several times and were particularly impressed with him down in Dallas at the National 7 on 7s. He's a good cover man who had six other MAC offers. Good get for the Rockets. Perschon has been getting better and better. He's tackle, but with his big body and style of play, we project him more inside. He could go either way though, as his pass blocking has been improving steadily. Nice class for the Rockets so far.
Bowling Green added to their class in a big way recently, picking up three of the Michigan's best in Holt offensive tackle Ben Steward, Detroit Crockett cornerback James White and Plymouth linebacker Tyler Goble. Steward is 6'7, 305-lbs with a lot of potential. He's an interior guy in high school, but may move outside in college, a fairly rare move, but one we think he can make based on what he did this summer. White is a steal. He's a big corner with great man to man skills and physicality. If all goes right, he'll be a multi-year starter for them. Goble is an athletic linebacker who impressed us with his ability to run and cover this summer. His brother Ronnie is a Falcon as well and we think Tyler has a chance to be an impact player.
Northern Illinois picked up Romeoville (Ill.) linebacker Perez Ford, a hybrid guy who is a good edge rusher. He's a tweener, but so was Larry English. I'm not saying Ford will be a first round pick like English, but he's a similar type of player. We saw him get the best of some Big Ten commits last summer at camps.
Ball State added Lyndhurst (Ohio) Brush's Carlutorbantu Zaramo, a player that can play either side of the ball in college. We saw him in person and while he's not quite his listed 6'4, he's an athletic, powerful kid. He's a nice kid and a great student, but he has the ability to flip a switch when he gets out on the field. He has some technical work to do, but he's a good pick up for the Cardinals. They added another Ohio interior guy, Vandalia-Butler's Miles Eaton. We saw him this spring and he's a thick, stocky kid who is very strong and powerful in the run game.
News and Notes
The Semper Fidelis All-American Game continues to add top Midwest talent, adding Mount Carmel (IL) defensive tackle Vontrell Williams, Chicago Curie (IL) defensive back-receiver Maurice Fleming, and Warren Central (IN) DT Sheldon Day to its roster this week.
Another prospect slated to be in the game is Chicago Simeon (IL) five-star offensive tackle Jordan Diamond, who is visiting Iowa today. His fellow statesman, Edwardsville (IL) defensive tackle Vincent Valentine was in Iowa City yesterday.
Michigan's BBQ at the Big House produced Chris Wormley as a new Wolverine, but it also went a long way with offered prospects like defensive tackles Danny O'Brien and Ondre Pipkins and wide receiver Jehu Chesson. Also present was Ohio State commitment Brionte Dunn and his cousin, top 2013 prospect Dymonte Thomas. Other 2013 prospects included Wyatt Shallman, Jon Reschke, and Steve Elmer, two of the state of Michigan's top rising juniors.
Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard 2013 quarterback Mason Sarosi visited Boston College and Dartmouth this week.
Alabama State is the fourth offer for Detroit Mumford offensive lineman Daron Brown.
Army has offered Lafayette McCutcheon (IN) safety Vince Hunsicker.
Butler and Wyoming are the first offers for Lake Central (IN) 2013 wide receiver David Yancey.
Sleeper of the Week
Chicago (Ill.) St. Ignatius has a 6'9, 260-lb offensive tackle in Bill Lawrence. He plays mean on tape, moves well and finishes his blocks. He needs to fill out obviously, but he was an All-State selection a year ago and has good upside.
Underclassman of the Week
Yale (Mich.) class of 2014 guard Derek Brown has been on the radar for a little bit, but I just had a chance to watch his film over the weekend and he is very impressive. Already 6'4, 280-lbs, the kid is strong and dominates the man across from him consistently. He did not play like a freshman. He does pretty well in the second level. I think, as a young guy, he can keep getting quicker, but he's going to be a very good prospect.