Midwest Recruiting Notebook

Notes on every Big Ten team, including this weekend's junior days, scouting notes on Ohio's top prospects and more.

News and Notes

- Crete-Monee (Ill.) senior cornerback Anthony Standifer has yet to make a final decision, but it is getting closer. However, the original decision date of February 28th, we're hearing, may be pushed back to March 4th. Standifer had a good visit to Vanderbilt last weekend, visits Mississippi this weekend, and has Pittsburgh also in consideration.

- Indianapolis North Central (Ind.) defensive tackle Darius Latham added offers from Florida and Kentucky yesterday according to a source at the school. In addition, they say Alabama and Auburn may be the next to offer the 6'5, 280-lb junior.

Scouting Notes

Dave Berk and I had a chance to sit down and go through film of some of the top prospects in the Midwest and specifically, Ohio, this week, as we move closer to updating the 2013 rankings. Here are a few notes on what we saw:

Gareon Conely: CB - Massillon Washington (Ohio): This athletic corner recently picked up a couple offers and we could see why. We went through film on about 35-40 top kids in Ohio, and his tape was among the most impressive. He's a fluid, long strider with good ball skills and instincts. He doesn't have a lot of hype out there, but don't be surprised to see him end up in the first Scout 300.

Jon Reschke: LB - Birmingham Brother Rice (Mich.): We had seen the recent Michigan State commit before, but we took a closer look. He runs well straight line, and is best coming forward. Because he has experience as an edge rusher, he looks great there and Dave and I agreed that even if he ends up playing more linebacker at MSU, he'll be moved onto the edge in passing situations.

DeVeon Smith: RB - Warren Howland (Ohio): He's a compact back with uncanny balance and ability to break arm tackles. The kid is strong and runs with a refusal to be tackled. His ability to keep his feet while making cuts, breaking tackles and shoving would-be tacklers into the ground, is outstanding. He may not be a 4.4 guy, but we really like him and see him as a likely Scout 300 guy.

Billy Price: DT - Austintown Fitch (Ohio): The Ohio State commit makes some athletic interior moves and shows good agility for a kid that's naturally stocky and wide bodied. He gets off the ball well and plays with outstanding motor. He plays farther outside now than we think he will in college. We see him as a nose type. Right now, he's already a four-star guy and he'll stay there and likely be a top 10 guy in Ohio.

Mitch Trubisky: QB - Mentor (Ohio): I hadn't seen him before, so I came in with no bias, but the kid really surprised me with his athleticism. I can see why Ohio State offered, given what Urban Meyer will run offensively there. The kid is a great fit. He can throw it too though. He has a good arm, a live arm, and can get it downfield as well as throw on the run without losing velocity. He has some mechanical work to do, but the kid is impressive.

Recent Offers

Player Pos High School Offering School
Elijah Daniel DE Avon (IN) Nebraska
Colin Goebel OG Naperville North (IL) Miami-FL
Ethan Pocic OT Lemont (IL) Oklahoma
Poet Thomas OT Detroit Country Day (MI) Florida
Isaac Griffith WR Fort Wayne Homestead (IN) Wyoming
Cameron Dillard OG Canton (MI) Florida
Darius Latham DT North Central (IN) Florida
Darius Latham DT North Central (IN) Kentucky
Malcom Moore WR Minneapolis Hopkins (MN) South Dakota State
Jaylon Smith LB Bishop Luers (IN) Florida State
Jack Keeler OG Barrington (IL) Central Michigan
Tim Kimbrough MLB Warren Central (IN) Vanderbilt

Big Ten Quick Hits

Northwestern: The Wildcats picked up a nice preferred walk-on for the 2012 class in Providence Catholic (Ill.) defensive back Troy Shepard. The 5'10, 165-lb Shepard had eight interceptions and three blocked kicks as a senior, making three All-State teams and All-Catholic League Blue. He held offers from Augustana and Merrimack, but has chosen to head to Evanston and play for Pat Fitzgerald.
Ohio State: Milton (Wisc.) defensive end A.J. Natter reported to Scout last night that Ohio State is close to offering him. He just picked up Wisconsin. Rumors were that Cardinal Mooney (Ohio) linebacker Courtney Love had committed to Ohio State yesterday, but he told us "not yet." That's one to watch though, as the 6'1, 222-lb junior indicates that he may be getting closer to a decision.
Michigan: Michigan's fast start in 2012 allowed them to get started quicker in 2013, and with their flurry of commitments, the Wolverines should have the same luxury in 2014. Who are the prospects to watch? Detroit Loyola DE Malik McDowell, GR Christian WR Drake Harris, and Sturgis QB Chance Stewart are among the top in-state prospects, but Detroit Cass Tech is again loaded. Linebackers Deon Drake, Gary Hosey, William White and Stan Smith are all top prospects. The 6'2, 220-lb Drake is very similar to 2012 signee Royce Jenkins-Stone.
Michigan State: This upcoming junior day on the 25th will have quite the roster, but there are some lesser known names on the list to watch out for. South Lake (Mich.) High School defensive end Jared Culver is one of them. He is a 6'3, 230-lber with great get-off and motor on tape, and the Spartans were impressed enough by that film to invite him up to campus for a visit. Detroit Cass Tech junior defensive tackle Kenton Gibbs, safety Delano Hill and sophomore linebacker Deon Drake are also expected to attend.
Illinois: One prospect to watch for is Carmel (Ind.) linebacker John Kenny. He tells me Illinois has jumped into his recruitment and he plans to visit the Illini in March. This weekend, the Illini will host several top prospects, including O'Fallon (Ill.) wide receiver Darius Mosley, Harvey Thornton (Ill.) cornerback Jalen Banks, and Youngstown Cardinal Mooney (Ohio) safety Marcus McWilson.
Iowa: The Best of the Midwest Combine featured several Iowa targets. The two I feel best about are Indianapolis Pike (Ind.) DE David Kenney and Detroit Cass Tech (Mich.) DB Delano Hill. Kenney, who wore a Hawkeye t-shirt to the event, was offered first by Iowa and that is going a long way with him right now even though he has since added other offers. Hill has two teammates headed to Iowa in the 2012 class, Ruben Lile and Laron Taylor, and has the Hawkeyes at the top of his list.
Indiana: Two prospects from South Bend Clay (Ind.), wide receiver Wesley Thomas and offensive lineman Shakir Carr say they have been in contact with the Hoosiers, and have been invited to attend spring practices in Bloomington. Thomas currently holds an offer from Central Michigan and both have interest from other schools like Ohio State, Illinois and others.
Wisconsin: The in-state offers have started flowing now, as running back R.J. Shelton and defensive ends Chikwe Obasih, Alec James and A.J. Natter have all been offered. Right now, the most likely of the bunch to end up in Madison is Obasih, who has a brother there, and has been to campus several times. His father tells us they are thrilled by the offer, but Chikwe will continue to give other schools a look before making a decision. He will visit Iowa State and Nebraska next.
Minnesota: Cretin-Derham Hall quarterback Conor Rhoda will attend Gopher junior day this weekend and says things have been "heating up" with Minnesota. South Bend (Ind.) Clay wide receiver Wesley Thomas says he has also heard from Minnesota lately and a source close to him says the Gophers are expected to be the next to offer him.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions offered two Midwestern prospects recently in linebacker Tim Kimbrough from Warren Central (Ind.) and cornerback Ross Douglas from Avon (Ohio). Douglas visited for junior day and Kimbrough says he plans to head out to Happy Valley for spring practice. The next Midwestern offer? We think it will be Carmel (Ind.) linebacker John Kenny, who visits this weekend.
Nebraska: Scottsbluff (Ne.) cornerback/running back Luke Worden is an in-state prospect receiving recruiting attention. He says he has been in contact with the Cornhuskers since attending their camp last summer and was at the recent junior day. The 5'9, 175-lb Worden scored 11 total touchdowns last year, eight on the ground, one receiving, one on an interception return and one on a kickoff return. He is also hearing from Notre Dame, Colorado State, Iowa State, Boise State and others.
Purdue: Last week, we gave you a few names for the Boiler junior day coming up this weekend. We've added a few more expected in-state visitors this week: Fort Wayne Homestead wideout Isaac Griffith, Warren Central defensive end Anthony Wimbush, South Bend Washington offensive lineman Dustin Dennig, and Lake Central fullback Riley Arvanitis are all expected to attend along with aforementioned top in-staters like Ben Davis safety Antonio Allen and Brownsburg wide receiver Chase Dutra.

Sleeper of the Week

Warren Michigan Collegiate receiver Teo Redding is rising after a good junior year and an MVP performance at the Best of the Midwest combine. He's thin, but very athletic, can really go up high to grab passes and makes the spectacular look routine.

Underclassman of the Week

Warren Central (Ind.) freshman Mykelti Williams is a nice sized, athletic kid that projects to safety. Even though he's still a youngster, expect him to be a key part of the Warrior defense next year.

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