Four-stars Jeremy Ruckert, Tyler Friday, K'Vaugh Pope and Kwantel Raines in Midweek Meanderings

Midweek Meanderings in the East focuses on a quartet of four-star prospects in the East.

TGI Friday

Tyler Friday, the No. 2 player in New Jersey, has more than a dozen schools on his list, and it looks like his recruitment will last well into the winter.

However, in talking to sources, Ohio StatePenn State, and Michigan are in the best shape. Rutgers is also hanging in there, but will need to show a lot of progress on the field to move back stronger into the mix.

Penn State made a huge push for Friday in the spring, and it continued to stay in contention during the evalaution period as the Nittany Lions stayed in consistent contact.

The fact Penn State is four hours from home is also a big deal because it will allow his family to drive to games, even day of the game, while Michigan and Ohio State are much longer trips.

However, Ohio State has an interesting recruiting tool, and it begins with defensive line coach Larry Johnson. He is one of the top defensive line coaches in the nation, and Ohio State is selling the idea other defensive line coaches show tape of Johnson as teaching tools.

Add in Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano was the head coach at Rutgers when Don Bosco coach Mike Teel was his star quarterback, and the Buckeyes have a strong in.

Michigan is also entrenched in this recruitment as it continue to talk about its reach into New Jersey and the idea the coaching staff is filled with former NFL coaches. Friday is also watching the development of former North Jersey standout Rashan Gary with the Wolverines.

Also, do not overlook Nebraska, which made a strong move in the spring. Friday likes the Cornhuskers' coaching staff, and a visit to campus would not be surprising.  And if he wants to know about the adjustment from North Jersey to Lincoln, Neb., he can ask former North Jersey defensive end Quayshon Alexander, who is now at Nebraska.

At this point, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State are in the best spot, but there is time for others to move in.

Ruckert Nearing Decision?

Lindenhurst (N.Y.) High's Jeremy Ruckert, now the No. 1 tight end in the 2018 class, continues to remain quiet in recruiting with his focus on Notre Dame, Michgian, Ohio State and Wisconsin Badgers.

Ruckert will try to make a decision by the end of the summer, and it could come as early as the next month.

However, two possible visits on his agenda could give a glimpse into his thought process.

For a while, Ohio State looked like it was in the best situation, and it continues to slant that way but Michigan is up for the battle.

According to Ruckert's coach, Nick Lombardo, Ruckert is "considering some (visits) in mid-summer" but "nothing is finalized as of yet.

Lombardo added trips to Michigan's Big House Barbacue and Ohio State's Friday Night Lights this summer.

Ruckert took over the No. 1 tight end slot last week after a strong spring.

"It's very humbling," Ruckert said. "It really goes to show hard work pays off and I'm just so happy I can represent Long Island and Lindenhurst."

Will Raines Stay Home?

Aliquippa (Pa.) High Scout 150 safety Kwantel Raines wants to make several visits this summer, including one to Florida.

West Virginia is also high on Raines' list, and while he could make a pair of visits to campus in June and July. He is also looking hard at Penn State, which pushed high on his list with an early offer during his recruitment.

It also helps Penn State assistant coach Terry Smith played at Aliquippa and has a lot of credibility at the school.

However, the constant we continue to hear out of western Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh is the school to beat. There is a strong connection between Pittsburgh and Raines, and the feeling to those close to Raines is the Panthers are the overwhelming school to beat.

Pope Nearing Decision

Four-star Dinwiddie (Va.) outside linebacker outside linebacker K'Vaughan Pope is inching closer to making his college decision.

The schools in the mix for Pope are ClemsonFloridaFlorida and Ohio State. For months, each school had a shot, but things shifted in the past few weeks.

Although Pope is not tipping his hand, the Buckeyes emerged as the favorite to land the East's top outside linebacker.

Pope visited Ohio State on Tuesday, and by all accounts, the trip went extremely well. His relationship with the coaching staff and their aggressive approach has given the Buckeyes a significant advantage. The trip to Columbus is the only one Pope scheduled this summer. 

What will happen next?

Do not expect the other schools to give up on the Dinwiddie standout. Can Clemson, Florida or Florida State get Pope on campus in the next month? That is the big question. A decision on future trips will likely be made in the next week.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Pope had a sensational season last fall and followed it up with a strong spring. Pope was one of the top performers at the Washington, D.C., Opening regional and Washington, D.C., Under Armor camp.

In the Scout rankings, he moved to the No. 1 outside linebacker in the East, eighth-ranked in the country and No. 123 overall.

Pope has not set a date for his commitment, but it will likely come before the end of the summer.

Scout Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Analyst Michael Clark contributed to this report

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