Chris Pool Ranks Big Ten Recruiting

The Insiders' Midwest Recruiting Expert Chris Pool takes a look at Big Ten recruiting with his weekly rankings.

Michigan, Ohio State to settle war(s) - Gridiron and Recruiting.

The Michigan vs. Ohio State battle is one of college football's greatest rivalries. Growing up in the Midwest, this was the one game I never missed. Michigan has a chance to ruin the Buckeyes national championship hopes when they visit the "Shoe" on November 23rd. Presently Michigan and Ohio State are 1,2 respectively in the recruiting wars in the Big Ten and the next 13 weeks should be very interesting. Both Michigan and Ohio State are in a tug of war over several big time prospects. Penn State has only three solid commitments and super running back Jason Evans (Kennesaw, Georgia) is considered a soft verbal. Don't count out JoePa and the Nittany Lions. Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Purdue are also putting together solid classes.

1. Michigan (last week: 1)

The Wolverines have been sitting on seven commitments for a little over a month. Will Paul, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound, tight end, defensive end from St. Louis (MO) Parkway West is the big catch so far for Lloyd Carr. Paul could give immediate help on either side of the ball. One of the nations top quarterbacks, Clayton Richard will be on an official visit in Ann Arbor this weekend.

-Wolverine Commitments-

Anton Campbell (Fort Zumwalt West, O'Fallon MO) RB/DB

Sam Keller (San Ramon Valley, Danville CA) QB

Adam Kraus (Brother Martin, New Orleans LA) TE/OL

Jake Long (Lapeer East, Lapeer MI) OL

Will Paul (Parkway West, Ballwin MO) TE/DL

Jim Presley (Milford, Highland MI) LB

Garrett Rivas (Tampa Jesuit, Tampa FL) K

2. Ohio State (last week: 2)

The Bucks don't have very many scholarships to give this year but they've made every single one of them count. Youngstown (Ursiline) star Louis Irizarry is considered a soft verbal because he'll visit other schools but he should end up in Columbus. Look for Jim Tressel to get the signatures of in-state national blue chippers, Prescott Burgess, David Patterson, Dareus Hiley and Donte "Lights Out" Whitner.

Buckeye Commitments-

Todd Boeckman (St. Henry, Ohio) QB

Tony Gonzales (St. Ignatius, Cleveland, Ohio) WR/DB

Devin Jordan (Washington, Massillon, Ohio) WR

Curt Lukens (Hoover, North Canton, Ohio) DB

3. Penn State (last week:3)

Only three verbal commitments so far for the most successful head football coach in college football history. Running back Austin Scott (Allentown, Pa) is putting up big numbers in 2002. John Shaw is underrated as a run stopping defensive tackle. If Joe Paterno can get the signature of Kennesaw, Georgia running back Jason Evans in February, everyone in Happy Valley would be elated.

Nittany Lion Commitments -

Paul Posluszny (Hopewell, Pennsylvania) LB

Austin Scott (Parkland, Allentown Pa) RB

John Shaw (Spring Grove, Pennsylvania) DT

4. Wisconsin - (last week 4)

The Badgers have commitments from Danny Kaye (New Berlin, Eisenhower) and Justin Ostrowski (Portage). Both prospects were nationally recruited. Barry Alvarez just received a verbal commitment from Chicago wide receiver Terry Love. Love is a speedy receiver with exceptional hands. Alvarez is going after speed this year and has verbal commitments from a couple of Texas track stars, Johnny White and Ernest Mason.

Badger Commitments -

Tyler Donovan (Arrowhead, Heartland WI) QB

Danny Kaye (Eisenhower, New Berlin WI) OL

Terry Love (Proviso East, Maywood IL) WR

Ernest Mason (Dunbar, Ft. Worth Tx) WR

Justin Ostrowski (Portage, WI) DL

Andrew Weininger (Harrison, NY) OL

Johnny White (Pearland, Tx) DB

5. Illinois - (last week 5)

It's been an up and down year for Ron Turner and the Fighting Illini but they've still done very well in recruiting. The Illini have a verbal commitment from quarterback Brad Bower (Hinsdale, Ill.), who has 45 combined passing and rushing touchdowns in 2002. Offensive lineman Kevin Gage and James Ryan are as solid as they come. The big question is whether or not Turner can land All-American defensive tackle Moe Dampeer. Dampeer lives a stones throw away from Champaign and he'd be the Illini's biggest commitment in quite some time.

Fighting Illini Commitments -

Alan Ball (St. Martin De Porres, Detroit MI) DB

Brad Bower (Central, Hinsdale IL) QB

Kevin Gage ( South, Downers Grove IL) OL

Kelvin Hayden (Junior College, Joliet IL) WR

Lonnie Hurst (Jesuit, Detroit MI) WR

J. Leman (Central, Champaign IL) LB

Steven Octavien (Lely, Naples FL) WR

Jay Ramshaw (Centennial, Champaign IL) DL

James Ryan (Batavia, IL) OL

Pierre Thomas (T.F. South, Lansing IL) RB

DeJuan Warren (Southfield, MI) QB

6. Iowa - (last week 6)

Kirk Ferentz and his Iowa team are the feel good story of the year. Ferentz didn't win a game in his first season with the Hawks but now he's built a solid program by recruiting prospects that fit his program. Ferentz has done a great job battling Dan McCarney (Iowa State) for the top in-state talent and he has also done a good job concentrating on talent in the Midwest. Linebacker Tom Busch and wide receiver Herb Grigsby are the latest prospects to give Ferentz and Iowa verbal commitments.

Hawkeye Commitments -

Tom Busch (Park Senior, Cottage Grove MN) LB

Scott Chandler (Carroll, Southlake Texas) WR

Herb Grigsby (Mayflower, Ark) WR

Mike Humpal (North Hampton, Iowa) LB

Clint Huntrods (Collins, Iowa) OL

Alex Wilcox (Valley, West Des Moines Iowa) DL

Jonathon Zanders (Cedar Falls, Iowa) DB

Mike Klinkenborg (Central Lyon, Rock Rapids, Iowa) LB

7. Purdue - (last week 7)

Joe Tiller and his staff have proven to be excellent talent evaluators. Tiller doesn't recruit off paper and he has been known to pull some hidden gems from the bottom of the blue-chip pile and turn them into All-Big Ten players. Tiller has commitments from Illinois speedster Jake Cunningham and he also received a verbal commitment from one of the biggest sleepers in the Midwest, Cole Seifrig. The top dog so far in this Boilermaker recruiting class is hard hitting defensive back Bernard Pollard.

Boilermaker Commitment -

Scott Carroll (Liberty, Missouri) QB

Jake Cunningham (Pontiac, Illinois) WR

Josh Ferguson (Lake Brantley, Altamonte Springs FL) LB

Nick Fincher (Chippewa Valley, Clinton Township MI) OL

Bernard Pollard (Southside, Ft. Wayne IN) DB

Cole Seifrig (Heritage Hills, Lincoln City, IN) WR

Robert Smith (Bowie, Arlington, TX) WR

8. Michigan State (last week 8)

Bobby Williams was a player's coach but he was fired two weeks ago. Garrett Bushong was one of the Spartans' top verbal commitments but he's decided to look elsewhere now. The new staff will have its work cut out for them but if they can land some of the in-state talent, their efforts will be considered a success.

Spartan Commitments -

Jehuu Caulcrick (Clymer, NY) RB

Derrick Outlaw (Ross Beatty, Cassopolis MI) DL

Kaleb Thornhill (Eastern, Lansing MI) LB

9. Indiana (last week 9)

First year head coach Gerry DiNardo has done a admirable job this year for the Hoosiers and he has surrounded himself with assistant coaches who are also good recruiters. Defensive tackle Joel Stubblefield is the top recruit so far for DiNardo and he recently received a commitment from Bloomington (Ind.) South offensive lineman Chris Mangiero.

Hoosier Commitments -

Tyler Altman (Greater Latrobe, Latrobe PA) LB

Joe Kremer (Urbana, Ohio) DL

Chris Mangiero (South, Bloomington, IN) OL

Blake Powers(Meade County, Brandenburg KY) QB

Jonathan Sandberg (North White, Monon IN) OL

Nick Sexton (North, Bloomington IN) TE

Joel Stubblefield (Pendleton Heigts, Pendleton IN) DL

10. Minnesota (last week 10)

Glen Mason hardly ever finishes at the top of the Big Ten recruiting race but he can still find talent in-state and around the country. Florida QB Pete Martinsen verbally committed to the Gophers in the spring but he's looking at other schools now. Mason shored up the interior line by receiving verbal commitments from three of the top lineman in Minnesota.

Golden Gopher Commitments-

Maurice Alexander (Southfield, MI) RB

Tony Brinkhaus (Jefferson, Bloomington MN) DL

Steve Shidell (Coon Rapids, MN) DL

Jeff Sundsmo (Highland Park, St. Paul MN) OL

11. Northwestern (last week 11)

Randy Walker and his staff are having a rough go of it this year on the gridiron but he can still recruit. Walker has a tough job. He has to find talented players who can compete at the Big Ten level but they also need to have the grades to get into one of the most prestigious universities in the nation. Walker received verbal commitment #1 from Florida linebacker Kyle Wagner a little over a week ago and he'll host seven very good prospects this weekend (11-15) for official visits.

Wildcat Commitments -

Kyle Wagner (The Bolles School, Jacksonville FL) LB

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