July 24, 2016 by EvanPetzold
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Aaron Banks has trimmed his list, which includes Michigan.
Aaron Banks, a 2017 four-star offensive tackle, revealed his Top 16 and Michigan made the cut. Other schools that made the list include Arizona, Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Florida, Miami (FL), Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Washington, and Wisconsin.
My Top Schools at this point in Alphabetical Order pic.twitter.com/Q7SxTTDHNY— BANKSofAMERICA™ (@bigaaronbanks) July 24, 2016
From El Cerrito High School in California, Banks is the 168th overall player in the Class of 2017, according to 247Sports. He is the No. 21 overall offensive tackle and the 20th ranked player in California.
The 6-foot-7, 345-pound offensive lineman was offered by Michigan on January 19, which is the same day Jay Harbaugh visited Banks. The tight ends and assistant special teams coach has been actively recruiting the top prospect to join the Maize and Blue.
July 23, 2016 by Erin Rose
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July 23, 2016 by EvanPetzold
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Kenneth Murray will commit to a program on August 10.
Michigan has made the Top 6 for 2017 three-star outside linebacker Kenneth Murray. The prospect from Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas will commit to a program on August 10.
Along with Michigan, the list includes Nebraska, Houston, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas.
❗️TOP 6❗️— Deuce#⃣2⃣ (@murrayyy_2) July 23, 2016
-Commiting on August 10th pic.twitter.com/BDIfr5KrBM
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker has offers from Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Houston, Michigan, Ole Miss, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indana, Kansas, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Texas, Oregon State, Texas State, Texas=San Antonio, Tulane, Utah and Washington State. Murray was recruited to Michigan by Chris Partridge.
Murray is the 668th overall player in the 2017 class, according to 247Sports. He is the No. 44 player at his position and the 92nd-best player in the state of Texas.
In the 2015 season, Murray recorded 65 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, three sacks and made nine pass breakups.
Murray will make his commitment on August 10.
July 23, 2016 by EvanPetzold
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Hunter Echols will make his decision on January 7th at the U.S. Army All American Bowl.
Class of 2017 four-star weak-side defensive end Hunter Echols has decommitted from UCLA, a school he has vowed to join since February 4.
I have officially de committed from UCLA. I want to thank The coaches and Fans for the love and support— HUNTER (@hunter_tyb) July 23, 2016
Moments after mentioning his decommitment, Echols released his Top 11.
I will be committing at the US Army All American game Top 11 Schools pic.twitter.com/8XWonImqKQ— HUNTER (@hunter_tyb) July 23, 2016
The list includes Nebraska, USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, LSU and Arizona.
The four-star athlete has offers to play for Alabama, Arkansas, Boston College, California, LSU, Michigan, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, TCU, Tennessee, USC, Arizona, Arizona State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa State, Maryland, Miami (FL), Missouri, Oregon State, San Jose State, Texas A&M, UCLA, Utah, Washington and Washington State. Echols has been recruited to Michigan by Greg Mattison.
Echols, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive lineman made unofficial visits to Arizona, USC, Michigan and Notre Dame this past June.
During his junior season, the defensive end made 79 tackles, 27 tackles for a loss, 17 sacks, four pass breakups, three fumble recovers, two forced fumbles and one touchdown on the defensive end.
From Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, California, Echols is the 97th overall prospect in the 2017 class, according to 247Sports. He is the seventh-best weak-side defensive end and the No. 14 ranked player in the state of California.
Echols will commit to a program on January 7 at the U.S. Amry All-American Bowl. He will take all five of his visits.
Michigan target Tyrone Collins talks Michigan and more.
Class of 2018 three-star cornerback Tyrone Collins has offers from Michigan, Western Kentucky, Bowling Green, Boston College and Florida Atlantic, but really likes the Wolverines and coach Jim Harbaugh.
2018 3⭐️ CB Tyrone Collins told @MaizenBrew that he ‘would be so honored’ to play for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) July 22, 2016
“Michigan is a good school and I watch them on TV a lot, but yeah I like them so far,” Collins said to Maize n Brew. “I would be so honored to play for Jim Harbaugh. I loved the 49ers and was happy when I heard he would coach Michigan. It would be an honor.”
The 5-foot-11, 165-pound athlete from Braden River High School in Bradenton, Florida believes that he should be able to attract offers from more Power-5 conference teams.
“I will continue to do my best and work even harder to get more schools [to offer],” the defensive back mentioned.
Collins is ranked as the 563rd overall player in the 2018 class, according to 247Sports. He is the No. 63 cornerback and the 92nd-best player in the state of Florida.
The two-way player was picked by league media members as the Big Ten preseason defensive player of the year.
Michigan defensive back/linebacker Jabrill Peppers was picked by Cleveland.com as the Big Ten Conference preseason defensive player of the year. On the other end, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was selected as the offensive player of the year.
Peppers will play on both sides of the ball for the Wolverines, along with special teams. He is making the switch to linebacker this season, but should still see time as a defensive back throughout the year. On offense, Peppers will fill in as a wide receiver, running back and even as a quarterback in the wildcat formation.
Michigan tight end Jake Butt and wide receiver Jehu Chesson received votes for offensive player of the year, while cornerback Jourdan Lewis and defensive lineman Chris Wormley got votes on the defensive end.
Offensive player of the year
1. Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett, 110 (34)
2. Penn State RB Saquon Barkley, 48 (3)
3. Iowa QB C.J. Beathard, 33
4. Northwestern RB Justin Jackson, 11
5. Wisconsin RB Corey Clement, 9
6. Michigan TE Jake Butt, 5 (1)
7. Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong, 5
8. Indiana G Dan Feeney, 4 (1)
9. Michigan State RB L.J. Scott, 3
10. Michigan WR Jehu Chesson, 3
11. Ohio State C Pat Elflein, 2
12. Ohio State RB Curtis Samuel, 1
Defensive player of the year
1. Michigan DB/LB Jabrill Peppers, 65 (13)
2. Iowa CB Desmond King, 60 (16)
3. Michigan State DL Malik McDowell, 35 (4)
4. Ohio State LB Raekwon McMillan, 33 (2)
5. Michigan CB Jourdan Lewis, 21 (2)
6. Northwestern LB Anthony Walker Jr., 18 (2)
7. Michigan DE Chris Wormley, 1
8. Maryland CB William Likely, 1
Michigan gear continues to leak prior to the grand release on August 1st.
Nike released a two new items on Friday morning before the apparel drops in Ann Arbor on August 1. One is a Jordan Brand football shirt and the other is a Nike “Just Do It” Michigan shirt.
On August 1st, Michigan will officially be sponsored by Nike. The contract with Adidas will expire on July 31st. The contract with Nike will last 15 years and is worth $173.8 million.
The M Den will have a Nike event that starts on July 31st and will lead into the midnight opening of a new M Den store on the Michigan campus. All other M Den stores will open at 10:00 A.M. on August 1st.
On Thursday, The M Den and Nike fashioned a handful of clothes.
July 22, 2016 by Nick Bodanyi
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#14. Illinois Fighting Illini (ã: #11) (?)
Hey! Congratulations, Purdue! You did it! No longer in last place!
Needless to say, this hasn’t been a great recruiting start for Lovie Smith. However, that’s not to say that he can’t turn it around - the biggest issue right now is numbers, with only six commitments right now for Illinois, the fewest in the Big Ten. The quality of those commitments doesn’t exactly match the upper half of the Big Ten, either, but Lovie is drawing in some solid three-star athletes.
|Illinois Fighting Illini||Commitments: 6||Avg. Stars: 3.0|
We’ll wait and see what he’s got in store from here. It takes a lot of time to build relationships with high school coaches and re-acquaint oneself with the college game. And, not many first-year coaches are trying to repair their locker room - or the program’s relationship with high school coaches - in the aftermath of a scandal and a pair of firings. Let’s see what Lovie Smith can do in his second act.
#13. Purdue Boilermakers (ã: #14)
Thank goodness; I was getting tired of talking about Griffin Alstott. Purdue is up to seven commitments now after getting six guys in a span of eleven days in June.
And not only that, some of these guys are quite solid. Three-star defensive end Tijaun Mason deserves a highlight; at 6’6”, 205, he can rush the passer, but it’s his heads-up play and surprising strength that impressed me the most.
||Commitments: 7||Avg. Stars: 2.86|
I should also highlight Nick Sipe, another quarterback prospect who brings more of a pro-style alternative to Griffin Alstott’s athleticism. Sipe is a legitimately good prospect, and I’m excited to see what he can do at the next level.
Moving forward, I’ll want to see Purdue shore up the offensive and defensive lines in a big way. The team resorted to adding a JUCO two-star offensive lineman in 2016 (good size but deservedly a two-star), and still only brought in three offensive linemen total alongside three defensive linemen. There’s some talent built up at running back, and Hazell’s staff has shown they can develop the front seven fairly well. But they need to upgrade their physicality and depth as much as possible.
#12. Indiana Hoosiers (ã: #12)
Indiana is still trudging along; they have nine commitments total, some of whom I like a lot. Bryant Fitzgerald is a very exciting running back prospect; Tyler Knight is fun to watch at offensive tackle.
What’s most encouraging for Indiana fans is that Kevin Wilson, a maestro at finding diamonds in the rough on the offensive side of the ball, is starting to get some intriguing players on the defensive side too. There are four defensive linemen committed in this class, led by a high school teammate of Chris Evans named LeShaun Minor, and the most recent Indiana verbal, 6’0”, 183-pound cornerback LaDamion Hunt, is flat-out exciting.
||Commitments: 9||Avg. Stars: 2.89|
Indiana has spent the last couple classes stocking up on safeties, corners and defensive linemen as they switch from Brian Knorr’s 3-4 to Tom Allen’s 4-2-5. However, they haven’t taken anyone classified as a linebacker in two years, so the 2017 class will need to fix some of that. At the moment they have a pledge from a single two-star MIKE ‘backer, Thomas Allen, who’s an underrated guy with good feet and a lot of physicality.
#11. Minnesota Golden Gophers (ã: #13)
If Minnesota continues to fill out this class with comparable guys to what they’ve gotten, this will be a class worth mentioning in the top twenty in the nation. Now, it’s very possible that that won’t happen, because as always, Minnesota seems to find the underrated guys, guys who are three-stars but impressive nonetheless. Currently, Minnesota is stuck at #72 in the country, directly behind Rice and Northern Illinois.
Let me highlight, then, a few of Minnesota’s current commits. There is three-star linebacker Kyrei Fisher, a 6’2”, 230-pound outside linebacker from Oklahoma. He has all the athleticism you’d want from an outside linebacker - he’s fast, great lateral speed, good in coverage, etc. - and, if I didn’t mention, he’s 230 pounds already in high school.
Another great prospect is Dominik London, a three-star running back who reminds me of all the previous three-star Minnesota running backs. Then there’s Nathan Bursch, a tight end who’s supremely comfortable catching passes and has both speed and strength.
Then there’s Grant Ryerse, a three-star kicking prospect who’s one of the top five at his position in the entire country. All in all, this is not a bad start for Tracy Claeys and the Gophers.
|Minnesota Golden Gophers
||Commitments: 8||Avg. Stars: 2.88|
#10. Wisconsin Badgers (ã: #9)
Wisconsin recruiting has been fairly quiet the last few months. Two defensive backs have joined the class - one of whom I’m excited about, Ke’Shan Pennamon - but that’s been it. I would like to see Wisconsin add a couple blue-chips or an underrated weapon on offense, but things seem fairly quiet on that front, too. Wisconsin is at least competing with Michigan for newly minted four-star receiver Oliver Martin, and they are also in great shape with an exciting three-star linebacker, James Houston IV.
However, for some reason, Wisconsin hasn’t cashed in its chips from the success of Melvin Gordon and being “Running Back U,” nor have they found a top receiver to add to the fold. There comes a point for teams who make their name off of development to learn how to chase some blue-chips, and Wisconsin hasn’t managed that switch as well as Michigan State and TCU have done. This isn’t to say Wisconsin can’t still do well, but there is a lower ceiling.
Even worse than it being an issue of strategy, though, athleticism at the skill positions remains the team’s biggest weakness. If they don’t find a game-breaking tailback in this cycle, it will mark two straight years without a real answer at the most important position of Wisconsin’s offense - after taking only one tailback, the physical but not particularly athletic Sam Brodner, in the last cycle.
||Commitments: 11||Avg. Stars: 3.09|
#9. Penn State Nittany Lions (ã: #5)
Penn State is sitting at nine commitments, which is one of the lowest numbers in the Big Ten. Still, there’s some top talent in those nine. I mentioned C.J. Thorpe in the last rankings, but he deserves another mention for being all-around amazing. Fellow offensive guard Michael Miranda is nearly as good.
However, since May there has only been one additional recruit. Brelin Faison-Walden committed this week; he’s a three-star safety/linebacker hybrid who will be taking over the STAR linebacker position for James Franklin. Brelin is a very solid pick-up, and bolsters the Nittany Lions’ area of greatest need in this cycle - the back seven.
|Penn State Nittany Lions
||Commitments: 9||Avg. Stars: 3.44|
One more footnote about this class: James Franklin is in the thick of it with a host of blue-chip prospects, from IMG Academy’s Jordan Anthony to Pennsylvania natives D’Andre Swift and Lamont Wade and several more. This class is solid now, but it could end up being very good pretty quickly.
#8. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (ã: #10)
This might make Rutgers fans upset (there’s a joke in there somewhere), but the quality of Rutgers’ Big Ten-leading twenty commitments is a notch below a lot of other teams. The bottom third of the class, at least, is a little underwhelming.
|Rutgers Scarlet Knights
||Commitments: 20||Avg. Stars: 3.1|
However, for a lot of reasons this doesn’t really matter. The ‘17 class will give Chris Ash depth and something of a clean slate. It will also give him better prospects than Kyle Flood was typically pulling in, and it does so at the positions that Ash needs. This class has a great distribution of offensive skill players and some exciting physicality on the front lines. This is exactly what this team needed, basically.
#7. Nebraska Cornhuskers (ã: #8)
Mike Riley has done a very impressive job securing great players and reaching out into California, Florida and Texas. Nebraska is sitting at eleven commitments right now, four of whom are blue-chips.
Like Jim Harbaugh, though, Riley has struck gold with some of his three-stars. I’m a big fan of IMG product Broc Bando, an offensive guard, as well as Ohio native Matt Sichterman, an offensive tackle. In fact, all five of Nebraska’s linemen - none of whom are blue-chips - are exciting prospects in various ways.
||Commitments: 11||Avg. Stars: 3.36|
Moving forward, Nebraska is poised to possibly add a fullback out of Baton Rouge with an LSU offer, a California wide receiver with offers from Stanford, Notre Dame and Cal, a defensive end out of Miami with offers from FSU, Georgia, Miami and Alabama, and a shockingly underrated corner out of Florida in O.J. Tucker.
The Huskers are also scratching and clawing for a gold-chip receiver, and they’re in the hunt for Joseph Lewis, Tyjon Lindsey, Devonta Smith, and two-way player Darnay Holmes.
#6. Iowa Hawkeyes (ã: #3)
There are two particular strengths to Iowa’s recruiting class: the secondary and the linemen. I’ve talked before about Kirk Ferentz’s ability to scout and land intriguing talent along the front lines, but this is also turning into a great class for the defensive backfield.
Four-star corner Chevin Calloway - all 5’10”, 180 of him - is the star here. He’s the 100th-ranked player in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite. I’m also a big fan of Matt Hankins, another Texas player who’s got great footwork and the ability to mirror whoever he’s guarding.
||Commitments: 15||Avg. Stars: 3.2|
Ferentz has a couple great running back commitments from Ivory Kelly-Martin and Eno Benjamin, and I’m also a fan of wide receiver Brandon Smith. Iowa could be poised to land another good Texas player, 6’3” wide receiver Shamond Greenwood out of Garland.
#5. Northwestern Wildcats (ã: #4)
Northwestern has had one of the top recruiting classes in the Big Ten thanks in part to its size; in that regard, the blue-bloods are steadily catching up, which might result in a small dip for Fitzgerald & Co.
Still, this class is going to be rock-solid at the end of the day. Outside of a two-star kicker, every single commit here is a three-star prospect, and not only that, the distance between the “best” one committed and the “worst” is not very big. It also helps that these guys skew toward the upper echelon of three-star prospects.
||Commitments: 17||Avg. Stars: 2.94|
In 2016, too, Fitzgerald signed 20 guys, all of them three-stars. Given the underrated quality of a lot of these guys, this is a good sign for Northwestern’s depth and sustainability going forward - much better than when Fitzgerald would land a few blue-chips and also quite a few two-stars. I’m excited to see how these guys develop and gel into a team in future seasons.
#4. Maryland Terrapins (ã: #7)
As many Michigan fans expected, D.J. Durkin knows what he’s doing. Durkin has turned a fertile recruiting area, hometown loyalty and some fancy helmets into the 20th-ranked class in the nation, and he hasn’t even coached a game in College Park yet.
The superstar, of course, is five-star defensive end Joshua Kaindoh, who performs exactly how you’d expect a five-star player to perform. In fact, each of the five committed defensive players indicate that Maryland is going to be a problem in the years to come. There’s the space-eating, athletic defensive tackle in Camaron Spence, the long, lean, athletic space-backer in Ayinde Eley, the turnover-creating press-man corner in Fofie Bazzie, and the raw but high-ceiling athlete with great footwork in Deon Jones. Pick your poison.
||Commitments: 11||Avg. Stars: 3.45|
On offense, the group is led by four-star quarterback Kasim Hill, who might be my favorite quarterback committed in the Big Ten. Hill has a great all-around skillset, and I’d be surprised if he’s not starting for two or three years for the Terps.
Durkin hasn’t gotten a running back to commit yet (the house money is on Anthony McFarland, Jr., but Alabama and Miami are making a push), but they do have a trio of very skilled wide receivers and a great tight end. This offense, also, will be dangerous in the years to come.
#3. Michigan State Spartans (ã: #6)
Michigan State has gotten ambitious. They’re trying to wrestle all the top in-state talent out of Michigan’s hands, and they’re reaching into Ohio, as well, to compete for blue-chips with ol’ Brutus. This might be a bad year for it; Ohio State hasn’t gotten stopped by anyone on the recruiting trail, and Michigan is steam-rolling through the 2017 class in their own right.
|Michigan State Spartans
||Commitments: 15||Avg. Stars: 3.2|
Still, MSU has held their own so far. This is a very good class already, and the sheer number of top targets remaining (yeah, Dantonio has bought in to chasing blue-chips) almost guarantees that Sparty lands a few punches to make the effort worthwhile.
This offensive line is particularly strong, led by the pancake maker and occasional offensive line participant Kevin Jarvis. So is the offensive skill positions, led by Matt Dotson and quarterback Rocky Lombardi. They could use a couple more defensive backs, which means the fight for Ambry Thomas or Amir Riep isn’t dying down anytime soon.
#2. Michigan Wolverines (ã: #2)
Most Michigan fans will be well aware of these eighteen commitments, but let’s review. The face of the offense is Dylan McCaffrey, while three-star running back Kurt Taylor is probably also a fan favorite (not to mention the fastest running back out of the three committed). But for me, the duo of O’Maury Samuels and A.J. Dillon is probably the most exciting part of this class.
O’Maury has elite change of direction, great speed, good hands and elite acceleration, and A.J. is tremendously physical with great balance and acceleration as well. I could see both of these guys being All-Americans some day; though, they’ll have to fight for playing time first.
||Commitments: 18||Avg. Stars: 3.5|
On defense, half of the commits reside on the defensive line; Aubrey Solomon is the star of the show, with Luiji Vilain a close second. Benjamin St-Juste and Josh Ross lead the back seven, which needs to get filled in quite a bit.
With another six months remaining until Signing Day, Michigan will be trying to make a clean sweep of the state’s top talent by landing Donovan Peoples-Jones, Ambry Thomas and Jaylen Kelly-Powell. They’ll also be going after some top out-of-state talent, shoring up the wide receiver and linebacker positions while also adding one more tight end.
#1. Ohio State Buckeyes (ã: #1)
Ah, yes, the Beast. I remember a while ago watching film of five-star guard Wyatt Davis and being blown away, and now, having reviewed all of Ohio State’s offensive line commits, I can’t even say he’s their best one. That would be Josh Myers, another five-star.
The Buckeyes will be looking at a small class size this year, so they’re concentrating their efforts even more than usual on the top talent available. And they’ve gotten it: Isaiah Pryor can do anything from cornerback to linebacker, Antjuan Simmons is great as both an inside and outside linebacker, they have a pair of pass-rushing defensive tackles comparable to Aubrey Solomon, and Shaun Wade is staggering as a pure athlete.
|Ohio State Buckeyes
||Commitments: 14||Avg. Stars: 4.07|
There’s some great talent on the offensive side as well, but that will be the focus of the rest of their recruiting cycle. Quarterback, offensive line, and everything in the defense is pretty well sown up. And it’s kind of a bad sign when “offensive weapons” is the only box Ohio State hasn’t checked off.
I usually like to offer a few takeaways at the end of these pieces; obviously, the Big Ten is doing exceedingly well right now, and they’ve also managed to blend the occasionally tricky art of chasing after blue-chips while keeping true to their roots of development and scouting. We won’t see the effects of these classes for a few years, but the message is clear: the Big Ten is finally buying in.
July 22, 2016 by Anthony Broome
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The website’s poll has the Buckeyes winning the conference again.
A media poll by Cleveland.com has the Ohio State Buckeyes winning the Big Ten Conference season despite the team’s inexperience heading into the 2016 season.
Michigan is the bettor’s favorite to win the national title this season, but media members across the Big Ten believe that it will be the Buckeyes that win the conference this upcoming season.
The Big Ten does not do a preseason media poll like many of the other conferences across the country, so Cleveland.com’s poll has become the unofficial gauge of what the writers are thinking leading up to the season.
Michigan fans will roll their eyes at this news, but there is a catch. In its six years of existence, this poll has never correctly predicted the Big Ten champion.
To see how the votes broke down, check out the full poll here and be sure to sound off with your thoughts in the comments below.
July 22, 2016 by Erin Rose
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