It’s time to dip into the Big Ten recruiting mailbag and answer some of your questions. We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered. We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter to @bbournival or @TomVH.
@buckeyefan686: With so many wide receiver/athlete commitments in the last two years, where does Braxton Berrios stand with Ohio State and vice versa?
Brad Bournival: More than likely, the four-star wide receiver is on the outside looking in. The fact the Buckeyes have so many players who can play the slot position leaves Berrios in a tight situation. The four-star wide receiver has been on official visits to Oregon, Miami and South Carolina already. He’s got one more lined up for Tennessee on Oct. 4 and wants to make his decision a few weeks after that.
At this point, I would scratch Ohio State off the list unless the Buckeyes can talk the 5-foot-9, 181-pound Berrios into taking a greyshirt year.
Tom VanHaaren: I think they need help along the defensive line, so if they miss on those two it would probably behoove them to look for help.
I don’t think your scenario is very likely. I think Michigan will land those two, but anything can happen in recruiting. Hand had to change his visit schedules, which I believe helps Michigan even more. He has never been out to Florida and won’t have much time to really digest his visit from that time until he decides.
If Hand were to choose a different school, Michigan is still technically in the top group with Garrett Dickerson (Oradell, N.J/Bergen Catholic). He has Stanford No. 1 and Northwestern in there, too, so he’s not likely. That late in the game the coaching staff would likely have to evaluate some prospects and reach out to prospects to gauge interest before figuring out who to target.
It just doesn’t seem likely, though, at this rate, that they will miss on those two.
@shermez07: Are the Penn State misses on potential pledges due to the sanctions or just normal recruiting reasons (playing time, coaching staff, etc.)?
Bournival: With only 65 scholarships things can be tough in the recruiting world and it would be silly not to think the sanctions haven’t played a role in the decision-making process.
Bowl games aren’t just big business for colleges, they’re a measuring stick for players as well. The fact the Nittany Lions are still dealing with that issue makes it a hard sell, although that part of the penalty becomes easier and easier with each class.
That said Bill O’Brien hasn’t completely whiffed with the two classes he’s been in charge of so far.
This year he grabbed ESPN 300 athlete De'Andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro), quarterback Michael O'Connor (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) and wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del./Middletown). In the 2013 class, quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union Military Academy), tight end Adam Breneman (Camp Hill, Pa., Cedar Cliff) and offensive guard Brendan Mahon (Randolph, N.J./Randolph) were big gets.
VanHaaren: Linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) cancelled his visit to Northwestern on Thursday night. He tweeted that he wouldn’t be taking any questions as to why he cancelled the visit either.
That’s rather strange since he had been planning to take that trip on Wednesday. There is obviously more to this story, so it will be interesting to see what ends up happening.
The Wildcats do have a shot with Westphal and Dickerson, but it might be safe to say that Stanford leads for Dickerson. He has ties to Northwestern, so there is still a chance.
Westphal is a closed book as far as what he’s thinking and what might be next. He and his family do that on purpose, so it’s a guess as to where he ends up. Northwestern and Vanderbilt were thought to be the leaders for Westphal, but Michigan State might sneak in there as well.
firstname.lastname@example.org: With the addition of Noah Brown to Ohio State’s 2014 class, do they still have room for Marshon Lattimore? I have been reading they only have 18 spots for 2014, they have interest/needs in the offensive and defensive line, and they now have 18 commits. Do you think this helps Michigan’s chances with Lattimore and do the Wolverines have room with the potential for Hand and McDowell added to this class?
Bournival: Ohio State’s max right now is 18, but remember that number is fluid and should the likes of Devin Smith, Bradley Roby and Ryan Shazier decide to go pro at the end of the season, numbers open back up. The number of scholarship athletes can change from one day to the next, so the Buckeyes would make room for someone like Lattimore.
While Ohio State does need offensive linemen, the Buckeyes are loaded at defensive line, so that part of the equation really doesn’t apply. Many insiders believe it’s only a matter of time before Lattimore says yes to Ohio State. Cleveland Glenville athletes are hard to pull away from the Buckeyes, so it would be an extreme uphill battle to land him. That could change if there’s an official visit lined up to Ann Arbor, but for right now things lean towards Ohio State.