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.
@darkknight1093: Will the 63-0 beat down of Maryland by FSU end up swaying Damian Prince away from Maryland and toward FSU or OSU?
Brad Bournival: Losses usually don’t carry much weight with potential recruits, as the focus is on the future. Maryland is still very much a player -- if not the leader -- for the ESPN 300 Prince. The fact the Terrapins have told the 6-foot-5, 286-pound Forestville (Md.) Bishop McNamara offensive tackle they want him to be the face of the program moving forward carries a lot of weight. I don’t think it hurt Maryland’s efforts much at all.
That said Prince does like Florida State, and Urban Meyer never gives up without a fight. I still think Prince winds up at Maryland.
@HammerJr5: Simple, but still important, does Ohio State or Michigan finish with a higher ranked class? And is it because of numbers or talent?
Tom VanHaaren: That’s a good question. Both programs are in on some top prospects and both already have some big commits.
If you look at where they’re at right now, Michigan is ranked ahead of Ohio State and has nine ESPN 300 commits to Ohio State’s seven.
Michigan has a realistic shot of landing Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) and Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield), which would then give Michigan 11 ESPN 300 commits and two commitments in the top-five overall, with Hand and Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic).
That would be pretty tough for Ohio State to overtake, despite the fact the Buckeyes still have a shot with a few ESPN 300 prospects themselves. So I would have to go with Michigan if Hand and McDowell jump on board. If they don’t, then it could be close.
firstname.lastname@example.org: It’s about halfway through the high school regular season, are any Ohio State commits potential big risers in their ESPN rankings?
Bournival: The biggest name here is four-star athlete Curtis Samuel (Brooklyn, N.Y./Erasmus). He wowed everyone at The Opening in July when he ran a 4.36 40-yard dash and hasn’t shown any indication that it was a one-time deal. With a 40.7-inch vertical jump and the ability to create mismatches, he could be one of the biggest movers when the next round of ESPN 300 rankings is updated. His versatility and unbelievable speed make him one of those to watch moving forward.
Q: Chris, Chicago: It seems like Parrker Westphal could end up anywhere at this point. Where do you think he ends up?
VanHaaren: That’s a good question. Westphal has kept everything very close to the vest his entire recruitment, but we know he is down to Michigan State, Northwestern and Vanderbilt.
He has taken a visit to Vanderbilt, will be in East Lansing this weekend and is planning to schedule a visit to Northwestern before deciding.
I think all three schools legitimately have a shot, and it’s tough to tell where he’s leaning because he does keep things close. I tend to think he will stay closer to home, because he is very close to his family. I know some of the Michigan State commitments, including Enoch Smith (Chicago/Mt. Carmel), have been trying to recruit Westphal so that could help.
I believe Northwestern has a legitimate shot as well, especially since they’re the closest to home. He’s a closed book, though, so we’ll see what happens.
@buckeyefan686: Do you see OSU signing a class that appears to be too large at first in anticipation of transfers like we saw this past summer?
Bournival: The second Ohio State picks up another commitment, that will be the case, as it is at its limit right now. That said, the Buckeyes don’t appear done by any stretch of the imagination. They are in it for inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County), Cleveland Glenville teammates Erick Smith and Marshon Lattimore at safety and athlete, respectively, and are actively recruiting Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) as well as an offensive lineman. That would put them at 23 commitments.
Remember, the number of student-athletes under scholarship needs to be at 82 by August of next year. Transfers, medical hardships and players leaving for the NFL have an effect on that. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this class up to 23 or 24 by the time things are done.