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Michigan made star-studded splash, but Buckeyes remain on top in Big Ten recruiting

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Michigan landed the nation’s top-ranked recruit. The Wolverines scored one of the best classes it has had in years. It celebrated its latest recruiting efforts with an A-List fundraiser with Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and Ric Flair. Jim Harbaugh has Michigan making plenty of noise with his recruiting tactics on the road. Despite all of the attention given to what Harbaugh and Michigan are doing, at the end of the day it is still Ohio State sitting atop the recruiting game when it comes to the Big Ten.

Michigan gave Ohio State a good run in the recruiting rankings, but the Buckeyes managed to stay just ahead of their bitter rivals to the north. According to the Rivals team rankings, Ohio State finished in third in the nation behind only recruiting national champion Alabama and Florida State (the Seminoles pushed past Ohio State earlier in the day). Urban Meyer‘s latest prized haul included two five-star players (LB Keandre Jones and DE Nick Bosa, the younger brother of Joey Bosa). The Buckeyes also added 15 four-star recruits in a class of 24. Michigan landed 28 additions in the Class of 2016, including a handful of signing day decisions, highlighted by Rashan Gary choosing Michigan over Clemson.

Every year since 2011, Ohio State has landed the top-rated recruiting class in the Big Ten. The last time the Buckeyes didn’t land the top class was the Class of 2010, which came at the end of the Jim Tressel era. Ohio State has had the top-ranked class in the Big Ten all but one year since 2008. For the past few years, the Buckeyes were largely in a boat all to themselves in the recruiting rankings, but this year did show Ohio State has some rejuvenated competition on the recruiting trail within the conference.

Michigan’s resurgence was expected under Harbaugh, but Michigan State also landed another quality recruiting class to hold its own, with just 18 commitments to finish third in the Big Ten pecking order. James Franklin and Penn State had some hurdles down the stretch, but the Nittany Lions landed the conference’s fourth-best recruiting class. The top four classes in the Big Ten all reside in the east. Nebraska and Wisconsin followed to represent the west.

As we now get set to turn the page to the Class of 2017, the question will now become whether or not Michigan can take that next step at challenging Ohio State. This obviously begins on the field this season, but will continue on the recruiting trail as well.

After stops at TCU, Arkansas State, Cameron Echols-Luper to give WKU a try

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Maybe the third time will be a charm for Cameron Echols-Luper?

On his personal Instagram account Wednesday, Echols-Luper revealed that he has decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Western Kentucky.  According to the Bowling Green Daily News, the decision was made following a visit to the school earlier this week.

As a graduate transfer, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2017 for the Hilltoppers. However, he has to finish up some schoolwork at his former school, Arkansas State, before officially moving on to WKU.

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Echols-Luper began his collegiate career at TCU in 2013, transferring to ASU in 2015. After sitting out that season, he was third on the Red Wolves in receptions (26) and receiving yards (407). His 15.7 yards per reception was second on the team.

Ex-USC DL Noah Jefferson won’t be transferring to Arizona after all

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In early March, Noah Jefferson announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from USC to Arizona.  Nearly five months later?

Never mind.

Wednesday, UA head coach Rich Rodriguez announced that Jefferson will not, as previously expected, be playing for the Wildcats this season.  No reason for the abrupt and unexpected about-face was given.

The coach did, though, intimate that a future pairing between the player and the program isn’t out of the question.

Jefferson wouldn’t have been eligible to play in 2017 for the Wildcats even if his move to the desert had come to fruition. He would’ve, though, had two years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018 at his disposal.

A four-star member of USC’s 2015 recruiting class, Jefferson played in 14 games, starting one of those, as a true freshman. After starting the season-opening loss to Alabama last season, Jefferson never played another down for USC.

Hugh Freeze makes first public comments since exiting Ole Miss in disgrace

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For the first time since his unceremonious exit from Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze has spoken publicly.  Somewhat.

In what was described as a brief interview with USA Today Sports Wednesday, the former Ole Miss head coach said his family and church have helped him get through the storm of the last few days. When asked if his family was standing by him, Freeze responded, “Oh, gosh, yeah.”

“God is good, even in difficult times,’’ Freeze told the website. “Wonderful wife and family, and that’s my priority.”

“I got some good friends,” the former head coach added.

The stunning news dropped last Thursday night that Freeze’s tenure as the head coach at Ole Miss had come to an end because of at least one call from his university-issued cell phone to a known escort service.  While Freeze blamed the call on a misdial, the administration found a “pattern of misconduct” during a deep dive into his phone records, leading the school to confront the coach about the situation.

After meetings with Freeze Wednesday night and then again Thursday morning, it became apparent that, if he didn’t resign, the school was going to fire him.

Because of a moral turpitude clause in his contract, there was neither a buyout nor a settlement.

Five-star 2017 Auburn signee undergoes ‘minor procedure,’ should be a go for start of summer camp

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It appears Auburn has dodged what could’ve been a significant injury bullet.

Citing a person familiar with the situation, Brandon Marcello of the Auburn arm of 247Sports.com is reporting that Calvin Ashley underwent a procedure on one of his eyes recently.  SECCountry.com described it as “a minor procedure”; both websites stated that the touted offensive tackle will be ready for the start of summer camp on July 31, this coming Monday.

The reports come a few days after Ashley posted a picture on social media of what appeared to be him in a hospital room.

The football program has not yet, at least publicly, addressed what if any type of health issue with which Ashley is dealing.

A five-star member of the Tigers’ 2017 recruiting class, Ashley was rated as the No. 6 tackle in the country; the No. 1 player at any position in Washington D.C.; and the No. 27 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Ashley was the highest-rated player in AU’s class this year, the only five-star recruit pulled in by Gus Malzahn and company this cycle.

The 6-6, 310-pound Ashley is expected to compete immediately for the starting job at left tackle.