The Big Ten is coming off the most successful postseason in a few years, and now the sights are set on finishing strong on the recruiting trails. Ohio State is easily on track for yet another top class in the Big Ten, while Penn State appears on pace for a solid second in the Big Ten. A recruiting calendar with coaching changes at programs like Michigan and Nebraska have led to some interesting storylines coming down the home stretch to National Signing Day on Wednesday. Nebraska has hung tight, but Michigan is in full scramble mode and beginning to focus on hitting 2016 in a big way.
Current Rivals Big Ten Team Rankings (as of February 1, 2015)
1. Ohio State
2. Penn State
3. Michigan State
7. (tie) Rutgers
7. (tie) Indiana
The Top Recruit
LB Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH): Ohio State
Ohio State is already set to be stocked with quality depth in 2015 but the addition of Cleveland linebacker Jerome Baker only helps pad the depth in the middle of the defense. Baker is ranked the 50th best player in the nation and the top player in the state of Ohio, according to Rivals.
Recruiting Battle To Watch
Ohio State could be in line to add another one of the top recruits from within the Big Ten footprint. East St. Louis defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. reportedly has Ohio State in his final list of top schools, which also includes Auburn, Florida State and Missouri. Beckner Jr. visited Ohio State just two weeks ago, but he made his final official visit to Missouri last week.
Penn State surging, Michigan lagging
Penn State head coach James Franklin has done well on the recruiting trail and is on pace for a solid recruiting class with a full slot of scholarships to offer. In Ann Arbor it is quite a different story. Jim Harbaugh may have reinvigorated the fanbase but a late start to recruiting for Harbaugh and his staff has not left much time to turn around a lagging Class of 2015 started by Brady Hoke. Harbaugh and his staff should be given a free pass for 2015 and the focus should be set on what this staff does in 2016.
The latest completely unsurprising quarterback decision? Step right up Wisconsin!
As has long been expected, the Badgers confirmed via their Week 1 depth chart release on Sunday that junior Jack Coan would be the Badgers starting quarterback for the upcoming season:
Coan was an obvious choice for Paul Chryst given his experience at the position and one wonders what took the program so long in naming him the guy given his five starts last season, including leading a blowout of a Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl. He threw for 515 yards and five touchdowns (against three interceptions) last year and replaced a rather ineffective Alex Hornibrook down the stretch.
With Hornibrook transferring to Florida State in the offseason and both Graham Mertz and Chase Wolf being freshmen, picking Coan to lead the team under center was an expected end result.
Perhaps the far more interesting name on the Wisconsin depth chart is that of wide receiver Quintez Cephus as the backup behind Kendric Pryor. While the former’s talent undoubtedly makes him one of the top options in the passing game, it’s still notable to see his name pop up given that he was so recently reinstated to the team following his acquittal of sexual assault charges earlier in the month.
Cephus has been practicing with the team but he did miss all of last season while dealing with the legal issues and will have less than two weeks of practices under his belt before the opener at USF on Aug. 30.
Either way, we at least know where he stands in the pecking order for the Badgers and who will be throwing him passes this season as UW gets set to make another run at the Big Ten title.
The SEC East sure is having itself a weekend. And only a handful of teams can say that’s a good thing.
Hot on the heals of Tennessee DB Bryce Thompson getting arrested, Georgia is now dealing with an arrest of their own. While the charges are not quite as serious as those in Knoxville, they are still enough to make Kirby Smart blow a gasket or two.
As per DawgNation, Bulldogs freshman defensive lineman Bill Norton was booked on a number of alcohol-related charges early Sunday morning and eventually released on bond. Record show he was cited for driving under the influence, failure to maintain lane/improper driving and minor in possession of alcohol.
A court date does not appear to have been set just yet in the matter.
While there seemed to be little chance that Norton saw action in the opener against Vanderbilt on Saturday night, his arrest probably ended any slim hope of seeing the field or traveling with the team to Nashville.
A four-star prospect coming out of high school in Tennessee, Norton picked Georgia over fellow SEC rivals Alabama, Ole Miss, Tennessee and others.
Week 0 is officially in the books and oh how great it was to have college football once again in our lives.
While most of the attention nationally was on the compelling matchup between Florida and Miami down in Orlando, the better of the two FBS games in action on Saturday was actually out in the islands where Hawaii pulled a 45-38 upset of Arizona. The latter game had a ton of moments that only seem to happen late into the night like turnovers galore, some wild touchdowns and the Rainbow Warriors defense stopping a weaving Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate at the one yard line to preserve the win a la Kevin Dyson in Super Bowl XXXIV.
The real fun may have come after the game was over while most of America was soundly sleeping though. First off, Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich took to Twitter to have a little fun with the prognosticators on ESPN’s College GameDay for their game picks…
Well played. He wasn’t the only one to have a bit of fun at Arizona’s expense either with the Wildcats’ bitter rivals Arizona State also getting into the act with a cheeky Mahalo as well.
Troll game… strong. Welcome back college football, where that Territorial Cup game at the end of the regular season just might be a little more fun given the way the season has started off.
One of Tennessee’s best defenders spent the first Saturday night of college football in jail instead of watching a division rival on TV.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, starting defensive back Bryce Thompson was arrested on a charge of misdemeanor domestic assault and allegedly made threats against the school during an altercation. As a result, he was jailed overnight before being released on bond early Sunday.
Per the paper:
Thompson and a woman got into an argument around 8 p.m. Saturday in Stokely Hall on the University of Tennessee-Knoxville campus, according to court records.
Thompson reportedly told the woman he would “slap the (expletive) out of you.” Two witnesses told police they heard him threaten to “shoot up the school,” according to an arrest warrant.
The woman in question reportedly had been in a longterm relationship with the sophomore, who also damaged some property in the area.
A court date has been set already for Sept. 3 — just a few days after the Vols’ Aug. 31 opener against Georgia State at Neyland Stadium. The school said they were still in the process of gathering information and had not determined Thompson’s status for the game but that is likely coming well before kickoff.
Assuming the matter keeps Thompson out of the lineup, the team will need to find a replacement for a corner who garnered several freshman All-America honors after picking off three passes and starting 10 games in 2018.