The latest on every B1G team's top remaining target
With National Signing Day less than a week away, it’s time to take a look at which recruits B1G teams are spending the most energy on before the faxes are sent.
Top target — Three-star LB Dele’ Harding
Latest news — The Maryland inside linebacker had a visit this past weekend with Rutgers and went so far as to say that the Scarlet Knights were the new favorite. But lucky for the Illini, it’ll get to host him this weekend. Given the lack of depth Illinois has at linebacker, the Illini could pitch the likelihood of him playing sooner rather than later.
Top target — Four-star WR Desmond Fitzpatrick
Latest news — Louisville and Nebraska might sound like the potential favorites for the versatile Michigan wideout, but Indiana does have a couple things in its favor. The Hoosiers feature a high-powered, pass-heavy offense that Fitzpatrick raved about after his official visit in December. He also said that IU has a leg up academically because of its broadcast and communications department that was funded by Mark Cuban. Louisville will get his last visit, but IU is certainly still in the mix.
Top target — Three-star OT Alaric Jackson
Latest news — After missing out on Matt Farniok to Nebraska, Iowa is in need of a talented tackle like Jackson. He visited the Hawkeyes last weekend, and said that he might not end up visiting the Huskers after all. If he doesn’t, that would certainly bode well for the Hawkeyes. Despite their vastly different 2015 seasons, losing two of the nation’s top tackles to rival Nebraska wouldn’t sit well.
Top target — Four-star DE Terrell Hall
Latest news — After the month that’s been for the Terps, landing Hall, a former Ohio State commit, would be huge. The biggest thing separating a commitment from the Under Armour All-American is Nick Saban. Hall visited Alabama the week after he took his official to College Park. He’ll also take a trip to Ole Miss before announcing his decision. But Durkin will likely do what he can to make sure he gets the last word with the prized DMV recruit.
Top target — Five-star DL Rashan Gary
Latest news — The consensus No. 1 recruit would put a serious exclamation point on Jim Harbaugh’s roller coaster January. Michigan is believed to be the favorite, with Gary having visited the Wolverines more than anyone. USC made a late push, Clemson will get his last official visit, and Alabama could get another meeting. You know Harbaugh is going to pull out all the stops to land what would be the highest-rated recruit in program history. There might be a couple Michigan fans watching his National Signing Day announcement on SportsCenter. Maybe.
Top target — Four-star CB Lavert Hill
Latest news — In case you haven’t heard, there’s a bit of a B1G East battle going down to the wire with Hill. MSU is competing with Michigan and Penn State for the Detroit native, and it appears to be an even race. The former Penn State commit visited East Lansing this past weekend, a week after his trip to Penn State caused a stir. He was introduced at a PSU hockey game, which created controversy as to whether or not it was an NCAA violation. Ultimately, it wasn’t. Nonetheless, Hill’s signing day announcement will have nearly half the B1G East teams on edge of their seats.
Top target — Three-star WR Dredrick Snelson
Latest news — I get it. Snelson is still technically committed to Minnesota. I believe that there’s still a chance he ends up there, but there’s a lot of speculation that he’ll flip to Maryland like the Daniels brothers did. He’s also got a visit to Penn State lined up this weekend. You can bet the Minnesota coaching staff is treating the Under Armour All-American like an uncommitted recruit. He was a major get when he committed, and he’d be a major loss if he went elsewhere.
Top target — Four-star S Isaiah Simmons
Latest news — You could easily argue Desmond Fitzpatrick is Nebraska’s top target, but for the sake of not repeating what was already written about him (go up to Indiana), let’s say it’s Simmons. Nebraska was once a possible favorite with Simmons, who has family in Omaha. But late pursuits from Clemson and Michigan put that in question. In-home visits from Harbaugh and Dabo Swinney could push either school over the top. If Nebraska could land one of the nation’s top safeties, it could potentially be looking at a top-20 class.
Top target — Four-star OT Erik Swenson
Latest news — There really hasn’t been much talk about Swenson lately. Oh, except for the fact that he decommitted from Michigan after reportedly having his scholarship pulled without so much as a phone call from Harbaugh, which caused an attack against his recruiting tactics. But other than that, not much. Swenson could potentially fall into Northwestern’s lap. Wisconsin could also land Swenson, but the program is already full on scholarships. That’s the last thing Swenson wants to hear about right now.
Top target — Five-star ATH Mecole Hardman Jr.
Latest news — Ohio State might not be the favorite to get the nation’s top athlete out of SEC country, but the Buckeyes are at least trending in the right direction. The two-way threat took an official visit to Columbus two weeks ago and added the Buckeyes to his list of finalists. Unfortunately for Ohio State, he said Alabama was the favorite following its hiring of Jeremy Pruitt, and he did meet with Nick Saban this week. Urban Meyer has pulled off some key flips, but getting Hardman to come to Columbus would be an all-time steal.
Top target — Four-star LB Brendan Ferns
Latest news — Ferns was supposed to have his official visit to Penn State last weekend but he couldn’t make the trip because of the snowstorm on the East Coast. The thought is that Ferns is down to PSU or West Virginia, both of which he could still visit this weekend. Ferns has a brother at West Virginia, but he’s maintained a good relationship with Brent Pry, who was promoted from PSU linebackers coach to defensive coordinator following Bob Shoop’s departure. James Franklin could get a major boost if he could lock down the seventh-rated linebacker to join “Linebacker U.”
Top target — Three-star DE Jerrion Nelson
Latest news — Because of its young roster, Purdue didn’t have much wiggle room with its 2016 class, and it showed. The B1G’s last-ranked recruiting class has been nearly full on scholarships since the beginning of the month. But it could get some needed help on the defensive line with the addition of Nelson. Syracuse is the favorite to land him, but given the way things have gone for Purdue lately, Darrell Hazell might make a strong late.
Top target — Four-star OT Erik Swenson
Latest news — Like Northwestern and Wisconsin, the market is hot for the former Michigan recruit. The Rutgers coaching staff flew to Swenson’s school a couple days after his decommittment fallout in hopes of scheduling an official visit. Swenson hasn’t released a final five, but Northwestern, Virginia and Wisconsin are all believed to be in the mix. It might be tough for Rutgers to be a serious candidate without an official visit, but the staff could’ve made an impression on him by making the trip.
Top target — Four-star DT Garrett Rand
Latest news — Rand has been committed since October and he hasn’t verbally wavered on his Wisconsin commitment. But it took Wisconsin nearly four weeks to name its defensive coordinator. During that time Wilcox took an official visit to UCLA. Arizona State is also still believed to be recruiting him. Wisconsin was so eager to solidify the U.S. Army All-American’s commitment that it was reportedly flying down to Arizona — along with new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox — on Thursday. It remains to be seen if Wisconsin’s top defensive recruit — and only 2016 DT — will see eye to eye with Wilcox. Badger fans can only hope they don’t lose another key defensive piece.