Big Ten East recruiting: Wyatt Davis, Aubrey Solomon and Tyshon Fogg make the East hot in June
It was a busy month for Big Ten recruiting. In all, the conference racked up a total of 47 new commitments in June, including 45 for the class of 2017.
As a whole, the revitalized Big Ten is recruiting better than ever. Eight of the conference’s 14 teams find themselves in the Top 30 of the national team rankings according to 247Sports.com, including two teams – Ohio State (No.1) and Michigan (No. 4) in the Top 5 nationally.
Inside the Big Ten, the East Division reigns supreme with four of the conference’s top six classes.
Using the rankings as our guide, let’s review the Big Ten East’s recruiting classes and all of June’s additions, starting with league’s best.
• 14 Commitments in 2017 • 2 New • B1G Rank: 1
The conference’s – and the country’s – top-ranked recruiting class, Ohio State and Urban Meyer added two big-time pledges in June.
On June 12, Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman) 4-star quarterback Tate Martell shocked many with the timing of his commitment when he picked the Buckeyes during a visit to Columbus with his family. The former Texas A&M commitment is the country’s top-ranked dual-threat quarterback and a two-time national champion for the Gaels.
Just about two weeks later, Martell’s good friend, 5-star lineman Wyatt Davis – the country’s top-ranked offensive guard – also committed to the Buckeyes, choosing Ohio State one week after his first ever visit to Ohio.
Related: 5-star California offensive lineman Wyatt Davis commits to Ohio State
• 16 Total Commitments in 2017 • 4 New • B1G Rank: 2
Jim Harbaugh and Michigan were all over the country in June, skipping from satellite camp to satellite camp and it paid off on the recruiting trail, and not just in the 2017 class. Overall, the Maize and Blue added five new commitments but it all started on June 2nd with the pledge of in-state 4-star Corey Malone-Hatcher, the country’s 17th-ranked defensive end.
Ten days later, another 4-star defensive end, Virginia’s Luiji Vilain – the eighth-ranked end (and quite possibly the greatest name in recruiting history) – picked Michigan over North Carolina, USC and others. The Wolverines though weren’t done stacking up studs along the defensive line. 4-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon caught the country off guard when he picked Michigan on June 18. The country’s 10th-ranked defensive tackle chose the Wolverines over the Georgia Bulldogs, eschewing his home state school for a future in Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines finished out 2017 recruiting for the month with a commitment on the other side of the ball on June 25. Connecticut 3-star offensive lineman Andrew Stueber committed to assistant coach Tim Drevno and the Maize and Blue one week after picking up an offer from the Wolverines.
Related: Connecticut lineman Andrew Stueber commits to Michigan
As some gravy to Solomon’s commitment, the Lee County High School product (Leesburg, Ga.), brought a talented 2018 teammate with him: 4-star safety Otis Reese committed to Michigan the same day.
• 19 Total Commitments in 2017 • 9 New • B1G Rank: 3
Rejoice, Piscataway! The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are waking up. At least on the recruiting trail.
June was a mega-month for new head coach Chris Ash, thanks to the June 26 commitment of Maryland 4-star linebacker Tyshon Fogg. A New Jersey native living in Towson, Md., and attending traditional powerhouse Calvert Hall High School, Fogg chose the Knights over Stanford, Maryland and almost 25 other offers. He’s the second 4-star prospect to commit to Ash and his new staff to date.
Related: Maryland linebacker Tyshon Fogg commits to Rutgers
In total, the Knights picked up nine new pledges, but perhaps more importantly for Rutgers, five of their new verbals come from New Jersey high schools, which is a major win for Ash as he looks to re-establish his program as the place to be for the Garden State’s best.
Camden (Woodrow Wilson) defensive back Edwin Lopez got the commitment party started when he picked Rutgers on June 1. Then 11 days later, 3-star offensive lineman Owen Bowles Egg Harbor City (Cedar Creek) followed suit. On June 16, West Orange 3-star linebacker C.J. Onyechi picked Rutgers from his nine scholarship offers.
A week later, the real fun began for Ash’s program. Wayne (Hills) safety Tyler Hayek, the state’s 30th-ranked player, picked Rutgers on June 25, as did Marlton (Cherokee) running back Johnathan Lovett on June 27, but it was the big fish sandwiched between the two of them that should have fans the most excited.
On June 28 the Scarlet Knights went across the bridge to New York and received two more commitments. First, a wide receiver out of the Bronx, Shameen Jones picked Rutgers and he was quickly joined by another outside linebacker, Brooklyn (Grand Street) 3-star prospect Olakunle Fatukasi. He picked Rutgers from ten other offers that included Maryland, Indiana, Syracuse and Boston College. Later that evening, commitment No. 9, Pennsylvania defensive end Jaohne Duggan jumped on the commit train and said yes to Rutgers as well. He was offered by the Scarlet Knights just three days before deciding to end his recruitment.
• 13 Total Commitments in 2017 • 5 New • B1G Rank: 7
Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans are no secret to moving under-the-radar and they made a big move up the Big Ten’s rankings in June and now sit as the conference’s sixth-ranked class. Five new verbals committed to the Green and White, including three defensive linemen, a staple of Dantonio’s program in East Lansing.
Roselle, Ill. (Lake Park) defensive end Jacub Panasiuk – a younger brother of 2016 signee Mike Panasiuk – started the month strong for the Spartans, committing on June 2. It took three weeks for things to pick up again for Michigan State but when it did, it happened with a bang, culminating in the commitment of Westerville (Ohio) South 3-star defensive back Dominique Long, the fourth player from the Buckeye State to pick the Spartans in this class.
Related: Ohio athlete Dominique Long commits to Michigan
Michigan State didn’t have to go far to land a commitment from Dearborn (Mich.) offensive tackle Mustafa Khaleefah, who committed to the Spartans just one day after being offered by offensive line coach Mark Staten.
Related: Michigan State lands commitment from offensive tackle Mustafa Khaleefah
To wrap up a successful month, Michigan State went to Florida and landed two other defensive ends: St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) 3-star Lashawn Paulino-Bell and Bishop Moore Catholic (Orlando) 3-star Donovan Winter.
• 10 Total Commitments in 2017 • 1 New • B1G Rank: 8
After a big push in April and May that saw D.J. Durkin’s Maryland program add eight new commitments – including 5-star defensive end Joshua Kaindoh and 4-star defensive tackle Cam Spencer – June slowed to a more familiar pace, turtle-like pace for the Terrapins.
In June, Durkin’s program added only one new verbal, 3-star prospect M.J. Jarrell, a 6-foot-2, 183-pound wide receiver from Timber Creek (Orlando) High School. Jarrell chose Maryland over 24 other offers, including South Carolina, Duke, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Iowa State and others. Primarily recruited by wide receivers coach Chris Beatty, Jarrell is the country’s 154th-ranked wide receiver and third wideout committed to the Terps so far in 2017.
• 8 Total Commitments in 2017 • 0 New • B1G Rank: 10
James Franklin’s reputation as a recruiter is one of the primary reasons he was hired away from Vanderbilt after the 2013 season and to this point, he’s not let Penn State fans down in that regard. Although the Nittany Lions are off to a slow start in 2017 – they didn’t add a single new pledge in June – it’s a safe bet that they’ll finish in the Top 5 of the league come February.
Just because they didn’t bring in any new commitments doesn’t mean big things aren’t in the works for Franklin and his program. Philadelphia 5-star running back D’Andre Swift has Penn State in his Top 5 schools and spent four days in late June visiting and camping in Happy Valley with his St. Joseph’s Prep teammates. 4-star cornerback Lamont Wade, Pennsylvania’s second-ranked player (behind Swift) made another visit as well.
The Nittany Lions may be just a few days away from their next commitment. Archbishop Moeller (Cincinnati) 4-star tight end Matt Dotson will be making his college choice between Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State at The Opening next week in Oregon.
• 6 Total Commitments in 2017 • 3 New • B1G Rank: 14
Kevin Wilson has helped lead Indiana back to respectability on the field but the Hoosiers are still struggling to turn that into any sort of sustained momentum on the recruiting trail. Though they enter July with the Big Ten’s lowest-ranked class, the Crimson and Cream did add a few key pieces to their 2017 class in June.
On June 1, Indiana picked up a verbal commitment from Plant (Tampa, Fla.) linebacker Thomas Allen, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound inside linebacker from one of Florida’s best programs. He’s the son of new Indiana defensive coordinator Tom Allen. Three weeks later they nabbed another Sunshine State star, adding Clearwater defensive end Tramar Reece, who committed to Indiana over Iowa State, Duke, Louisville, UCF and Southern Miss among his 16 offers. Reece is familiar with Allen as well from his days as defensive coordinator at USF in Tampa.
The final pickup of the month for Indiana was from Ben Davis (Indianapolis) defensive tackle LeShaun Minor. A 3-star prospect, Minor is a 6-foot-3, 295-pound run-stuffer from a statewide power and the Hoosier State’s 13th-ranked player.