James Franklin Is Making a Run at Brady Hoke's Spring Recruiting Crown

By Jordan Wagner on April 21, 2014 at 3:00p
James Franklin celebrates the prestigious April Recruiting Championship.

Most incoming freshmen have yet to set foot on campuses across the nation, but that hasn't stopped some schools from securing double-digit commitments for 2015. 

After a recent decommitment, Ohio State recruiting coordinator Mark Pantoni took to twitter to send a cryptic message suggesting that the Buckeyes will be just fine.

Despite the Buckeyes' slow start on the recruiting scene, there hasn't been any shortage of headlines in the Big Ten. 

Penn State, Nebraska Have early Success

In 2013, opposing fans joked about Michigan winning the prestigious April recruiting championship when the Wolverines' strong start faded to a slow finish. It appears this year's April recruiting championship belongs to Penn State.

The Nittany Lions currently hold the nation's second best class behind Alabama. Penn State's second-ranked class includes nine four-star prospects and three prospects rated as three-stars. 

While James Franklin's recruiting trail dominance attracts most of the attention, Bo Pelini is building a fine class in Lincoln. 

After recruiting struggles with the 2014 class, Nebraska is off to a quick start with 10 verbal commitments. Checking in at ninth in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings, the Cornhuskers have a strong foundation for their upcoming class. Rumors surrounding Pelini's job status have died down, which may aid his recruiting success. 

Nebraska has the luxury of landing one of the top junior quarterbacks in the country early in the cycle. Dual-threat Kevin Dillman had plenty of big-time offers before pledging to Pelini and company. Eric Lee, a four-star corner, pledged before Signing Day even passed. 

Northwestern Has Strong Week

Last year, Northwestern got off to a quick start on the recruiting scene, but fell off after a rough season. They currently check in at 23rd in the nation, with a class of two four-stars and the rest being three-stars. It's another good start for Pat Fitzgerald, but he'll need a stronger finish this season. 

Fitzgerald did manage to land eight recruits in a four day stretch. Andrew and David Dowell, twins from Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edwards, headline the Big Ten's third-ranked recruiting class. The four-star duo should provide the 'Cats with a pair of offensive weapons. The Ohio natives impressed at Ohio State's Friday Night Lights camp last summer. 

The unionization of Northwestern football appears to be having a big impact on recruiting for the Wildcats. Well, maybe that's a stretch. 

Kirk Ferentz Earning His Money?

The Iowa Hawkeyes have already secured the top five prospects from Iowa, helping them get off to a hot start in recruiting. Iowa checks in at fourth in the Big Ten and 26th in the nation. 

After losing top commitment Ross Pierschbacher to Alabama last year, Kirk Ferentz has been fighting suitors for three-star quarterback commitment Jack Beneventi. Beneventi is planning to take visits to Cal, Louisville, Texas and possibly other schools.

Offensive line has been one of the Hawkeyes' strengths over the years. That tradition could continue with a trio of three-star commitments: Landan Paulsen, Levi Paulsen and Jacob Newborg

The Usual Suspects At The Bottom

Ohio State fans worry about a lack of commitments, but it could always be worse. Indiana and Minnesota have yet to land a verbal for the 2015 class. Maryland and Purdue each have one, but both the Terrapins' and Boilermakers' first pledges have been big ones. 

Purdue quarterback commitment Elijah Sindelar was a favorite of Jeremy Birmingham and other Eleven Warriors members. The three-star prospect, who chose the Boilermakers over Kentucky, could be another sleeper for Darrell Hazell. As some might remember, Hazell was the first to offer Elite 11 QB David Blough before he burst onto the scene last year.

Four-star offensive guard E.J. Donahue was a huge start to Maryland's class last October. He may have been looking around since then. 

It's still too early for Ohio State or Michigan to panic. While both schools find themselves down in the rankings, they ought to finish with top recruiting classes. It's not about when a prospect makes his commitment, rather if they sign with your school in the end. 


Comments Show All Comments

route4buckeye's picture

Couple things...

1. Will there be weekly recruiting rankings like last year? I enjoyed those.

2. You spelled Ferentz wrong on the header. Just a heads up.

+4 HS
Jordan Wagner's picture

Yes, the weekly recruiting rankings will return. Might be only once a month until recruiting really heats up again. 

Larrinator's picture

Urban Meyer hasn't finished worst than 6th in recruiting class rankings since before 2006. I trust that he will get the job done. 


+6 HS
BHT's picture

He also has not finished below 3rd for The Ohio State Buckeyes. It is not panic time. If we have two commits next February, then I will be worried.

+2 HS
Larrinator's picture

ESPN has the Buckeyes at 6th for 2014 class. ( I don't know what rankings you were using) Still 6th is amazing. 


-2 HS
buckguyfan1's picture

Congrats Penn State, you're awesome.  See you in a few months. 

+4 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Nuff Said - correct me if I am wrong but they lost a lot on offense including Robinson - Their Head-Turner wide receiver. 

+1 HS
MikeNugents BigToe's picture

Nervous people in April worried about recruiting... 


"Remember that 55 yarder against Marshall?" -Not Mike Nugent

+14 HS
otrain2416's picture

Any news on OSU going after Noah Listermann at all? Saw he has an MSU offer. His hudl highlight video wasn't great but the kid is huge.

Also anything new on these Ohio guys at all: Rob Downey-OT, James Daniels-OG/OC, Joe Burrow-QB, Elijah Taylor- DT, George Brown-OT, C.J. Conrad-TE?

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

+1 HS
Jordan Wagner's picture

Ohio State told Listermann that they want to see him at camp. They view him as a project. C.J. Conrad plans to camp. 

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

Brady Hoke isn't afraid of losing the Spring Recruiting Crown... It's the Dunkin Donuts "Biggest D Hole" title, and the September Heisman he's focused on.

-1 HS
DC-town's picture

"Kirk Ferentz earning his money?"...You start boozing a little early today Wagner?

'Piss excellence' -RB

+1 HS
FitzBuck's picture

@markpantoni: BOOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!

im hoping mark has received news from two recruits during the Blue Jackets game.

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

FitzBuck's picture

Also he needs a nick name.

i vote for master P

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

Knarcisi's picture

September Heisman. April Coach of Year. Look out, Ferentz. 

+1 HS
andretolstoy's picture

I'm telling you Hoke is not Michigan's future. They're going to do what they have to do to get Harbaugh. When that happens, the Big Ten will be complete.

+1 HS
bleedscarlet's picture

I think there's a better chance of Lllloyd coming out of retirement than Harbaugh coaching in AA ...

Slingin' swag since 1970


+3 HS
Mortc15's picture

But indications are JH wanted the job when Hoke got hired. And it's well documented that SF might not be dealing with his over-aggressive style much longer so if Hoke is gone after another sub-par year this coming season, it could very well happen.


TheTeam16's picture

Then you would be sorely mistaken.

andretolstoy's picture

SF was attempting to deal him to Cleveland. I'm not sure how much more the "pros" are up to keeping a coach that runs the show like Bo ran Michigan in the 80s.

Personally, I am hoping he does coach in the BIG.

Jeremypreemo81's picture

This kind of recruiting is good for the B1G as a whole.  Glad to see progress

+1 HS
OSUpawn's picture

It's nice to see the B1G recruiting well.  I know we will get the kids we want.  I see a lot of Non-conference wins in the next 2-3 years.

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

SaltyD0gg's picture

It's not how you start, it's how you finish.

Pain of Discipline

Pain of Regret

Take Your Pick

NuttyBuckeye's picture

I'm not surprised at Franklin's success with recruiting at PSU.  They recently had their scholarship reduction limit cut due to good faith work with the whole Sandusky mess.  This, combined with a new coach and plenty of open competition, I am not surprised how high their ranking is.  I just want to see if Franklin can keep PSU at this level for 3-5 years... Time will tell.

What's round on the ends and high in the middle? Tell me if you know!

+2 HS
chirobuck's picture

well if they start winning and going to bowl games after the suspension he will have some momentum....I still think they are a year or two away from being legit B1G contenders though


^ best post ever ^