Counter Intel: Michigan Locks Down Massachusetts, Indiana Lands Two Big Ones, and Penn State Invades Michigan

By Mick Walker on April 5, 2020 at 12:10 pm
Four-star tight end Louis Hansen committed to Michigan

Counter Intel is the smart Ohio State fan's look at recruiting action taking place at Big Ten and top national programs.

Michigan remains on a roll while locking down Massachusetts

After ending its 10-month commitment drought last week, Michigan continued that momentum into this week by landing three total commitments in its 2021 class. The first of those came from four-star tight end Louis Hansen out of St. Sebastian's in Needham, Mass.

Hansen appeared to be one of the Wolverines' top tight end targets in the 2021 class, and they got their man. He visited Ohio State last fall for its game against Penn State, but there wasn't much talk between Hansen and the Buckeyes after that, while Michigan continued to chase him.

Seeing as Hansen hails from the state of Massachusetts, and given the Wolverines' strong ties to the state, he seemed destined to end up at Michigan. On Wednesday, Hansen announced he would be committing Thursday afternoon, and that's when a Michigan lean turned into a lock. In all reality, this is a good get for Michigan, and Hansen was definitely a player that Ohio State was interested in, but nothing ever materialized.

Similar to last week when Michigan landed four-star offensive guard Greg Crippen and three-star defensive end Dominick Giudice on the same day, Hansen wasn't Michigan's only commitment on Thursday. Late that evening, Michigan landed Tommy Doman, the top-ranked punter in the country, according to Chris Sailer Kicking rankings.

On Friday morning, Michigan landed a commitment from three-star inside linebacker Casey Phinney, who also resides in Massachusetts. Phinney is the perfect Don Brown middle linebacker – big, physical and from the Bay State. Similar to Giudice's announcement last week, Phinney's announcement surprised many around the Michigan program.

Indiana lands two of the Hoosier state's top 12 players

Following a successful 8-5 season with an appearance in the Taxslayer Gator Bowl, the Indiana Hoosiers have seen an uptick in their 2021 recruiting. This past week, Tom Allen and Co. landed three-star defensive end Cooper Jones and three-star tight end Aaron Steinfeldt. Jones is ranked as the fifth prospect in the state of Indiana while Steinfeldt is the state's 12th ranked player in 2021.

Prior to committing to his home state Hoosiers, the Valparaiso native Jones held an offer from Ohio State, but the Buckeyes never made Jones a priority and the communication fell off. Jones also chose Indiana over the likes of Purdue, Michigan and Iowa. As one can see, Jones was heavily recruited by many Midwest schools but elected to stay home for Tom Allen, which is huge for Indiana. He should pair well with fellow three-star Indiana defensive end commit Rodney McGraw who Ohio State was also interested in.

The second of Indiana's two commitments this past week was Steinfeldt out of Bloomington North High School in Bloomington, Ind. Considering that Indiana was Steinfeldt's first-ever scholarship offer and that he lives less than 10 minutes away from Indiana's campus, Steinfeldt was an Indiana lock. Nonetheless, this an important local get for Indiana and is someone that it hopes can give opposing defensive coordinators headaches for years to come.

Jones, Steindfeldt and McGraw joining the program gives Indiana the No. 11 recruiting ranking in the Big Ten, and the Hoosiers' class is filled with solely in-state recruits.

Penn State begins trending for Michigan prospects

Tuesday evening, Crystal Balls began to roll in for four-star safety Jaylen Reed from Martin Luther King High School in Detroit, Mich., to become a Nittany Lion. Reed is the highest-ranked defensive back in the state of Michigan, but the Wolverines have yet to offer him. Penn State's main competition in Reed's recruitment is Georgia and Michigan State. But with the distance to Athens being a problem and the in-state Spartans having a brand new coaching staff, it is hard to see him going anywhere but Happy Valley. 

The fighting James Franklins are also trending for Kalen King and Kobe King, who are twins out of Cass Tech High School in Detroit, Mich. Both have Michigan offers and both are top 13 players in the state that at one point seemed like Wolverine locks.

Kalen is a four-star cornerback and Kobe is a three-star linebacker, and both dropped their top seven schools this week. Quickly after that, Penn State began to receive Crystal Ball forecasts for both of them. 

It is one thing for Michigan to miss out on in-state targets, but it is another thing to lose those targets to a divisional opponent in the Big Ten. On top of that, Michigan needed to land some athletic defensive backs this class to keep up with high-powered passing offenses like Ohio State's. Missing out on Kalen King and Reed, who they haven't even offered, is not a good look for Michigan's defensive back and in-state recruiting efforts.

Both of the twins visited Ohio State for the game against Penn State last fall. Without an offer, though, their interest in Ohio State fell off. It was more of the same with Reed. Kerry Coombs was in contact with him, but once Ohio State landed other defensive backs, the two parties went their separate ways

Northwestern nabs a four-star linebacker

After stealing three-star offensive tackle Caleb Tiernan from Michigan last week, Pat Fitzgerald kept their bit of recruiting momentum going this week. Late Friday evening, Northwestern landed a commitment from four-star inside linebacker Mac Uihlein out of Lake Forest (Ill.) High School.

Uihlein gives Fitzgerald a stud middle linebacker to replace Northwestern star middle linebacker Paddy Fisher once he exhausts his eligibility after this season. He is also an important local get for the Wildcats – four-star player, local kid and position of need make Uihlein's commitment very impressive for Fitzgerald and his staff.

Minnesota goes down to the Lonestar State

Not groundbreaking news here, but we did want to mention Minnesota land three-star wide receiver Brady Boyd out of Southlake Carroll in Texas. With the way that Minnesota develops its wide receivers, he could be a player to know.

Secondly, we wanted to point out how Minnesota is one of the best teams in the Big Ten – not named Ohio State – at recruiting on a national scale. Many programs in the Big Ten try to stay in the Midwest for recruiting, but not Minnesota. Obviously, the Gophers land their share of local Midwest talent, but under P.J. Fleck, they have done a great job of finding under-recruited players in the talent-rich state of Florida and Texas.

North Carolina remains on fire

Despite Ohio State taking four-star running back Evan Pryor out of Cornelius, N.C. and away from the home state Tar Heels, Mack Brown and Co. remain on a roll. After landing a commitment from four-star running Kamarro Edmonds out of Havelock, N.C., the Tar Heels' 2021 class is now ranked third in the country behind Ohio State and Clemson.

They are primarily doing this by keeping their local players at home with 11 of their 12 commitments residing in North Carolina. But make no mistake, they have a very talented class with 10 four-stars players, which ties Ohio State for the most in the country. They may have missed out on, Pryor but they are keeping most of their state's best at home, and it's working very well for them

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