Counter Intel: Iowa Catches Fire, Michigan Finishes April Strong, Penn State Lands a Pair, Michigan Dips Into Ohio, Maryland Keeps One Home

By Mick Walker on May 3, 2020 at 11:05 am
David Holloman
David Holloman

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

Iowa catches fire

Last week, Iowa landed a pair of three-star prospects in offensive tackle Beau Stephens and defensive end Max Llewellyn, adding to Kirk Ferentz's already-talented recruiting class.

Fast forward to this week and Iowa has landed its top commitment in the 2021 class. On Monday afternoon, four-star offensive tackle David Davidkov from New Trier (Ill.) High School committed to Ferentz and Co.

Throughout April, Davidkov seemed like a lock to end up at Michigan, but last weekend that all changed. Everyone with knowledge of his recruitment began to report the momentum shift from Michigan to Iowa for his commitment. By the time Monday rolled around, Davidkov announced his intentions to play his college football in Iowa City, not Ann Arbor.

With Iowa's recent success of developing NFL offensive linemen, it is clear to see why Davidkov picked the Hawkeyes. Ohio State was interested in Davidkov, as it offered him last September, but they never pursued him much after that.

After Davidkov's commitment, the Hawkeyes were not done, landing a pair of offensive playmakers as well.

The day after Davidkov committed, three-star athlete Arland Bruce IV from Olathe, Kan., who projects as a running back who will play behind Davidkov on the offensive line.

On May 1, three-star in-state wide receiver Brody Brecht committed, bringing size and speed to a normally run-heavy Hawkeye offense.

With the three commitments this past week, Iowa has moved up to the second-ranked class in the Big Ten and the sixth-ranked class in the nation.

Penn State gets its QB and kicker

Quarterback is one position that most programs like to lock early, and though it's a bit late in the cycle, Penn State did just that this past week with the commitment of 2021 four-star Christian Veilleux from the Bullis School in Maryland.

Veilleux is a lengthy big-armed quarterback that could see early playing time in Happy Valley. James Franklin can only hope Veilleux ends up like one of the last quarterbacks to play from the Bullis School, former Buckeye Dwayne Haskins. 

On top of landing their quarterback of the future this past week, the Nittany Lions also landed their kicker of the future. Local kicker Sander Sahaydak out of Liberty (Pa.) High School pledged his services on Tuesday. With both Veilleux and Sahaydak committing on Tuesday, it was a big day in State College.

A big-time quarterback and high-quality kicker are two valuable recruits every cycle. This past week, Franklin got both and stayed fair local for both players.

Tucker keeps the train moving 

The month of April was good to Mel Tucker, as Michigan State landed all 10 of its commitments in the 2021 class last month. Three of those commitments came in the last week, from three-stars Charles Brantley, Kameron Allen and Kevin Wigneton.

Brantley is a big-framed cornerback at 6-foot and 170 pounds, and he will perfectly in Tucker's defense in East Lansing.

The next two commitments are on the offensive side of the ball, as the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Allen projects as a big-framed, seam-stretching tight end. Wigneton, at 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, is a massive offensive guard that will help the Spartan offense play power football during the fall. 

With Tucker landing 10 commitments in April, the Spartans now have a top 10 class in the Big Ten and top 25 class nationally.

Maryland lands one of their state's best

By now, many Buckeye fans probably know the name Marcus Bradley as a four-star defensive tackle that held an Ohio State offer and many thought would end up in Columbus for quite some time.

However, the Buckeyes began rolling on the recruiting trail in March. In April, they decided to move on from the Quince Orchard (Md.) High School standout, prioritizing other recruits along the defensive line.

With Ohio State out of the picture for Bradley, and his high school teammate Demeioun Robinson deciding to stay home by committing to the local Terrapins in March, they became the most likely landing spot for Bradley. This past week, those thoughts came to fruition as Bradley committed to Maryland on Friday afternoon. 

Bradley gives Maryland and Mike Locksley another big run-stuffer in the middle of its defense. He also gives them another talented local player that elected to stay in his home state for college.

Michigan speedster commits to Indiana

The name David Holloman may ring a bell for some Buckeye fans, as he visited Ohio State this winter before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nothing much came after that visit, however, and the talented three-star running back had to take his talents elsewhere. Last week, Holloman committed to the Indiana Hoosiers and gave them a home-run hitter at the running back position for the 2021 cycle. With Indiana being a run-heavy team, Holloman may be someone for Buckeye fans to remember for future matchups.

Third Texan goes to Gophers

As we have harped on these past few weeks, Minnesota has the ability to recruit all across the country, and the Gophers did it again last week.

On Wednesday evening, PJ Fleck and Co. landed three-star defensive tackle Albert Regis out of La Porte (Texas) High School. As most Big Ten football fans know, in order to succeed in this conference, you need big defensive linemen, and Regis is exactly that at 6-foot-1, 295 pounds.

In addition to being a talented player, Regis is Minnesota's third commitment from Texas, which gives the Gophers more Lone Star State commitments than in-state commitments.

Nebraska dips into Sunshine State

In the 2020 recruiting cycle, Scott Frost and Nebraska landed seven players from the state of Florida.

In the 2021 cycle, the Cornhuskers landed their first commitment from the Sunshine State, as three-star outside linebacker Patrick Payton, out of Northwestern High School in Miami, committed on Friday.

He is currently ranked as an outside linebacker but projects as an edge rusher in Lincoln during his college career. Payton gives Nebraska another big commitment from the southern states that should help them win games.

Michigan comes into Ohio

In the 2020 class, Michigan did not sign a single player from the state of Ohio, which has historically been an important recruiting state for the Wolverines.

In the 2021 class, they set out to change that as they have offered 14 players from Ohio, and three-star wide receiver Markus Allen, of Northmont High School in Clayton, became the first of those players to commit to the Wolverines.

Before committing, Allen had interest from all over the country and the Big Ten, including Ohio State, but no offer ever came from the Buckeyes.

In Allen, Michigan is getting a raw player who has loads of potential. He is a great get for Michigan.

Tennessee is on a tear

There was no hotter team on the recruiting trail last week than Tennessee, as the Vols landed two five-stars, two four-stars, and a three-star since last Sunday.

On Sunday, they landed the best player in Alabama with the commitment of five-star junior Dylan Brooks – the No. 18-ranked player nationally and No. 1-ranked weakside defensive end – from Handley High School. On Monday afternoon, they nabbed a former Ohio State lean in four-star defensive back Kamar Wilcoxson, who the Buckeyes moved on from. The same goes for Florida-based five-star outside linebacker Terrence Lewis, who committed to the Vols on Thursday.

On that same day, junior college running back Tiyon Evans committed to Tennessee, giving them one of the top junior college players this cycle. Also, receiver Julian Nixon committed to Tennessee last week for a total of five new players.

This run of commitments vaulted Tennessee into the top three of the national recruiting class rankings – past Clemson and SEC rival Florida.

A huge week for the Volunteers has given them great momentum on the trail, but it will be important to see if all of these players sign with Tennessee come December.

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