Counter Intel is the smart Ohio State fan's look at recruiting action taking place within the Big Ten and top national programs.
Harbaugh Back at it on the West Coast
A week after grabbing Arizona pass rusher Quintin Somerville, the Wolverines once again made some noise out west. This time around it was four-star California wide receiver Cristian Dixon who became commitment No. 19 and the latest addition for Jim Harbaugh's seventh-ranked 2021 recruiting class.
Dixon hails from the powerhouse Mater Dei program that also includes potential five-star 2022 cornerback Domani Jackson. LSU was the early favorite before they backed off a bit in the recruitment. Pac-12 programs like Oregon and USC were involved a bit, but it was Michigan that seemed to prioritize Dixon the most. He joins Clayton, Ohio's Markus Allen to become the team's second wide receiver commit.
Orgeron Plucks Midwest Product
This was probably the week's bit of news that had the most direct impact on Ohio State, but the Buckeyes really weren't viewed as that serious of a contender for Michigan tackle Garrett Dellinger. We've talked about him as a name to watch, but it clearly wasn't going to be Ohio State when he announced the June 24 commitment date.
The nation's 12th-best tackle and No. 5 player in the state of Michigan, Dellinger went through with his commitment on Wednesday and delivered a nice bit of news to the folks in Baton Rouge. The Wolverines were thought to be the other top contender for the four-star who can play either tackle or guard. The Buckeyes and Tigers are both chasing five-star tackle Tristan Leigh out of Fairfax, Virginia, but the Dellinger pledge likely won't have much of an impact on things.
B1G Trio Land Sunshine State Defenders
Three Big Ten programs tapped into the state of Florida this week as the Hawkeyes, Badgers, and Hoosiers all came away with defensive backs from the Sunshine State.
It's been an interesting couple months for three-star Tampa cornerback Jordan Oladokun. He committed to Iowa on April 14, backed off that pledge on May 8, and now he's back in the Hawkeyes' 2021 class after re-committing last week. Rated as the country's No. 78 corner, Okadokun also holds offers from Penn State, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, and others. His teammate at Gaither High School – three-star running back Ricky Parks – is set to announce his own decision today and the pick is expected to be Iowa or Utah.
Paul Chryst also did some damage in the state of Florida as the Badgers secured a commitment from three-star corner Ricardo Hallman. Penn State, Ole Miss, and Arkansas were among the favorites for the Sunshine State's No. 85 prospect. Hallman is 6-foot and 183 pounds and recorded eight interceptions as a junior in 2019.
Auburndale, Florida is home of three-star safety Aubrey Burks, and his crystal ball still reads 100 percent in favor of Jeff Scott the USF Bulls. That mattered very little to Tom Allen as the Hoosiers latest addition holds some decent offers from Georgia Tech, Louisville, and North Carolina. At 6-foot and 180 pounds, Burks actually played linebacker last season but is being recruited to fill the safety/linebacker hybrid role – which is known as the "Husky" – in Bloomington.
There's almost always a lot of work remaining after landing an early commitment from a Florida prospect. I imagine Kirk Ferentz, Paul Chryst, and Tom Allen know they're going to have to fend off a number of other programs until things are wrapped up in December or February.
Gophs Lose Texas Defender
Minnesota's surprisingly good 2021 class took a hit this week when outside linebacker D'Marion Alexander opened things back up. A Minnesota commit since late April, Les Miles and the Jayhawks have been ramping up their own efforts for the 6-foot-5, 215-pounder. The China Spring, Texas defender also holds offers from the likes of Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, and Arizona State.
The loss dropped PJ Fleck's class down to No. 15 in the team rankings and No. 5 in the Big Ten; flip-flopping spots with the Hawkeyes. Omaha's Avante Dickerson continues to be the Gophers' crown jewel for the 2021 class, but Fleck is probably going to have to fight off Scott Frost all the way until the early signing period.
Fitz Stays Local, Frost Hits Georgia
Northbrook, Illinois is just 12 miles from Evanston. Needless to say, the Wildcats didn't have to go far to pick up commitment No. 13 for the 2021 class. Jackson Carsello is a 6-foot-4, 270-pound tackle at Glenbrook North High School. He had plenty of MAC offers to go along with Duke, Harvard, and Indiana. Carsello sided with Pat Fitzgerald on Wednesday and is the second tackle commit alongside four-star Michigan native Caleb Tiernan.
It was a different story for the Huskers as Scott Frost went all the way to Georgia to land his tenth commitment and first running back in the class. Gabe Ervin has an impressive offer sheet that includes Florida State, Michigan, Arkansas, and Tennessee. He rushed for 1,200 yards and 12 scores in helping his team to a 2019 state title. Ervin also has some impressive track times for a 200-pounder, including a 22.51 in the 200m.
Portal Entry of Note
Ohio State has mined the transfer portal better than any other school with major additions like Jonah Jackson, Justin Fields, and most recently Trey Sermon. If Ryan Day or any other program is looking for a former five-star with the ability to play a few different positions and get to the quarterback, then things just got a bit juicier in the portal.
A friend of mine who lives in the Dallas area and roots for the Aggies actually reached out last week and suggested that a prominent LSU player was on the verge of transferring to TCU or Baylor. I didn't do any digging at the time because it didn't involve Ohio State, but on Friday it was announced that 2019 signee Marcel Brooks had entered the transfer portal.
A pass-rushing specialist, Brooks was rated as the No. 32 player in the country and was expected to step into a much larger role as a sophomore in Baton Rouge. TCU, Baylor, and potentially Oklahoma look like the frontrunners at the moment as he's likely to stay close to his home state of Texas.
Interestingly enough, Michael Thomas actually tweeted at Brooks just yesterday suggesting there's a spot for him at Ohio State (though he quickly deleted it). Al Washington's linebacker room will be losing a lot after the upcoming season, but three talented juniors are waiting in the wings to take over in 2021.