Counter Intel is the smart Ohio State fan's look at recruiting action taking place within the Big Ten and top national programs.
Saban Vs. Day for Recruiting Crown?
We've touched on it a few times of late, but Nick Saban's summer surge has been a sight to behold. No one is surprised that Alabama has shot up the rankings from the 60s all the way up to No. 6, but the recent pace has been extremely impressive.
The Crimson Tide added Texas's Brockermeyer twins on Friday, which delivered quite a blow to Tom Herman. The Longhorn legacies were long viewed as a Texas/Bama battle, but most had expected Saban to come out on top. Tommy Brockermeyer is the country's No. 1 offensive tackle, and his addition means Alabama now has two of the top players at the position (along with JC Latham). James Brockermeyer's commitment gives the Tide the nation's top-rated center.
As if all of that wasn't a big enough blow to the state of Texas, Alabama also landed four-star inside linebacker Kendrick Blackshire. The Duncanville star is listed as the No. 7 player at the position and No. 151 overall prospect. He chose the Tide over Texas A&M and LSU on Tuesday.
It's truly shaping up to be a Ryan Day/Nick Saban showdown for the top spot in the recruiting rankings, and both programs still have a number of high-end targets on their radars. Georgia guard Terrence Ferguson is set to announce later today, and he too appears to be a heavy Alabama lean. That addition would be commitment No. 15 and would lift the Tide all the way up to No. 2 in the team rankings.
Meanwhile, the Buckeyes should get a pretty big win here shortly when four-star cornerback Jordan Hancock announces his intentions. It's bound to be an interesting battle at the top as we move closer to the early signing period and February's National Signing Day.
We See You, Jeff Hafley
I feel confident in saying that Jeff Hafley is someone the vast majority of us will always be quite fond of. He was a bit of an unknown name when announced as co-defensive coordinator, but that obviously paid off in 2019. We'll all be following his career to see how Boston College is performing and what other programs eventually come calling.
On the other hand, I don't really care too much about Dan Mullen. The Gators are having some recruiting struggles of their own right now, and that continued on Friday evening when Hafley flipped four-star Maryland corner Clinton Burton Jr. I love strange recruitments, and this probably falls under that category. Less than two weeks ago, the then Gator commit said the following:
Recruitment shut down!— Clinton Burton Jr (@CJUNO_) July 8, 2020
Who can really blame a defensive back for wanting to play for Jeff Hafley? I was a guard in midget football and still want to play for Jeff Hafley while at the ripe age of 35. Burton is by far the Eagles' top-rated commit in a class that is otherwise unremarkable and ranked No. 29 nationally. He'd score another big victory if he can beat out the Wolverines for four-star guard Drew Kendall.
Nittany Lions Continue Michigan Surge
James Franklin's 2021 recruiting class hasn't brought a ton of excitement to the Penn State faithful. The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 25 in the country and just seventh in the Big Ten. One thing that has been going quite well has been the success in the state of Michigan. PSU just landed its fourth commitment from the Mitten State, and each one of them holds offers from the Wolverines and Spartans.
The most recent addition went down on Friday when Belleville's Jamari Buddin made his intentions known. A 6-foot-2 and 210-pound outside linebacker, the four-star is rated as the No. 9 prospect in the state and is a teammate of five-star defensive tackle Damon Payne (who's likely to commit to Bama on July 26). Buddin holds national offers from programs like Florida State, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. He's commitment No. 13 for Franklin and is listed as the fourth-best in the PSU class.
Rutgers Goes North of the Border
Greg Schiano made a bit of noise this weekend when he landed defensive end Rene Konga out of Canada. The Ottawa defender checks in at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds and also holds offers from Syracuse, Boise State, and Toledo. Not only was the commitment big news, but it came with an even bigger bit of news assuming there's a college football season in 2020.
RECRUIMENT 100% CLOSED! Thank you to everyone that has been part of this process @GridironCamp @GregSchiano @JamaalWesterman @CoachPanagos @RUCoachFraser @CoachSmithRU @RutgersRivals @RFootball pic.twitter.com/ih0u17pf7U— Rene Konga (@KongaRene) July 14, 2020
Much like five-star cornerback and UNC commit Tony Grimes, Konga has elected to reclassify and enroll as a part of the 2020 freshman class. He had originally planned on playing his senior season at Clearwater Academy in Florida.
Schiano also dipped into the state of Ohio and secured a commitment from Columbus (Independence) athlete Shawn Munnerlyn. A three-star and No. 57 in the state, the 6-foot-5, 205-pounder is being recruited as a tight end. His offer sheet also included Arizona State, West Virginia, and Minnesota.
Good News, Bad News for Scott Frost
The Huskers got some good news yesterday when they landed commitment No. 13 in three-star Texas athlete Marques Buford. He's listed as one of the top prep school prospects in the country and has some nice offers from Texas A&M, Florida State, Ole Miss, and others. At 6-foot and 190 pounds, Buford is listed as an athlete but expected to play in the defensive backfield in Lincoln.
As for the bad news, the Huskers will be losing yet another member of its 2020 class. Four-star safety signee Jaiden Francois announced that he will be entering the transfer portal after only about six months on campus. At one time, Francois was an Ohio State target and had a number of national offers from power programs. He was Frost's third-best 2020 signee and joins fellow Florida defensive back Henry Gray (the second-best from the class) as early departures.
Elsewhere in SEC Land
Alabama wasn't the only SEC program in the news this week. LSU landed four-star linebacker Greg Penn last Sunday, which means Ohio State won't have to worry about him suiting up for the Terrapins. Hailing from the powerhouse DeMatha Catholic program, Penn is the country's ninth-best inside backer and No. 183 overall prospect. He had been viewed as a Locksley lean before the Tigers won out in the end.
Kirby Smart added his tenth commitment in the form of three-star Tennessee receiver Adonai Mitchell. Rated No. 372 in the country, the former Ole Miss pledge is now the lowest-rated Bulldog pledge. Despite getting owned by Jeff Hafley, the Gators did bounce back yesterday with a commitment from Pennsylvania three-star Donovan McMillon. Listed as the country's No. 26 safety, he sided with Florida over Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, and Oregon.
Taggart Lands Young Primetime
This isn't a national power or Big Ten story, but Willie Taggart got some good news over the week as well. The folks in Boca Raton welcomed four-star Texas quarterback Shedeur Sanders into the 2021 class. The 6-foot-1, 198-pounder is the son of NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. He's a three-star on both 247 Sports and Rivals, but his composite ranking gets a nice boost thanks to the folks at ESPN where he's rated as the nation's No. 41 overall prospect. The biggest tragedy here, however, is that he's playing something other than cornerback.
Major Movement in the Team Rankings
The biggest developments in the team rankings involve two perennial playoff contenders. We've already talked about Alabama's surge that's only going to continue over the next few weeks. The other development has been Clemson's slide. Dabo Swinney was sitting pretty at No. 2 last week, but the loss of Jordan Hancock has dropped the Tigers all the way down to No. 9.
Ryan Day still has a chance to set a new all-time record for the highest class score, but losing JC Latham to Alabama was a pretty big blow in that regard. Adding Jordan Hancock, J.T. Tuimoloau, Emeka Egbuka, and Tywone Malone would put the Buckeyes at 322.26 with 22 commitments. Florida's 2010 class holds the top score ever with 324.62 with 28 signees. Ohio State is expected to end up with 24-25 signees for the Class of 2021.