Counter Intel: Husker Commit Flips to Notre Dame, Sooner Summit Goes Down in Norman, and More Good News for Alabama

By Andrew Ellis on August 23, 2020 at 11:05 am
Four-star Texan Jalen Milroe flipped from the Horns to the Tide.
Jalen Milroe via 247 Sports

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

Busy Week in Lincoln Headlines B1G Action

It was a fairly quiet week across the Midwest. The biggest bit of news went down on Tuesday when four-star athlete Dasan McCullough became commitment No. 5 for Ryan Day's 2022 class. That's three big gets already for Al Washington as he's far and away the nation's top recruiter for the class

There was plenty of action in Lincoln this week as the Huskers were hit with some good and bad news. It started last Sunday when three-star defensive end Will Schweitzer flipped to Notre Dame after spending just about two months as a Cornhusker commit. That same day, Scott Frost landed three-star athlete Kamonte Grimes out of Naples, Florida. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, he's expected to play wide receiver in Lincoln. Frost's 2021 class is sitting at No. 9 in the Big Ten.

Mel Tucker and the Spartans finally got some good news just yesterday. It's been a rough cycle in East Lansing, but Michigan State now has a four-star in the fold in New Jersey guard Geno VanDeMark. Rated No. 317 nationally and a former teammate of Ohio State freshman Luke Wypler, he's easily the team's top-rated commitment as the next best prospect is No. 665. Even with the big addition, the Spartans are still ranked No. 13 in the Big Ten ahead of only the Boilermakers

Saban Takes One From Texas Tom

Alabama was hit with a pretty big blow back in May when four-star quarterback Drake Maye flipped to the Tarheels. Last Saturday, the nation's No. 1 player for the class of 2022 – Southlake, Texas's Quinn Ewers – committed to the in-state Longhorns. That had quite the ripple effect as four-star 2021 quarterback Jalen Milroe flipped from Texas to Alabama just three days after the Ewers announcement. 

The commitment brought the Crimson Tide even closer to the Buckeyes at the top of the 2021 team rankings. Ohio State has one fewer commitment (18 vs. 19) and less than a two-point lead over Alabama. We've been saying it for a month or two now, but it's going to be a tight race as we head into the home stretch.

Tom Herman did find another quarterback just yesterday, however. The Longhorns offered Austin's Charles Wright on Saturday, and the Iowa State commit wasted little time flipping to the local team. Wright is 6-foot-1 and 194 pounds and is ranked outside the top-1,000. One has to assume this was mostly a depth play to help the quarterback room until Ewers arrives.

Sooner Summit Goes Down in Norman 

Oklahoma's "Sooner Summit" visit weekend is wrapping up in Norman. The event was totally not organized by the OU staff in any way since that would be a violation during the dead period. A pair of five-star Buckeye targets – Washington's Emeka Egbuka and J.T. Tuimoloau – had contemplated making the trip, but neither made it to Norman this weekend.

Five-star quarterback commit Caleb Williams and a number of other commits and targets were in the area. One of those prospects was five-star Buckeye target Tristan Leigh. They weren't allowed to meet with or speak to the Oklahoma staff while on campus. However, they were able to check out the stadium, which is something 2022 tight end target Bennett Christian was not permitted to do while in Columbus last week. Maybe Memorial Stadium is always left unlocked—even in the midst of a pandemic?

Though not directly related to the Summit, Lincoln Riley added a nice pickup last night when four-star Virginia defensive end Kelvin Gilliam announced his commitment. At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, he's the country's No. 7 weakside defensive end. Penn State was a major contender here as well, and Gilliam has visited Happy Valley before. He's yet to take a trip to Norman but is a teammate of three-star Sooner cornerback commit Damond Harmon.

2021 Class Ranking, 8/23
1 OHIO STATE 298.55 94.76
2 ALABAMA 296.72 94.28
3 CLEMSON 267.08 94.17
4 LSU 261.93 92.76
5 OREGON 261.81 91.65
6 TENNESSEE 260.90 89.90
7 FLORIDA 260.13 89.87
8 SOUTHERN CAL 255.29 91.27
9 MIAMI 253.40 89.56
10 MICHIGAN 251.38 89.37

More from the Southeast 

Unlike in the Big Ten, there was a pretty decent amount of action in the SEC. The biggest commitment (alongside Milroe) was 2022 quarterback Gunner Stockton to South Carolina. At 6-foot-1 and 196 pounds, Stockton is a five-star and the country's No. 1 dual-threat passer. He had narrowed his decision down to the Gamecocks and Bulldogs before ultimately siding with Will Muschamp. 

Georgia did manage to pull one prospect from its own back yard, though. Three-star cornerback Javon Bullard is the nation's No. 58 corner, and the Milledgeville product became commitment No. 13 for Kirby Smart on Monday. Bullard is now the lowest-rated pledge in a Bulldog class that ranks No. 5 in the SEC and No. 13 nationally. 

Gus Malzahn and the Tigers added a pair of 2021 commits as well. Tallahassee's Ahmari Harvey is a four-star safety with offers from all over the country. The 5-foot-10.5, 171-pounder pledged to Auburn over Florida State and Texas A&M. The Tigers also added the country's fifth-best JUCO cornerback in Kamal Hadden. A Michigan native, academic issues kept Hadden from enrolling at Central Michigan. He's now set to make the move from Kansas's Independence Community College to the SEC.

Lastly, an Ohio State legacy announced his commitment to Ole Miss on Friday. Doug Donley was a two-time All-Big Ten selection before being drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1981. His son, Drew, is now a 2021 wideout suiting up in Frisco, Texas. The younger Donley is a speedster who has camped in Columbus before. Northwestern, Boise State, and Cincinnati were among the other finalists.

Odds & Ends

The 2021 team rankings remain unchanged from a week ago. The Tide gained even more ground on the Buckeyes, but it's the same teams slotted in the same order. On Friday, Zack talked a bit about Ohio State's current recruiting efforts amid all of the uncertainty that college football is currently dealing with. We know there won't be any on-campus visitors for at least another month, but does anyone really see the dead period ending anytime soon? I know I sure don't. 

It's looking like players participating in the fall (or the proposed January through spring timeline) won't lose a year of eligibility. This new rule only makes it that much tougher to project the future scholarship numbers. Ohio State and programs across the country are going to need to get a feel for who may stick around in order to determine just how many kids they can sign for the Class of 2021. We're living in some confusing times, and the NCAA will hopefully release some more information in the weeks to come.

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