Counter Intel: Busy Week for Several Big Ten Powers, Crimson Tide Reclaims Top Spot in the Team Rankings

By Andrew Ellis on September 15, 2020 at 10:10 am
Nolan Rucci is the latest Pennsylvania star to spurn the Nittany Lions.
Nolan Rucci vis 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.

Big Commits Boost B1G Powers

While the Buckeyes didn't add any new commitments, it was a busy week for several of the Big Ten's power programs. We previously touched on Nolan Rucci's planned commitment, and the five-star Pennsylvania tackle is now off the board and committed to Paul Chryst and the Badgers. He's the No. 14 overall prospect in the country and obviously an enormous get for Chryst. 

The five-star addition was the big one, but Wisconsin also added three-star Colorado cornerback Al Ashford III. It was one of the bigger surprises of the cycle as his crystal ball and FutureCast picks were nearly all in Colorado's favor. Ashford didn't include the Badgers in his finalists nor did he even report that he was ever offered. Props to the kid for keeping everyone in the dark. 

The Rucci news means that eight of Pennsylvania's top-10 prospects are now committed, and not a single one of them is pledged to James Franklin. Can you imagine Jack Sawyer, Jayden Ballard, Mike Hall, Reid Carrico, and Ben Christman all being committed to a school other than Ohio State? I can't either. And this is becoming a bit of a problem for Franklin and Co. We'll see if the Nittany Lions can beat out the Buckeyes and Bayou Bengals for the state's No. 4 prospect—Monroeville safety Derrick Davis Jr.

It wasn't all doom and gloom for the folks in Happy Valley, however, as the 2022 class continues to look superb. Four-star defensive end Ken Talley became commitment No. 6, and the Philly prospect is listed as the nation's No. 165 overall prospect. Fun little fact: PSU's 2022 class now has five top-300 commits. The 2021 class has a whopping two (out of 13) ranked in that same tier. 

The Wolverines picked up a three-star 2021 commitment on Saturday when Texas tailback Tavierre Dunlap made the call. Oklahoma State was the other finalist for the nation's No. 22 tailback. Michigan is looking to take a pair of backs in the 2021 class, and it's still locked in a battle with Oklahoma and the SEC for West Bloomfield's Donovan Edwards. The Wolverines' class actually fell from No. 9 to No. 10 thanks to Georgia's steady rise.

Don Brown also got some good news with the addition of yet another Massachusetts prospect. This time it was 2022 linebacker Tyler Martin who announced his decision last Friday. Nebraska and Arkansas were among the other offers for the nation's No. 271 prospect. 

The Wolverines were hit with some bad news as well when Clayton, Ohio (Northmont) receiver Markus Allen backed off his commitment. The 2021 three-star had been committed to Michigan since April and also has offers from Kentucky, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. Ohio State hasn't offered, but I get the feeling Allen is one to watch as a potential late 2021 addition.

Michigan wasn't the only Mitten State program to add a 2021 running back. Three-star New Jersey native Audric Estime was one of two new Spartan commitments. At nearly 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Estime is a bigger back who sided with Sparty over the likes of Iowa, Rutgers, and Arizona State. Mel Tucker also headed to Baton Rouge for three-star safety Jah'von Grigsby. Vanderbilt was the other finalist in that one. The Spartans are up to 15 commitments and sitting at No. 2 in the conference. 

Bama Back on Top, Georgia Enters Top 10

Nick Saban added a three-star tight end last week with the addition of South Carolina's Robbie Ouzts. He's now the lowest-rated commitment in the Tide's 2021 class, but it was enough to once again put Alabama ahead of Ohio State for the top spot in the team rankings. Saban is sitting at 21 commitments while Day and the Buckeyes are holding steady at 19. This one has the potential to be a nail-biter, folks. 

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Kirby Smart's Bulldogs have finally entered the top 10. Much like its SEC counterpart, Georgia's latest addition is now the lowest-rated in its own 2021 class. Jackson Meeks is a three-star wideout from Phenix City, Alabama, and he became commitment No. 16 last week. Neither Alabama nor Auburn has offered the nation's No. 174 wideout. Ole Miss was the other finalist in this recruitment. 

2021 Class Ranking, 9/15
1 ALABAMA 303.04 93.85
2 OHIO STATE 302.20 94.63
3 OREGON 273.66 91.78
4 LSU 271.51 92.42
5 CLEMSON 266.33 94.10
6 TENNESSEE 262.64 89.79
7 FLORIDA 260.51 89.98
8 GEORGIA 256.91 92.22
9 MIAMI 256.41 89.59
10 MICHIGAN 256.16 89.73

Mario Making Moves

Mario Cristobal has the Ducks all the way up to No. 3 after passing both Clemson and LSU. It must be nice landing stud offensive tackles on a seemingly annual basis, and Utah's Kingsley Suamataia is the latest that's heading to Eugene.

Listed as the nation's 10th-best tackle and holding offers from just about everyone, he could see a similar trajectory that fellow Utah native Penei Sewell did upon his arrival back in 2018. The rankings are eerily similar as Sewell was rated No. 57 nationally while Suamataia is sitting at 59. Sewell was about 350 pounds as a senior before shedding some weight. His 2021 counterpart is only about 285. 

Just yesterday the Ducks added another one in three-star North Carolina linebacker Jabril McNeill. That was commitment No. 20 for Cristobal and his impressive class. Five-star defensive ends J.T. Tuimoloau and Korey Foreman are two of the team's top remaining targets. 

Hafley Gets his Quarterback 

We'll finish things off with a quick note on our old friend in Chestnut Hill. Jeff Hafley continues to do things for the Eagles, and he's now got his 2022 quarterback in the fold. New Jersey's Peter Delaportas committed to Boston College over Kentucky and a number of East Coster offers. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder is the country's No. 13 quarterback prospect and hails from Sparta's Pope John XXIII program; the same school that produced Noah Brown

It's still far too early to get a true handle on things, but Hafley's 2022 class is sitting at No. 14 in the country. We're all quite familiar with his recruiting prowess, and he's already managed to pluck a few players from programs like Michigan and Florida. 

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