Counter Intel: New Commitments for Michigan and Maryland, Interesting Week in South Bend, and Yet Another Miss for Penn State

By Andrew Ellis on September 29, 2020 at 8:35 am
Four-star wideout Jalil Farooq committed to Oklahoma on Sunday.
Jalil Farooq 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.

Decommit & Recommit for Notre Dame

It was an interesting week for Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish. The game with Wake Forest was postponed, and Notre Dame was hit with some good and bad news for the Class of 2021. Four-star Florida cornerback Philip Riley backed off his pledge on Sept. 25, and he announced his commitment to USC just yesterday. It was the latest in a long line of defensive back struggles (much of this coming courtesy of Ohio State) for the Irish staff.

Athens, Georgia's Deion Colzie was a big get for Notre Dame last October. Pulling the country's No. 14 wideout from the heart of SEC country is a pretty big deal for any program. When Colzie decommitted in March, most assumed he'd stay home and play for Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs. As more and more time passed, it became clear that the Irish were still a big factor in the recruitment.

That culminated yesterday when Colzie once again committed to Notre Dame. At 6-foot-4 and 193 pounds, he became commitment No. 18 for Brian Kelly's class that's now just outside of the top-10 in the team rankings. Colzie is rated as the fourth-best Irish commit behind five-star tackle Blake Fisher, Michigan guard Rocco Spindler, and Cali quarterback Tyler Buchner. He along with Lorenzo Styles Jr. form an impressive 2021 receiver duo.

Michigan, Maryland With 2022 Additions 

It was a rather quiet week in Big Ten country, but I suppose no one's going to complain about that since the coaching staffs are all prepping for the Oct. 24 kickoff. As for the events on the trail, one school went out of the conference's footprint for its latest commit while another didn't have to look far at all.

It's rather interesting that three 2022 tight ends from the state of Georgia are now committed to Big Ten powers. Ohio State has Bennett Christian, Penn State has Holden Staes, and now Michigan is on the board with three-star Marlin Klein. He's got some nice early offers from the in-state Bulldogs and Seminoles and is rated as the No. 18 player at the position. Klein is the third member of Michigan's 2022 class

Severn, Maryland is about 20 miles northeast of College Park, and it's the home of three-star 2022 linebacker Kellan Wyatt. The Terps landed the in-state backer on Sunday when he became commitment No. 2 for Mike Locksley. The offer sheet? There's not a whole lot to it as Syracuse, Massachusetts, and Liberty are the only other suitors. Tough loss for Hugh Freeze and the Flames.

Sooners Add Four-Star WR After Home Loss

Oklahoma fans tend to think that Lincoln Riley is going to land every single prospect with four or five stars next to his name. That includes TreVeyon HendersonJantzen Dunn, Emeka Egbuka, J.T. Tuimoloau, and probably both of the Bosas. If we're being honest, Riley has been loading up at quarterback and the skill positions, so the latest addition wasn't much of a surprise. 

Maryland wideout Jalil Farooq is a really good player with offers from all over the country. He's got a close relationship with five-star OU quarterback commit Caleb Williams and had long been trending toward Norman. Farooq is the Sooners' third wide receiver commitment and they've still got their sights set on Egbuka for the final spot. He's the 15th commitment in what is now the nation's No. 13 class. 

It was a nice bit of good news for Oklahoma fans who were still sulking over Saturday's home loss to an unranked Kansas State team. The same Kansas State team that was missing seven players and lost to Arkansas State in its opener. 

More Problems for PSU

We've been touching on Penn State's problems on a seemingly weekly basis. The reason for that is quite simple as James Franklin has been losing top targets left and right. The No. 1 player in Pennsylvania – five-star tackle Nolan Rucci – pledged to Wisconsin earlier this month. The focus then turned to North Carolina tackle Diego Pounds, and things were looking pretty good for PSU.

That all changed on Friday when the three-star announced that he'd be staying closer to home and playing for the Tar Heels. Penn State then extended an offer to fast-rising Louisville commit Zen Michalski. The problem with that? Ohio State had already thrown its hat into the ring and become a major player for the Indiana tackle. Michalski backed off his Cardinal pledge just last night and appears is trending toward Columbus. 

James Franklin has proven himself to be a solid recruiter in years past. But this cycle has been a rough one for the folks in Happy Valley, and we're still waiting for a decision from four-star Monroeville safety Derrick Davis Jr.

2021 Class Ranking, 9/29
1 ALABAMA 304.17 93.99
2 OHIO STATE 302.10 94.61
3 OREGON 276.76 91.77
4 LSU 271.75 92.43
5 CLEMSON 266.17 94.08
6 TENNESSEE 261.65 89.83
7 FLORIDA 260.37 89.97
8 SOUTHERN CAL 258.72 91.27
9 MIAMI 256.40 89.61
10 MICHIGAN 255.04 90.00

Some Odds & Ends

The past week didn't lead to many changes in the 2021 team rankings. In fact, the only change toward the top is USC jumping Miami and taking over the No. 8 slot. Notre Dame, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Georgia are all lurking just outside the top 10.

As for some crystal ball trends, the nation's top-ranked 2022 corner seems to be gaining some steam toward USC. Mater Dei's Domani Jackson is a top target for a number of programs – including Ohio State and Michigan – but he's going to be a tough pull from out west. Some folks up north have seemed oddly confident in the Wolverines' chances. As for Kerry Coombs and Co., is there any reason whatsoever to worry about defensive back recruiting? 

The other most obvious one is the aforementioned Zen Michalski trending toward the Buckeyes. I'm no offensive line guru, but I'm of the belief he would have been the third-best lineman in last cycle's six-man class; behind only Paris Johnson Jr. and Luke Wypler. He's seen his recruitment blow up lately and is still relatively inexperienced at the position after switching over from tight end.

A Michalski commitment would bring Ohio State up to 20 for the class, and Ryan Day would still trail Nick Saban ever so slightly in the team rankings. Although the Tide would still have one more commitment than the Buckeyes as the race to the recruiting crown wages on. 

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