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Three-Point Stance: Biggest commits; Big Ten breakdown; raiding Ohio

CLASS OF 2019 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell’s thought-provoking Three-Point Stance is here rating the week’s biggest commitments, a breakdown of Big Ten recruiting so far and talks about who raids Ohio the best?

RELATED: Top overachieving, underachieving Power 5 programs | Commits of the week


Devyn Ford
Devin Payne/VirginiaPreps.com

Commitments continue to heat up and it’s getting harder already to name the top commits of each week. Here’s my best crack at it this week.

1. RB Devyn Ford, Penn State – By far the biggest commitment of the week, Ford is long-awaited revenge for Penn State for Kevin Jones picking Virginia Tech over the Lions way back in 2000. Yet another elite running back headed to Happy Valley.

2. CB Jeremiah Criddell, Oregon – A big, tall cornerback who is college ready right now will help the defense the moment he arrives on campus.

3. RB Sean Dollars, Oregon – A speedy back who can make you miss is a great fit for what Oregon wants to do on offense.

4. LB Lakia Henry, Tennessee – A big, nasty, downhill thumper at middle linebacker, he’d be higher on the list if he had more years to give and wasn’t a JUCO.

5. DE Brandon Smith, Penn State – He can play defensive end or linebacker or a bit of both and has the versatility that helps any defense.

6. LB Nana Osafo-Mensah, Notre Dame – A stand up kid at times who can also get after the passer as a blitzer or down the line with his hand in the ground.

7. DT Antonio Alfano, Alabama – A tough, cocky defender who can not only push the pocket but can also shoot the gap.

8. WR Ramel Keyton, Tennessee – Good size and downfield speed makes him an immediate impact guy for the Vols.

9. CB Tyler Rudolph, Penn State – He has very good size, is thick and filled out and could end up playing corner or safety in State College.

10. CB Marquis Wilson, Penn State – Long, smooth and cocky, Wilson doesn’t mind being on an island and has a good frame to grow on.


Isaiah Williams

It’s almost June so we can take a look at each conference as to how things are going and which teams and players are key. We start with the Big Ten.

Biggest Get: RB Devyn Ford, Penn State - One of two five-stars committed in the conference, Ford gives Penn State a skill position player to build around for years.

Biggest Surprise: Isaiah Williams, Illinois – You could easily say Marquez Beason here as well, although neither commitment appears to be a surprise to the Illini staff. For Illinois to have two top 100 prospects in May after a rough season last year is very impressive.

Great Start: Michigan – I could go with Ohio State or Penn State here, but I’ll go with the Wolverines because they had a rough recruiting year last cycle and have done a good job hitting the Southeast this year. Christopher Hinton outside of Atlanta is the lead dog here, but guys like Stephen Herron, Te’Cory Couch and others in SEC country are key as well.

Hot Team: Penn State – They are on fire with Ford’s commitment and the addition of Marquis Wilson, Tyler Rudolph and Brandon Smith. Penn State is flexing its muscle this time of year and showing that James Franklin’s staff can recruit with the best.

Surprising Start: Illinois – With an average star ranking of 3.2 stars-per-recruit and two Rivals100 prospects, Illinois gets the nod over Wisconsin, Michigan State and others.

Rough Start: Northwestern – It’s not like it’s a bad start, but an average star ranking of less than 3.0 with about half the class filled isn’t great.

Recruiting Battle to Watch: Michigan vs. The Southeast – Can they hold onto Hinton as the Southeast teams come calling as we get closer to Signing Day? Can they land a few more down in the Southeast to really take recruiting to the Ohio State level? This is an important recruiting year for Jim Harbaugh.

Must Keep: DE Zach Harrison – Ohio State has the be considered the leader with Michigan, Penn State and others in the mix as well. This is a freaky talent and a kid who needs to stay in Big Ten country.

Do or Die: Rutgers – Not many coaches are in trouble in the Big Ten, but if Rutgers wants to take a step forward and if Chris Ash wants to be secure in his job, recruiting has to take a step forward. This seems like the constant story for the Scarlet Knights as programs continue to raid the state of New Jersey year in and year out. The last truly good year that had in state was Greg Schiano’s last cycle. A 3-15 record in conference over his first two years has some looking closely at Ash.


Four-star Kentucky commit Moses Douglass
Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

After breaking down which out of state programs raid the states of Florida, California, Texas and Georgia over the last couple of weeks, I had a few requests for additional states. One of those was Ohio so here are your top five Buckeye State raiding teams (of four and five stars prospects since 2013.

1. Kentucky – Surprised? I’m not. Kentucky has landed 13 four- and five-stars since 2013 from Ohio, including one for 2019 mainly because of the connections of Vince Marrow. The Wildcats resurgence in recruiting and on the field has been mainly due to success in Ohio and it continues.

T-2. Michigan – Michigan is second with 10 four- or five-stars since 2013 but have to share second with rival Michigan State. After landing six in 2013, including guys like Jake Butt and Taco Charlton, they have only landed four in the recruiting cycles since. That’s a bit of a surprise.

T-2. Michigan StateLJ Scott and others give Michigan State 10 four- or five-stars from Ohio, including one in 2019. Once again the efforts of the Spartans get overlooked a bit as they have become a major player in the Buckeye State.

4. Notre DameMalik Zaire and DeShone Kizer make up 33 percent of the Notre Dame four- or five-star signees since 2013 and I thought this number would be a bit higher with all the power Catholic schools in the state. Notre Dame has six, just ahead of Pitt and well behind Michigan and Michigan State.

5. Pitt – The Panthers do a good job recruiting Ohio as a border state and have landed five four- or five-stars since 2013. They’d love to increase this number as Ohio is an important state for them.

6. West Virginia – West Virginia checks in with three four or five stars since 2013 and with no home recruiting base, the Buckeye State is important for them.