The Big 10 may receive criticism for playing football that isn't always especially exciting, but with head coaches like Brady Hoke and Urban Meyer now dominating on the recruiting trail, the Big 10 trails only the SEC in sending 17 prospects committed to member schools to The Opening. In fact, the Buckeyes are sending an impressive nine recruits pledged to Meyer out to the Portland area.
WR Drake Harris, Grand Rapids (Mich.) Christian: Harris is rated as the No. 3 receiver in the country by the 247Sports composite rankings and the No. 39 overall prospect after an explosive junior season with 2,016 reception yards and a state-record 26 touchdowns. Able to stretch the field vertically with his excellent speed and able to outjump smaller defensive backs with his 6'4, 180-pound frame, the Michigan star also had a big championship game making a finals-record eight catches for 243 yards. Harris committed to Michigan in April over offers from Alabama, Cal, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. A member of team Super Bad, Harris is on Twitter @drizzygetbusy01.
TE Ian Bunting, Hinsdale (Ill.) Central: Bunting is rated as the consensus No. 10 tight end in the country and a four-star prospect. He's athletic enough to play receiver, but will grow into a dynamic tight end at the next level once he adds some mass to his 6'6, 215-pound frame. An outstanding student as well, he committed to Michigan in April over offers from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Purdue, USC, and Vanderbilt. He'll rep for team Vapor Carbon at The Opening and holds it down on Twitter
OL Brian Allen, Hinsdale (Ill.) Central: Allen was heavily recruited by Big Ten schools with offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue and Wisconsin before he committed to play with his older brother at Michigan State. A state champion wrestler who showed good athleticism at the Chicago NFTC, the 6'1, 285-pounder was All-Area last year on the gridiron and is a standout in the classroom with a 3.9 GPA. He is on Twitter @bcallen65.
DL Enoch Smith, Jr., Chicago (Ill.) Mt. Carmel: Smith compiled an amazing 23 sacks as a junior. A workout warrior who's not afraid to compete, he participated in a Nike Camp and Combine in 2012 and took part in the Charlotte NFTC earlier this year. The 6'2, 275-pound defender has committed to Michigan State after receiving more than a dozen offers from programs such as Arizona, Cincinnati, Illinois, Notre Dame, Purdue, Syracuse and Tennessee. When he's not dominating opposing offensive linemen, Smith is on Twitter @ESmithJr_56.
RB Jeff Jones, Minneapolis (Minn.) Washburn: The 6'0, 195-pounder is rated as the No. 154 prospect in the nation by the 247Sports composite rankings and will stay in-state to play at Minnesota, though he is considered a soft verbal and some projections have him ending up at Iowa State. He choose the Gophers over offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Syracuse and Wisconsin after running for 1,002 yards with nine touchowns as a junior, following up on a strong sophomore year when he ran for 1,415 yards with 28 scores. Representing team Field Generals at The Opening, Jones can be found on Twitter @WaveyJJ_10.
OL Tanner Farmer, Highland, Ill.: Farmer showcased his athletic abilities with a 96.96 SPARQ rating at the Chicago Nike Football Training Camp where he ran a 4.8 shuttle, threw the power ball 41 feet and jumped 29.7 inches on his vertical leap. An outstanding wrestler, the 6'4, 305-pounder went 39-0 last season and won the state heavyweight championship at the Illinois Class 2 level. Farmer is committed to Nebraska. He's on Twitter with the fitting handle of @tank1309.
QB Stephen Collier, Leesburg (Ga.) Lees County: Collier is one of the more intriguing recruits in the Elite 11. Urban Meyer and staff will be closely monitoring the results of the 6'3, 205-pound Buckeyes commit. He is a raw, but fast-rising QB recruit, passing for 22 TDs last season while rushing for 11 more scores. He is a consensus three-star at this point, and will be looking to prove that he belongs with the four and five-star quarterbacks. He is an outstanding student-athlete with a 4.2 GPA and 1680 SAT. He chose Ohio State over Boston College, Cincinnati, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, and Wake Forest. Collier is on Twitter @Stephen5Collier, and his highlights are available here.
WR Terry McLaurin, Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral: McLaurin is one of the most athletic receivers in the nation and had the highest SPARQ rating at the Chicago NFTC, where he ran a 4.48 in the 40, recorded 41.4-inch vertical leap, ran a 4.36 shuttle, and threw the power ball 41 feet for a 126.96 rating. A consensus three-star prospect, the 6'0, 180-pounder is one of the top players in Indiana and is looking to gain his fourth star with a strong performance in Oregon. He committed to Ohio State in late June over offers that included Ball State, Cincinnati, Iowa, Missouri, Purdue, Toledo, Western Kentucky, and Western Michigan. He's on Twitter @TheTerry_25 and is set to compete with the Land Sharks.
OL Kyle Trout, Lancaster, Ohio: Trout had a strong Columbus NFTC, the location where he'll suit up in college as he committed to Ohio State over Cincinnati, Illinois, Michigan State, Pitt, Purdue, and West Virginia. Trout, who also plays basketball and throws the shot put and discus, was a Central Div. I All-District honoree in 2012. Catch him on Twitter @trout75.
DE Jalyn Holmes, Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor: He was Class AAA All-State at TE where he caught 24 passes for 351 yards and seven scores. On defense he had 78 tackles and 11 sacks and helped the Titans win the Div. Five state title. The 6'5, 235-pounder committed to Ohio State in June over offers that included North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Find him on Twitter @JayHolmes_.
DL Dylan Thompson, Lombard (Ill.) Montini Catholic: Thompson attended NFTCs in Chicago and Columbus and the improvement between the two was what sealed his invite to The Opening. The 6'5, 275-pounder committed to Ohio State over a dozen other universities including Arkansas, Clemson, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Missouri, Ole Miss, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. He's on Twitter @BRONCODE59.
LB Kyle Berger, Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius: Berger had 39 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks as a junior to earn Div. I All-State honors. The 6'2, 220-pound Ohio State commit had scholarship offers from other Big 10 programs such as Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Penn State as well as Alabama, Arkansas,Tennessee, UCLA and West Virginia in part because of his 4.0 GPA. He was the linebacker MVP in a strong group at the Columbus NFTC and is on Twitter @k_bergs.
LB Dante Booker, Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary: Booker earned several honors as a junior including MaxPreps All-American, Army All-American, All-State and Div. III Defensive He will stay within his home state borders to play for Ohio State. Other offers included Indiana, Illinois, Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State and Tennessee. The rangy linebacker is on Twitter @D_Book47.
DB Damon Webb, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech: Webb is ranked as the No. 6 cornerback in the 2014 class by Scout.com and the No. 35 player overall. He was a two-way standout scoring seven touchdowns as a receiver and picking off seven passes on defense. After high school Webb will cross state borders to play at Ohio State, who he chose over other offers from major schools such as Illinois, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The future Buckeye is on Twitter @DameWebb.
ATH Parris Campbell, Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary: The No. 40 overall player according to Scout.com impressed at the Massillon Nike Football SPARQ Combine in February when he ran a 4.47 in the 40 and recorded a 38.9-inch vertical. The 6'0, 180-pounder came back out to the Columbus NFTC where he stood out at the wide receiver position and earned his Opening invite. He committed to Ohio State over offers from Indiana, Michigan State, and Tennessee and is on Twitter @PCampbell21.
WR DeAndre Thompkins, Swansboro (NC): The 6'0, 170-pounder was an All-Area honoree as a junior after totaling 1,359 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, while making 42 tackles and two interceptions as a defensive back. He's rated as a consensus four-star prospect and committed to Penn State on April 20 over Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Notre Dame. Follow Thompkins on Twitter @Calle_Alectia and catch him playing with Vapor Carbon at The Opening.
QB David Blough, Carrolton (Texas) Creekview: The 6'1, 180-pound Blough is one of the major underdogs in the Elite 11. Small in stature, and with offers from only Memphis, New Mexico State, and Purdue, to where he committed, many have questioned his selection. Blough will come in with something to prove. Blough became the fifth invitee to the Elite 11 and 69th to the Opening when New Orleans Saints QB and fellow Texas native Drew Brees announced the selection via Twitter on May 6. The senior-to-be was All-District 10-4A last season after throwing for 1,777 yards and 17 TDs with only three picks. An outstanding student with a 3.9 GPA and 1130 SAT, he shined throughout the Elite 11 Regional in Chicago. On June 15 he announced he'd attend Brees' alma mater, Purdue. Blough is on Twitter at @David_Blough10, and his highlights are available here.