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Hot Reads: Can the Big Ten Keep its Edge?
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: Can the Big Ten Keep its Edge?

June 19, 2017

We’re six months and one day away from the start of college football’s
new early signing period (Dec. 20-22) so I guess you could consider this
the midpoint of the 2018 recruiting cycle. In reality, there’s no official
start to a recruiting cycle, it’s just always happening, but if you’re a
fan and look at these things on a year-by-year basis, it’s fine to feel
like we’re halfway home.

And while I’m not sure being at the
midpoint can be considered a “start” any longer, whatever it is, it’s
looking good so far for the Big Ten. Per ESPN’s class rankings,
the Big Ten has six teams in the top 25. Ohio State recently overtook
Miami for the No. 1 class in the country, Penn State is 5, Michigan 9,
Nebraska 11, Northwestern 20 and Minnesota 23.

The SEC also has
six schools in the top 25, but three of those schools rank between 22
and 25. None of those six schools is Alabama right now. The ACC has
three teams in the top 10, but only one other team in the top 25. The
Big 12 and Pac-12 also have four schools each in the rankings.

any football top 25, recruiting or otherwise, that includes
Northwestern and Minnesota but not Alabama is invalidated immediately, a
victim of sample size, a faulty model or dumb luck. And the Tide will be fine by
the time we get to February. But there’s the potential this one could be at least slightly different. In the past, you’d just wait for all of
those high-profile defensive linemen to make their signing day
announcements (for SEC and ACC schools usually) and you’d end up with a
top 25 that looks the same as every other year.

But the Big Ten
seems to have a little more momentum with this 2018 class than it
usually does at this point in the cycle. 247Sports has the same six Big
Ten teams in its top 25 (in a slightly different order), but it also has
Wisconsin at 25 and Maryland at 26. It’ll be interesting to see if the
early signing period helps the conference hang on to some of its lofty
summer rankings.

I think it has the potential to help the Big Ten at least a little bit. Here’s why: Most of the schools in the Big Ten were already having to get a little creative to land the best talent it could. So to introduce a new wrinkle might be less disruptive than it is for those schools that have enjoyed natural advantages for decades. I don’t know if that will be sustainable long term, we’re all flying blind here with the new recruiting rules, but it should make the 2018 class a fun one to watch.

More Moore

It was a wall-to-wall recruiting weekend in Nebraska. It started with a rainy Friday Night Lights camp on Friday, which produced a few new scholarship offers, and ended with the commitment of 4-star wide receiver Joshua Moore. Moore is expected to be in Lincoln for this week’s Nebraska camp, and should get quite the welcome.

For a player with 50-plus offers who has done a ton of press because of those offers, Moore kept things pretty quiet following his commitment on Sunday. Didn’t stop a flood of stories, however, and here are some highlights.

Moore did talk briefly with Lynden Ostrander of MaxPreps about Sunday’s verbal commitment:

“The date was very special for me and my family,” Moore said. “My big brother was killed on this day, which was also his birthday. This day is definitely one to remember.”

Nebraska felt like the perfect fit for the ultra-athletic Moore.

“I chose Nebraska simply because of the plan they have set up for me in football as well as track,” Moore said. “I feel I can come in and make an immediate impact and contribute in a big way.”

What serves as Moore’s local paper in Texas, the Victoria Advocate, grabbed a quote from Yoakum High School head coach Bo Robinson:

“I’m happy for Josh,” Robinson said. “They (Nebraska) got a good one. I was pulling for the Aggies, but I will support all my guys’ decisions. I’m blessed to have so many talented athletes in Yoakum.”

Decent indication there of one of the big hurdles the Huskers had to clear here to land Moore, whose twin brother, Jordan, is currently committed to Texas A&M. The pull of Texas, any of the multiple Power 5 schools there, is tough to top for the state’s biggest prospects. On top of that, Yoakum is not a big place — population 5,815 at the 2010 census — and to have two players rocket up the recruiting rankings is somewhat unique. It’s very much a home-town heroes sort of feel, which you don’t always get with top-100 prospects who often play a big high school programs that send multiple guys to the college ranks. When you look at it from afar, it was not really a recruiting battle where you would’ve said, “Yeah, Nebraska can win that,” but for now it has.

Finally, this story wasn’t from yesterday but Moore told last month what kind of player the school he picked would be getting:

“[I’m] very ferocious, especially on defense,” Moore said of how he’d describe his game to the fan base he’ll ultimately suit up in front of. “I don’t really care who’s out there in front of me. I like to talk a lot of mess,” Moore added with a laugh. “So just a very ferocious player, a very confident player. I’m a vertical threat at wide receiver, a very physical wide receiver and a physical corner. I can beat you deep with my speed, run great routes and have great hands.”

Considering his wide-ranging skill-set, Moore emphasized that he’s set on playing football at the highest level on Sundays as soon as possible.

“I’m three years and out.”

Moore has played wide receiver, cornerback and even some quarterback during his time at Yoakum.

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