football Edit

Biggest gets in 2015: Midwest

Ohio State signed higher ranked prospects in 2015, but it could certainly be argued that none was more important than keeping Weber committed until he signed his National Letter of Intent. Throughout college football, pundits will be watching the recruiting battles between Urban Meyer and new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh over the next few years. After taking over in Ann Arbor, Harbaugh made Weber a priority and nearly got him to flip his commitment to the Wolverines in the final days before he signed. The Buckeyes kept him in the fold, however, and kept building that pipeline to Detroit power Cass Technical School.
In the near term, Ezekiel Elliott is no doubt the man in the Buckeyes' backfield. However, expectations are that unless something drastic happens next fall, 2015 will be his last in a scarlet and gray uniform before he jumps to the NFL. Ohio State has recruited the running back position well over the years, but no one on the depth chart has earned the heir apparent title. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Weber has the skill set to be that guy.
James Daniels
Warren (Ohio) Harding
The 2015 class is not going to be the one that reignites the excitement in the Iowa program. The class ranked second to last out of 14 teams in the Big Ten and only had one four-star recruit, but that four-star was important on several levels. Iowa went into the state of Ohio and out-fought the home state team for a Buckeye legacy. Iowa does have Daniels' brother on the roster, which no doubt helped, but winning a head-to-head battle with Ohio State for a player in their backyard is certainly big news.
Daniels ranked as the No. 4 center prospect in the 2015 class. At 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, he could also play either guard position if needed, but coming in with the experience of snapping the football is definitely an advantage. Daniels has that high football IQ you look for out of your at the center position and he is also extremely talented. Whether he becomes one of those rare freshman to play on the offensive line remains to be seen, but the potential to do so is there.
Gabe Megginson
Jacksonville, Ill.
Illinois head coach Tim Beckman was in a fight to keep his job during the 2014 season, but the hardest working recruiting head coach in the Big Ten was already building a strong group of in-state commitments in the 2015 class. The headliner of that group was Megginson, who finished as the No. 228 player in the class and the No. 18 offensive tackle prospect overall. Megginson never wavered in his decision and was a prospect other Illinois targets regularly mentioned was encouraging them to join him in Champaign.
Beckman was kept on for at least one more year at Illinois, and was able to finish strong on the recruiting trail, signing the Big Ten's No. 6 ranked class. The base of in-state talent that was built before the season began, though, was key to the overall strength of the class and Megginson was the key piece there. As he showed in the Semper Fi Bowl in January, the 6-foot-5, 289-pound Megginson is an athletic tackle prospect who could fill that all-important left tackle role on future Illinois offensive lines.
Brian Cole
Saginaw (Mich.) Heritage
Michigan's 2015 class dipped to a low of just six commitments during the coaching transition between Brady Hoke and Harbaugh in December. Throughout that stretch, though, Cole -- the No. 101 ranked prospect in the 2015 class -- stayed committed to the Wolverines. He did take official visits to Nebraska, Wisconsin and Purdue, but had made his decision to stick with his Michigan commitment before Harbaugh was even announced as head coach. Michigan's 2015 class finished with just 14 total signees, so retaining a player of Cole's talent was critical.
Cole made his decision to stick with Michigan before Harbaugh's hiring on Dec. 28 because he was an early enrollee. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound athlete prospect could end up as a wide receiver or defensive back. The talent is there, but he does need to get into a college weight program and settle into a position before he is ready to contribute at the Big Ten level. Having an extra semester to do that may allow him to make an immediate impact next fall for the Wolverines.
Josh Helmholdt
Midwest Recruiting Analyst
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