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Five midwest prospects that have raised their stock this season

Every year we see a group of senior prospects seemingly explode onto the recruiting scene out of nowhere. This year in particular has produced a number of prospects who's stock has risen from virtually unknown, to becoming national level recruits in a matter of weeks. Here is a look at five 2022 prospects from the midwest who's stock is rising.


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The meteoric rise of Aidan Vaughan is not something that you often see. Vaughan had three FBS offers and was committed to Air Force prior to his senior campaign, so he was more under the radar than he was unknown. Once season hit, his impressive film made the rounds, and Vaughan's recruitment exploded midway through October. Since Oct. 15, Vaughan has picked up offers from nine power-five schools. A list that includes a number of teams traditionally in the top 25.

It is hard to pinpoint the exact reason it took until late senior year for Vaughan's recruitment to explode, but you only have to take a quick look at his senior film to see why. Vaughan is a mad man on the field, and he plays with bad intentions. He is versatile, athletic, and has a high motor to boot. Most teams are recruiting him as a linebacker, and that seems to be a big position of need as we close in on signing day. Don't be surprised if more teams try to throw their hat in the ring before it is all said and done.

Jimmy Rolder's story has been well documented at this point. The senior linebacker from Marist (IL) had been an Illinois baseball commit, but his real dream was to play football at the major college level. Rolder was on the radar of many teams going into this season, but none of the power-five teams were ready to offer at that point. His film was limited due to a Covid shortened junior season, and he didn't make it to camps because of a busy baseball schedule. Coaches liked Rolder, but they just wanted to see more before the pulled the trigger on offering. Then the season started, the film was fantastic, and the rest is history. Rolder is now a four-star prospect with an offer list that includes a number of college football's traditional powers.

Rolder's rise can be attributed to a number of reasons. He was a baseball commit, didn't make it to camps, had a shortened junior season, and Covid prevented coaches from seeing him in person. It was only a matter of time before his recruitment took off, but few could have predicted that he would rise this fast.

Cael Vanderbush has been impressive for a couple of seasons now. At 6'6" 200+ pounds, with the speed and ball skills to match his frame, Vanderbush has always been a division one talent. The only question was what level of division one he would end up playing at. Going into this season it looked like he was going to end up playing in the MAC, and he had already committed to Western Michigan. With his frame and upside, it was only a matter of time before power-five teams came calling. That is exactly what happened when Utah extended an offer on Sept. 16. Iowa offered nine days later, and Vanderbush committed to the Hawkeyes shortly after.

The rise of Cael Vanderbush should come as no surprise. He has always had the power-five talent and frame. The biggest question for power-five teams was if he was fast enough to stretch the field as an outside receiver, or if he could hold enough weight to become a true TE. Iowa has a history of taking prospects with similar physical traits coming out of high school, and then developing them into NFL caliber tight ends. This seems to be the perfect fit.

Barrett Nelson showed tremendous upside from a young age. He is the son of a former Wisconsin offensive lineman, and his older brother Jack Nelson currently plays on the Wisconsin offensive line. Nelson always had a big time frame, but took a couple years to grow into it. He also started out as a defensive lineman prior to developing into a dominant force on the offensive line. It was never a question of talent with Nelson, it was more a question of when the Power 5 teams would start offering. Going into spring he had offers from Eastern Illinois and Kent State, but that all changed when Iowa State offered in March. He then committed to Wisconsin in June, and will carry on the family legacy.

The rise of Nelson comes as no surprise, and his ranking will reflect that when updated. He has the size, ability, and lineage that makes him an obvious power-five level offensive lineman.

Sam Buras is a massive offensive lineman who plays for one of the best teams in the midwest, so his light recruitment has always been a little baffling. At 6'7" 320+ pounds he is a dominant force in the trenches for Center Grove. Buras is a powerful blocker, moves extremely well at his size, and has an incredibly high ceiling. He is currently committed to Ball State who is also the only FBS level team that has offered him at this point. As offensive tackles come off the board, and the talent pool at the position thins towards signing day, Buras is a player that should become a hot commodity.

The rise of Buras is still in the works, but expect his ranking and level of interest from power-five schools to increase in the near future.