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Midwest Spotlight: Latest news on region's biggest names

BUTCH JONES FIRED: Why he failed | Recruits react | Who's next at Rocky Top?

The latest on three Rivals100 prospects from the Midwest, including five-star Fairfield, Ohio, offensive tackle Jackson Carman, headline this look at the recruiting happenings around the Midwest region.


Jackson Carman
Jackson Carman (Josh Helmholdt /

Five-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman was back in Columbus this weekend attending his second Ohio State game in the last three weekends. His previous visit the weekend of Oct. 27 was his official visit with the Buckeyes, a trip that went extremely well according to Carman and those around him. This most recent visit was certainly a chance to see the home-state school again, but another key reason for the trip was getting to see his friend and former teammate, Josiah Scott, start as a freshman at cornerback for Michigan State in the Horseshoe. Several Fairfield High coaches along with his cousin accompanied Carman on that visit.

The future of Carman’s recruitment has seen a few tweaks recently, most notably that the five-star has decided not to take a fifth official visit. Wisconsin was the school that would have received a fifth official visit if one had been taken, but the Badgers being unable to accept him as a mid-year enrollee was a major factor in Carman taking them out of the equation.

Earlier this fall Carman listed Clemson, Ohio State and USC as his top three, and those schools continue to be the most formidable in this recruitment. Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell attended Fairfield’s game on Oct. 20 and Carman will officially visit the Tigers the weekend of Dec. 8. USC assistant coach Deland McCullough also made it out for a Fairfield game this season, and Carman is scheduled to officially visit the Trojans the weekend of Dec. 15, just before he signs on Dec. 20. An official visit to Florida State is also currently scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 17.


Luke Ford
Luke Ford (Jason Suchomel -

The first official visit in the recruitment of the class of 2018’s No. 1 tight end, Carterville, Ill., four-star Luke Ford, went to Texas this past weekend and Ford told’s Jason Suchomel on Sunday that the Longhorns improved their chances with this visit. The next scheduled official visit on Ford’s calendar is to Auburn for the Iron Bowl weekend, Nov. 24. He will then take official visits to Alabama and Georgia in December, though the exact dates of when he will be at which school have yet to be determined.

A fifth official visit will almost certainly be taken, but that destination is not determined yet. Michigan, a school he visited over the summer and has mentioned prominently over the last several months, is “definitely” still in the picture according to his father. The Wolverines recently received a commitment from four-star tight end Mustapha Muhammad, but Ford and Muhammad are friendly and have communicated since the latter committed to Michigan. Arkansas, the school Ford was committed to for three months this spring, also remains in the picture and Ford talks with the Razorbacks' tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. at least once a week.

Like many of the top prospects in the Midwest, Ford will bypass the December signing period and take his recruitment into January. There is a chance he could announce a commitment at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 6, but it is more likely that he takes the process out through January and announces his decision on the opening day of the February signing period.


Trevor Trout
Trevor Trout (Athlete's Eye Photography (Patrick Clark))

It appears Rivals100 defensive tackle Trevor Trout is nearing the end of his recruiting process, with an expected Nov. 20 announcement. The St. Louis native has been adjusting his list of favorites pretty rapidly this fall, and made another big change last week when he took an official visit to Texas A&M, despite not including the Aggies on the two previous iterations of his favorites list.

The only other official visit Trout has taken was to UCLA the weekend of Sept. 29. Alabama and Miami have not been officially eliminated, but their chances of being Trout’s choice look slim since his last official visit is scheduled for this upcoming weekend to USC. Even if Trout does make his college commitment this week, do not expect him to sign a letter of intent until the February signing period.


La'Darius Jefferson
La'Darius Jefferson (@LaDarius12)

... Muskegon, Mich., two-star quarterback La’Darius Jefferson has been committed to UCF since May, but a big senior season is drawing additional interest and, as of last Friday, a scholarship offer from Michigan State. The Spartans are recruiting Jefferson as an athlete. With regards to the offer Jefferson said he is “definitely going to check it out,” and is currently discussing official visit possibilities with the Michigan State coaches.

... Shelby, Ohio three-star quarterback Brennan Armstrong has officially decommitted from Minnesota. There’s a lot of speculation about where his recruitment goes now, but Cincinnati, Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia are among the schools involved. Kentucky also reached out on Sunday after losing Jarren Williams’ commitment, and there could be others joining that pursuit in the near future.

... Auburn is making a play for Kentucky tight end commit Keaton Upshaw. The three-star from Lima, Ohio, made an unofficial visit to see the Tigers host Georgia this past weekend, and plans to return to the school for an official visit later in the process. No other schools besides Kentucky and Auburn are currently being considered, and Upshaw maintains that his commitment to the Wildcats is strong, but Auburn is obviously making this a ball game.

... Among the prospects in attendance for Ohio State’s home game this past Saturday was Nebraska wide receiver commit Cameron Brown. The Buckeyes are strong contenders for Brown’s teammate, four-star wide receiver Kamryn Babb, and offered Brown about one month after he committed to the Cornhuskers last spring.

.... Butch Jones2017 recruiting class at Tennessee was the first in which he did not sign a prospect from the states of Ohio or Michigan, and his 2018 class had zero commitments from those two states when he was dismissed on Sunday. The former head coach at Central Michigan and Cincinnati came to Knoxville with strong Midwest ties and signed eight from the region in his first three classes, including running back John Kelly and linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. Tennessee’s presence in the Midwest took a noticeable recruiting drop in recent years, though, ahead of Jones’ firing on Sunday.