by Chris Johnson (@chrisdjohnsonn)
Nothing much to speak of this week on the football recruiting front, as NU received no new commitments, with the 2013 class remaining at 11 pledges for the time being. Michigan, with its 22 commitments and average star ranking of 3.82, according to Scout. Com, has set the bar unfathomably high in the Big Ten and nationally. Ohio State and Penn State, both with 14 commits, rank second and third respectively with average star rankings of 3.71 and 3.50. The Wildcats and Wisconsin rank seventh among Big Ten teams with their 11 commits, behind Michigan (22), Illinois (15), Iowa (15), Ohio State (14), Penn State (14), Nebraska (13).
The 2013 class, as it stands today:
Matthew Alviti–four-star QB, Park Ridge (IL)
Sam Coverdale–three-star OT, Chagrin Falls (OH)
Brad North–three-star OG, Allen (TX)
Kyle Quiero–three-star WR/S, Oradell (NJ)
Blake King–three-star OG, Minooka (IL)
Eric Joraskie–three-star DT, Mount Carmel (PA)
Tyler Lancaster–two-star OG, Planfield (IL)
Hunter Niswander–K/P, Peninsula (OH)
Xavier Menifield–two-star RB, Chatsworth (CA)
Macan Wilson–two-star WR, Houston (TX)
Warren Long—three-star RB, Union City (CA)
One of the summer’s biggest recruiting events, The Opening, was held Thursday through Sunday at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. The combine hosted 150 players, all but three of them rising seniors. There were 20 Big Ten commits in attendance, though Tyler Lancaster, a 6-4, 270-pound center, was the only NU pledge chosen to participate. Scout. Com Midwest recruiting manager Allen Trieu offered glowing praise of Lancaster’s performance.
Whereas football recruiting hit a bit of a lull this week, Bill Carmody made quite a splash in landing three-star point guard Jaren Sina. The 6-0, 165-pound Gladstone, NJ native is a huge pickup for Carmody and perhaps the most decorated recruit of his tenure. One of the biggest factors in securing Sina’s pledge was his relationship with former Rutgers head coach Fred Hill, who’s now an assistant with NU. Sina received his first offer as a freshman from Hill, and their relationship ultimately figured largely into his eventual commitment to the Wildcats. He originally committed to Alabama in January 2011, only to reopen his recruitment in October before eventually committing to NU. You can read about his unique skill set here, here, and here. Our own Jonah Rosenblum writes that Sina’s commitment is the latest addition to a list of pivotal offseason talent upgrades and ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan has a nice perspective on Sina’s commitment.
However you want to look at it, Sina’s pledge is welcome news for a program hoping to wash away the sour taste of last season’s failed tournament bid. NU rarely, if ever, lands players of Sina’s caliber, but if it wants to break the NCAA Tournament barrier once and for all, it needs players like this—ones capable of hanging with the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, and their regularly five star-flocked rosters. While Sina’s commitment alone won’t get the Wildcats over the tournament hump, his pledge is the sort of signature recruiting coup that attracts other players of similar renown. For NU, who has long been viewed by top recruits as a consolation prize to more established Big Ten programs, Landing a top-100 player, even if Sina’s hype dwarfs his actual performance, is just as important for competitive reasons as it is symbolic ones.