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August 29, 2012

Midwest mailbag: Hoosiers, Buckeyes and more

MORE: Around the Midwest | Southeast mail

Rivals.com Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt addresses questions from readers in his weekly mailbag.


Flipping out

Can you see any of the top Indy prospects flipping to IU if it can show improvement on the field?

- hoosierwhodey, via Twitter

One of the top players in Indianapolis, Rivals250 safety Antonio Allen, already flipped from Ole Miss to Indiana this summer, and he cited proximity to home as being the key factor. Even in the days of Skype and Travelocity and satellite TV game packages, prospects still respond to the opportunity to be far enough from home to be their own man, yet close enough to enjoy mom's home-cooking when they get the craving. That will be the key selling point for head coach Kevin Wilson and his staff the rest of the way.

The Indianapolis area is loaded with top talent in the 2013 class, but the region's top six prospects are already committed. I am not going to be surprised, however, if Allen is not the last to switch to the Hoosiers. Wilson has not given up on his top targets in Indianapolis and Tim Kimbrough, Elijah Daniel and Darius Latham all made visits to Bloomington in the offseason, most several times.

I believe the key indicator of Indiana being able to flip another Indianapolis-area commitment is whether any show up in Bloomington this fall. If postgame reports have prospects committed elsewhere attending home games, it could be a sign the Hoosiers are not done reclaiming top Indianapolis talent in the 2013 class. Four-star defensive end Elijah Daniel of Avon is already considering a visit to Bloomington for this weekend's home opener.


On the line

Who are the best line players to watch in the Midwest?

- Tonkabigman, via Twitter

Since the classes of 2013 and 2014 are already well underway in recruiting and heavily covered, let's talk about the next class. The first name that comes to mind in the class of 2015 is Green Bay (Wis.) Southwest defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie. At 6-foot-3 and 266 pounds, McKenzie is already starting to look as if he could step on a college field. His father played in the NFL and is an executive for the Oakland Raiders, so McKenzie knows what it takes to get to that level and I expect big things from him in the coming years.

St. Charles (Ill.) East offensive guard Brennan Bosch is the only 2015 Midwest line prospect claiming a Division I offer at this stage of the process. Illinois jumped out with an offer to Bosch back in the early summer. He is the younger brother of Rivals100 offensive tackle Kyle Bosch.

Detroit Cass Tech defensive end Joshua Alabi is seeing major playing time on one of the most loaded prep programs in the state. Cass Tech has Division I prospects up and down their roster, so for the 6-foot-4, 245-pound Alabi to see the field suggests he will blossom into a good one.

For the last one, I am going to go with a player I saw for the first time this weekend. Like Cass Tech, Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier has plenty of talent from which to choose, yet they start sophomore Simeon Lane at defensive tackle. And the 6-foot-1, 250-pound Lane is a good one, who has all the tools to be a big-time prospect in the years to come.


Quick analysis of Ohio State

Shelton Gibson and James Quick both to OSU?

- Brutus_047, via Twitter

A follow-up question to this would be, do the Buckeyes have enough room to take both? This is not going to be a big class for Ohio State and already it has 16 commits, with other needs still to be met. But, if both Gibson and Quick were ready to make their decisions relatively early and not wait until the winter, I could see them springing for both because they're outstanding talents.

Gibson has long been leaning Ohio State's way, but has yet to pop for the Buckeyes. Auburn is definitely a contender there, and Gibson looks intent on taking at least a few official visits. So, while that one looks good for the Buckeyes, there appears to still be some recruiting left to be done.

The talk on Quick is that he is likely to stay close to home and attend Louisville, where he has strong family connections. Quick recently said Louisville was his leader, followed by Ohio State. But again, there looks to still be some recruiting left, and in this case that would favor the Buckeyes because they need the time to make up ground.

So, while Ohio State has very strong shots with Gibson and Quick, my expectation is that they do not get both. One is very likely, but there are probably too many hurdles to overcome in getting both.



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