2018 Big Ten Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Rankings

2018 Big Ten Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Rankings

2018 Recruiting

2018 Big Ten Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Rankings


How did the Big Ten teams stack up with their respective recruiting classes? Who had the strongest-looking haul of talent, and who struggled a bit?


2018 Big Ten Schedule Analysis

2018 Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings

The Big Ten has been the best conference in college football over the last few seasons, and it’s doing the job without dominating the recruiting world like the SEC.

Of course, Ohio State is at the top of the heap time and again on a national scale, and Penn State and Michigan are right there, but Wisconsin always gets the job done by doing the dreaded “recruit to a type” style.

And now things get even more interesting with Scott Frost working his magic at Nebraska, PJ Fleck getting a full year to work at Minnesota, and with the Purdues, Marylands and Rutgers of the world doing some big things.

Here’s how this is all figured out.

1) Bulk. Recruiting is a contact sport. Getting two five-star guys might be nice, but as history has proven, getting eight four-star players is probably better. The more good prospects, the more chances that a few of them can play.

2) Superstars. Okay, talent matters, too. Who got the most really, really good guys that everyone else wanted?

3) Who loaded up in key areas for what the program needs? Again, chances are that the more prospects you sign, the more opportunities will be there to find real players. So, in general, the big classes are going to get ranked a lot higher than the smaller ones, especially if the prospects fit the team’s profile.

Trying to get these as close as possible – but with a decent margin for error …

14. Northwestern Wildcats

As always, it’s about who fits the profile. It’s not a huge class, and it’s more about filling in some gaps for down the line than bulking up in any one area. Landing 6-6, 230-pound pass rusher Devin O’Rourke was the big get, but the offensive line is securing its future with several excellent prospects. There might not be a lot of splash, but RB Isaiah Bower and QB Jason Whittaker will be factors.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

13. Illinois Fighting Illini

Considering Illinois went really, really, REALLY young last year, it’s now mostly about finding as much pure talent as possible – duh – to upgrade everywhere. There’s not a lot to deal with for the future – it’s time to start winning now for Lovie Smith. It all starts on the lines, with Reuben Unije and Verdis Brown two future starters out of Bradenton, FL for the offensive side, and Calvin Avery the anchor for the defensive front. With all the current quarterback issues, Coran Taylor and M.J. Rivers will get a long look this offseason.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

12. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Head coach Chris Ash continues to load up on local products as he tries to own New Jersey. However, more than anything else, he’s trying to crank up the offense with versatile playmakers and lots of speed and talent – especially for the receiving corps. The top guys are all for the offensive side – including QB Artur Sitkowski out of Florida, WR Eddie Lewis, and RB Isaih Pacheco. The D will be dealt with down the road.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
– 2017 | 2016

11. Indiana Hoosiers

The Hoosiers went after the defense last year, and they did it again. The offensive playmakers have to come in next year, but this season, landing QB Michael Penix Jr. out of Tampa was the big get, and the tight ends are solid, but IU cranked up defensive backs and went after plenty of athletes for both sides of the ball. Speed was the key – and Penix Jr.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
– 2017 | 2016

10. Purdue Boilermakers

Throwing the ball, pass rush and defensive back – Purdue is working with the passing game on both sides of the ball. Head coach Jeff Brohm had a full year to recruit, and it showed with an interesting class loaded up on the passing game. Jack Plummer out of Arizona fits the mold of the gunslinger who fits what Brohm’s passing games do, and the receivers and tight ends are strong.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

9. Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa doesn’t always get the top-shelf prospects, but it was able to do some really, really nice things for the defensive side. Gaining a reputation as factory for defensive backs, landing Julius Brents and D.J. Johnson out of Indianapolis and getting Dallas Craddieth from Missouri sets the tone for the secondary for years to come. 6-5, 225-pound bomber Spencer Petras from California will be the starting quarterback in the near-future.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

8. Wisconsin Badgers

Look at it this way. No one liked Wisconsin’s recruiting class last year, and Jonathan Taylor was up there with the greatest freshman running backs in college football history, and the young receivers look fantastic going into this season. The 2018 haul is the typical Badger class, getting tough guy tacklers at linebacker like Jack Sanborn and CJ Goetz, and adding another good running back in Nakia Watson. However, it’s stunningly light on offensive linemen.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

7. Maryland Terrapins

It’s not the recruiting class of last year – it was one of the stories of the 2017 session – but it’s still really, really good, owning a good chunk of the in-state talent including DT Austin Fontaine and O linemen Jaelyn Duncan and Evan Gregory. Despite all of the quarterback issues last year, there’s talent there for the near future, and now there’s a No. 1 receiver to work with in Darryl Jones.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers

And here’s what happens when PJ Fleck has a year to be PJ Fleck. He went national for some fantastic prospects, landing MASSIVE linemen Daniel Faalele and Curtis Dunlap out of Florida, and boosting up the skill spots stealing WR Rashod Bateman out of Georgia, and bringing in JUCO transfer Vic Viramontes to push for the starting quarterback job. This is the type of class the Gophers can win with over the next few years.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Scott Frost built off a great recruiting class from the former staff to make a big push for guys from Florida who already knew him. Before he took over, Nebraska didn’t even have ten commitments – that changed in a hurry. Landing QB Adrian Martinez out of Fresno was the biggest key – Frost has his quarterback. But for all of the flash and dash, this class is building up Nebraska on defense with lots of speed and plenty of athletes.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

4. Michigan State Spartans

The current controversy involving the program doesn’t seem to matter on the recruiting trail at the moment. Mark Dantonio has a loaded class of defensive backs coming in, with an elite group that should lock things down over the next few years. Trenton Gillison is a next-level caliber tight end, but this is all about the defensive side. With this haul of talent, look out.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

3. Michigan Wolverines

There were some key misses – losing LB Otis Reese to Georgia on National Signing Day stings – but don’t get too down about what will be ranked as an average class. It’s still really, really good, starting at defensive back with Gemon Green and Myles Sims two future starters, and adding a top pass rusher in Aidan Hutchinson to potentially add to the mix right away. 6-5 Joe Milton is yet another great quarterback prospect to throw on the Wolverine pile, but last year was about the receiving corps – there isn’t too much for the other skill spots.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

2. Penn State Nittany Lions

It might not be the No. 1 class, but whatever – James Franklin’s haul of talent is more than good enough to make the Nittany Lions Big Ten and College Football Playoff contenders for the next several years. The defensive linemen – tackles PJ Mustipher and Aeneas Hawkins, and end Jayson Oweh – are special, and landing receivers Justin Shorter and Jahan Dotson was big. The real excitement, though, should be around a pair of NFL-talent tight ends in Zack Kuntz and Pat Freiermuth.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

It was already good, and then came National Signing Day. Landing top OT Nick Petit-Frere put the icing on an already terrific cake, including special running backs Brian Snead and Jaelen Gill and the next NFL defensive back in Tyreke Johnson. LB Teradja Mitchell is going to be special, and the tackle combination of Antwuan Jackson and Taron Vincent will be great. The biggest get, though, might have been to keep Greg Schiano around, after being rumored to go take over the New England offensive coordinator job.
2018 Recruiting Class Breakdown
2017 | 2016

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