How did all of the Big Ten teams do recruiting in the Early Signing Period? Where do they all rank, who are the stars, where are the holes and what are the needs?
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Big Ten Early Signing Period Team Rankings
14 Maryland Terrapins
The uncertainty at head coach killed the early signing period. That, and that – for all of the problems – DJ Durkin rocked it on the recruiting trail over the last few years. A few good prospects are trickling in, but there’s work for Mike Locksley to do.
13 Illinois Fighting Illini
To be fair, Illinois has been loaded up with young prospects over the last few years and there isn’t a whole lot of instant room. However, there are some terrific talents coming in – there just aren’t a ton of them. It’s a smallish class.
12 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
All things considered, it’s not a horrible class for Chris Ash. He didn’t dominate New Jersey, but he kept a few good parts at home. The program keeps going after quarterbacks, the linebackers are promising, and it’s a class full of variety.
11 Northwestern Wildcats
It’s good, but it’s still Northwestern. The facilities are in place, the Big Ten West championship is still fresh, and Pat Fitzgerald was able to come up with one of his better hauls. It’s a defensive-oriented class with a whole slew of terrific prospects across the board.
10 Indiana Hoosiers
It’s a fine class, but it needs the top guys to shine. It’s a bit more of a strength in numbers haul – especially on the defensive line – but the hen-pecked positions for good players leaves for little margin for error.
9 Minnesota Golden Gophers
It’s good enough. PJ Fleck has yet to come up with the type of game-changing class he needs, but he rocked up the defensive line and landed a potential stud quarterback from Texas in Jacob Clark.
8 Iowa Hawkeyes
It’s a good one for Iowa, but it’s very … Iowa. There isn’t any big-time star power, but it all fits exactly what the program is all about with some amazing tight end prospects, good linemen, and potentially dangerous linebackers.
7 Michigan State Spartans
It’s fine. It’s nothing special, but it’s okay. Of course, Mark Dantonio wins with his guys, but while Michigan and Penn State loaded up with fantastic classes, the Spartans got a slew of good prospects who flew under the radar.
6 Purdue Boilermakers
With Jeff Brohm sticking around, the team got the recruits to buy in and sign on, doing big things for the defensive front seven and with just enough skill guys to throw into the mix for the next few seasons. The talent level is being upgraded in a big way.
5 Wisconsin Badgers
It’s sneaky-good. Wisconsin did its recruit-to-a-type thing, but it did that and got a slew of strong talents, too. It’s a national class, landing LB Spencer Lytle from California, CB Semar Melvin from Florida, and with 19 commitments from 12 states.
4 Nebraska Cornhuskers
And there’s Scott Frost going to work. He got a few running backs to do what he needs – JUCO transfer and former Georgia Tech star Dedrick Mills is going to be a main man right away – but mostly he was able to upgrade the team’s speed and skill in a hurry.
3 Ohio State Buckeyes
Obviously the retirement of Urban Meyer kept this from being the normal jaw-dropping class, but it’s still outstanding. Penn State got more bulk good players, and Michigan got a few more high-end talents, but the Buckeyes got their share of players that most schools would kill for.
2 Penn State Nittany Lions
Fantastic, James Franklin had yet another amazing recruiting run helped by landing RB Devyn Ford and loading up with an impressive group of defensive backs along with a few nice quarterbacks.
1 Michigan Wolverines
Yeah, it didn’t hurt that Ohio State was in the midst of a regime change, but Michigan had a great class no matter what anyone else was doing. The secondary is loaded, the lines are loaded, and it was an outstanding class for the infrastructure.