Big Ten College Football Recruiting: Team Rankings, Top Players, Biggest Strengths, What's Missing

Big Ten College Football Recruiting: Team Rankings, Top Players, Biggest Strengths, What's Missing

2020 Recruiting

Big Ten College Football Recruiting: Team Rankings, Top Players, Biggest Strengths, What's Missing


2020 Big Ten Recruiting Rankings

No, really. How good were the Big Ten classes this 2020 recruiting season?

1. Ohio State

It’s the Big Ten’s best recruiting class by ten miles. Last year’s class was just okay, but that’s partly because of all the changes and because the 2018 class was epic. In Ryan Day’s first full year as the head man, he pulled together one of the nation’s most loaded classes. The three NFL-caliber wide receivers are the headliners, but special talents were signed for just about every spot. Quarterbacks, offensive linemen, linebackers – the defending Big Ten champ just got a whole lot better.

2. Michigan

It’s not the Ohio State recruiting class, but it’s a solid No. 2 haul of talent. It’s sort of the Michigan problem overall – it’s really good, but there aren’t those elite of the elite superstar types that Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Georgia were able to land. However, there are a whole lot of really good future Big Ten starters to be solid across the board. The defense gets the biggest boost with linebackers and defensive backs as the headliners, but the receivers are strong, too.

3. Penn State

Once again, James Franklin and his staff were able to load up with another class as good as any just outside of the top five – and it’s really, really big. There might not be any Johnny Five-Star types, but there’s absolutely no waste – just about every recruit would’ve been the star of the class at at least 75 other schools. Wide receivers and defensive linemen – a whole lot of good ones are coming to Happy Valley.

4. Nebraska

Recruiting hasn’t been a problem for Scott Frost, but it all has to start paying off. This class loaded up on more weapons for the passing game, the defensive tackles are coming in, and the four defensive ends are promising.  There are just enough high-end prospects to give the Huskers more difference-makers, but patience is still the key. The athleticism and overall team speed are improving – the offensive should have the parts now to work.

5. Maryland

Mike Locksley kicked it into high gear. A brilliant recruiter who knows the area, he was able to land a few superstar prospects – most notably WR Rakim Jarrett from DC – but he was fantastic nationally, too. There are a ton of terrific receivers, a lot of defensive backs to go along with the boatload that came in last year, and the JUCO transfers at defensive tackle to change things around in a big hurry.

6. Wisconsin

Fiiiiiiiiiiine. The whole recruit-to-a-type thing is obviously working well, but considering all the success and all the amazing things the program has done, it’s still not landing the elite prospects to finally push past the Ohio States of the college football world. It’s a very good class – especially for the offensive line and at linebacker – but considering the program keeps hitting a rock-hard ceiling when it comes to being able to take that one extra step forward, nothing really changed with this year’s class.

7. Purdue

The offense will keep on rolling with all the wide receiver talent being signed on, there’s a whole lot for the offensive front, and there’s enough for the defensive backfield to add more depth early on. The class is all about the offensive skill parts, though, with Jeff Brohm having an easier time finding the guys who want to be part of the fun – he’s able to open more doors now for passing game parts.

8. Michigan State

Well this just got interesting. There wasn’t much happening on National Signing Day after the announcement of Mark Dantonio’s departure, but overall it was still a typical MSU recruiting class. It’s fine, but there aren’t a whole slew of high-end talents to scare anyone. The defense got the most love with the ends and linebackers getting the most talent, but there was a sprinkling of prospects for just about everywhere.

9. Minnesota

Did the Gophers capitalize on the big season with a great recruiting class? Not really. A great year usually shows up the following recruiting run, but this year’s class isn’t all that bad with a whole lot for the defensive front and the type of players who fit what the program does. LBs Itayvion Brown and Jaqwondis Burns should be disruptive forces in the near future, more dangerous receivers are coming in, and there’s enough here to keep the success going. Interestingly enough, only two players from Minnesota were signed.

10. Iowa

This class is so … Iowa. No one’s going to go crazy over the talent level, and there aren’t going to be a whole lot of stars next to the names, but you know exactly what the program just got. The offensive linemen can move and will bulk up over the next three years to become factors. The gajillion defensive ends signed on will move around to linebacker as well as for the line, and the tight ends look the NFL part. If QB Deuce Hogan is a thing early on, this will be one of Kirk Ferentz’s better classes.

11. Indiana

It’s an okay class for Indiana, but it’s not as strong as last year’s effort. The stars are missing with only a few decent prospects to get excited about in OT Kahlil Benson – the big NSD get – and WR Rashawn Williams. It’s a large class for the offensive line, the defensive backs are solid, and the defensive ends are decent. However, it’s a recruit-to-a-type group that should beef up the depth chart early on.

12. Northwestern

Last year’s recruiting class was among the best in the history of the program, and this one is almost as strong. The offensive line gets the biggest boost, Cameron Porter is a nice-looking running back, and the defensive backs are good enough and deep enough to make a big difference. It’s Northwestern, so there are always barriers, but Pat Fitzgerald and his staff – helped by the gorgeous practice facility – have found a sales pitch groove.

13. Rutgers

Considering all of the big problems and the little time that Greg Schiano had to work. He was able to rally late to get a few receivers, but more than anything else, the idea was to bring in more athletes and more all-around talent, and then figure it out. With 15 of the 20 players from the New York/New Jersey area, the idea is to own home. This was a start.

14. Illinois

Yuck. Give Lovie Smith and the staff credit for continuing to aim high, but the program keeps on failing just short time and again at coming up with game-changing parts. This year, there’s a lot for the defensive line, and landing QB Gregory Swann and RB Reggie Love helps the O a bit, but … there’s just not enough talent coming in.

Every Team’s Star Recruit
Recruiting Class Strengths
What’s Missing From Each Recruiting Class
2020 All-Big Ten Recruiting Team

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