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Big Ten Recruiting: Class Rankings, Players To Watch

The 2018 College Football early signing period is here! Where does your team stack up and how are they going to finish out?

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Note: All of the ratings, rankings, commitments, etc. are from approximately midday 12/19. If your team picks up a commit after that, great! Don’t complain that you didn’t read this part though. Credit goes to 247sports, where all rankings came from. I also hyperlinked each team in its write up to its commitment page there if you want the detailed class information.

The college football regular season is over and here we are, wondering what our teams are going to bring in next year. Some teams are retooling and there are some surprises so far in the early off-season. Nebraska has a new coach and is attempting to put together a class as fast as possible while other teams appear to be ignoring the entire recruiting thing entirely.

Luckily for the 2018 off-season there are a few rule changes that give us even more recruiting coverage early on. The NCAA instated an early signing period this year, which allows recruits to sign their Letter of Intent in December as opposed to waiting until February. This does a few things but mainly allows teams to firm up what they have early and it will probably create a second recruiting market that will crank up players suitors as teams realize there are less flip candidates and a lesser pool of overall recruits remains to fill those last spots. So let’s take a look at the team rankings, courtesy of 247sports:

14. Illinois Fighting Illini: 16 commits || 61st overall || Composite .8454 rating

Illinois until recently has pretty much been avoiding this whole recruiting thing. Consequently, they’re stuck with a below average 3 star class (.8500 composite as an average 3 star) with only one four star recruit in Calvin Avery. They’re after Verdis Brown, a 4 star OL who decommitted from FSU and is favoring the Illini going into the early signing period.

13. Northwestern Wildcats: 15 commits || 51st overall || Composite .8572 rating

Northwestern is recruiting how you’d expect a private school focused on academics to recruit. That is to say that most of the class is full of 3 star players who are also stellar in the classroom. Not to say athletes aren’t by any means...but I think you get my point. Northwester’s best commitment to date is DE Devin O’Rourke and they’re heading into the early signing period hoping to lock up RB Drake Anderson (3 star RB) and Ryan Winkel (3 star OL).

*Update: Northwestern received a commitment from Drake Anderson

12. Nebraska Cornhuskers: 12 commits || 45th overall || Composite .8791 rating

Nebraska has taken a tumble in recruit rankings due to the coaching change but is clawing their way back up them. The Cornhuskers at one point had a Top 25 class and were in on quite a few five stars but as Frost has to pitch the message all over again they’re struggling to cobble a class together and keep what they already have. They’re best commitment is dual threat QB Adrian Martinez. Nebraska is hoping to fend off OSU from flipping WR Cameron Brown as well while they at they at the same time are trying to flip ATH Marcus Riley from Louisville.

11. Purdue Boilermakers: 25 commits || 43rd overall || Composite .8393

Purdue is likely done this class with 25 commitments locked up but they are still working to flip 4 star WR Rondale Moore from Texas. Other than that, this should be gravy for Purdue while they start working 2019 recruiting.

10. Indiana Hoosiers: 21 commits || 41th overall || Composite .8455

Indiana has 21 players locked up but they’re still looking for a QB to add to the class. Currently RB Ronnie Walker tops the class as the only Top 400 player committed to the Hoosiers and they took a blow today when Gerry Bohanon (QB) committed to Baylor. Indiana will focus the last two months scrapping for a QB option to add in the class.

9. Iowa Hawkeyes: 15 commits || 40th overall || Composite .8674

What Iowa lacks in numbers they make up for in quality player coming in. Averaging a high 3 star rating from most players, 4 star DE John Waggoner headlines the class as Iowa still chases a few more players. Iowa is looking for a decision from Safety Dallas Cradieth but it isn’t expected until the national signing day timeframe.

8. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: 22 commits || 35th overall || Composite .8436

rutger is already on the board, causing me to update this article for rankings as I write this. Their best commitment is QB Artur Sitkowski, a one time Miami Hurricanes commitment, who was benched at IMG Academy about the same time he flipped to rutger. rutger was after Daevon Robinson and got him on 12/18 despite Baylor leading all predictions to pick him up.

7. Wisconsin Badgers: 19 commits || 33rd overall || Composite .8638

Wisconsin similar to Iowa but more commitments. I mean really, they both go after a bunch of solid 3 star players to coach up rather than star talent. The lone 4 star player in the class comesm at a position of need in Jack Sanborn at LB. Wisconsin is still after secondary targets, most notably Jairus Brents at CB.

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers: 26 commits || 26th overall || Composite .8607

Minnesota is about done recruiting this year after a furious late November/early December locking up key commitments. Curtis Dunlap, a 4 star OL and a one-time Florida commit, flipped to Minnesota after Jim McElwain giving Minnesota a solid OL to mold alongside Daniel Falaale, a 6’8 3 star OL from Florida. Both Maryland and Minnesota have sneaky good OL classes this year.

WSR’s Note: The one guy in this class that I really can’t wait to watch is #1-ranked JUCO QB Vicious Vic Viramontes, the chaos QB. Even his own coach last year said that he had no idea what was going to happen after he called the play and the ball was snapped, but Vic had the skill and ability to just make things happen.

5. Michigan State Spartans: 20 commits || 23rd overall || Composite .8701

Sparty is also wrapping things up, looking at taking a total of 22-23 players in this class. So far in the class 4 star CB Kalon Gervin headlines the handful of 4 star recruits MSU has grabbed while they still are pursuing an immediate impact player on the DL in the juco ranks and a WR or two.

4. Maryland Terrapins: 22 commits || 19th overall || Composite .8683

Maryland is wrapping up another very solid recruiting class and yet another one where they most likely finish 4th overall but 4th in the Big Ten East. Austin Fontaine and Jaelyn Duncan (DT and OT) headline the class while Maryland chases big name target Eyobi Anoma (4 star DE, prob ‘Bama) but also looks to wrap up former No. 1 overall recruit Byron Cowart (DE) as a transfer from Auburn that’s eligible immediately. Getting both would be a stellar finish but look for Maryland to potentially look the juco route on DL while working to keep 4 star CB/S Noah Boykins committed as the bigger names start coming in to flip him (Notre Dame).

3. Michigan Wolverines: 18 commits || 12th overall || Composite .8904

Wrapping up another solid class, Michigan is looking to close on a number of big names going into the next few months. LB Otis Reese headlines the class but they’re still after Eyobi Anoma (DE, again prob ‘Bama) and Tyler Friday (DE). Anoma announces on the 22nd so we will see shortly where he ends up. My guess is Maryland if it is anywhere else besides Alabama considering MD is the home school but the lure of Alabama will be too much.

2. Penn State Nittany Lions: 20 commits || 5th overall || Composite .9059

Penn State is taking a smaller class after loading up the past two years, headlined by 5 stars Justin Shorter (WR) and Ricky Slade (RB). Penn State has 1-2 spots left and they’re after DE Micah Parsons and OT Rasheed Walker. Walker was thought to be an early commit and the longer he takes, the more chances he has of losing his spot at PSU due to class size.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes: 21 commits || 1st overall || Composite .9459

Ohio State legitimately has the chance to be the first team to unseat Alabama as the recruiting champions in a while. They also will probably finish with more five star players than the rest of the Big Ten combined, so there is that as my summary of their ridiculous recruiting class.