In 2018, the NCAA allowed for an early signing period for College Football recruits that ran from December 19th through December 21st. By all accounts, that was a good move and your team probably signed most of its class in those few days. As I’ve read through some of the information preparing for this quick rundown on the actual National Signing Day, it seems as though around 75% of recruits took advantage of the earlier period and according to 247, only 10% of the Top 250 players remain. Add in the fact that the real drama seems to be the new craziness of the transfer portal, and well, NLI day just isn’t that cool anymore.
That said, there’s always drama when it comes to getting a bunch of 17-18 year old kids to commit to where they believe they should spend the next four years of their lives, so I’m sure something cool or funny happens. All that in mind, we know Alabama and Georgia are going to have the best two classes this year - by a wide margin in fact - but we don’t care about them. This is Big Ten Country, so let’s talk about that.
Right now, the Michigan Wolverines are definitely leading the pack. With 26 commits, 25 who have already signed, and an absurd 16 blue chip prospects, Jim Harbaugh and company look to build on what was arguably still a very good 2018 season. Expect almost nothing from them. Coming in right behind them are the Penn State Nittany Lions and Ohio State Buckeyes. Both schools have some room to grow their class tomorrow and while I cannot pretend to tell you every single battle left, I would not be surprised to see each of PSU and OSU rise in the rankings. Penn State is 10th under James Franklin and Ryan Day has OSU in 13th.
The Big Ten West shows up nicely in the next three spots with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Purdue Boilermakers, and Wisconsin Badgers putting together good classes. Nebraska under Scott Frost has signed 6 blue chip prospects and is bringing in a very large class, and Jeff Brohm has shown up nicely for Purdue with 4 blue chip prospects. Wisconsin continues to do very Wisconsin things and is signing... wait, a 5* OT. Okay, sure. Why not?
The Michigan State Spartans belong in the group with the last three teams, but I had started this conversation about it being Big Ten West teams, so they now get grouped with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Sure, it’s not because somehow Mark Dantonio and Kirk Ferentz seem to think recruiting is a lot of work and they’ll just out-hustle you in development - they will by the way - but it’s also because they come in right after each other. Michigan State has the sixth highest rated average ranking per recruit (that’s an annoying description to type out) and Iowa probably will sign a DB that no one knows about but will be drafted in the first round in three years. In all seriousness, the only Hawkeye hard commit known to be signing tomorrow is a lightly recruited Safety out of Illinois and he is 100% going to be All-B1G.
As of now, the next three teams look much like Iowa. The Indiana Hoosiers, Minnesota Golden Gophers, and Northwestern Wildcats all have average classes that will finish somewhere in the Top 50 or so. Indiana has signed some pretty solid higher tier guys it seems, but the average is about a mid 3* caliber overall. Minnesota has a good class for Mr. Row-the-Boat but PJ Fleck hasn’t moved the needle a ton yet. It’s a good class for filling out areas of need broadly, but not the splash I think some in Minnesota expected. As for Northwestern, this is a better class than last year, so that’s a thing I guess?
Rounding out the Big Ten are the Illinois Fighting Illini, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, and Maryland Terrapins. Lovie and Illinois are actually trending up as far as talent goes even though the rest of the Big Ten is probably doing the same. Same goes for Rutgers. And, you can forgive Maryland for being dead last right now. I’d expect quite a bit for them with new coach Mike Locksley on board really late and in need of a charge forward.
That’s a really quick look at where teams stand top to bottom. Feel free to use this as an open thread for the uh, festivities? Just follow the rules as normal. We’ll have more in-depth looks at the classes in the following days.
If breakfast foods were recruits, the top ranked prospect would be...
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Biscuits and Gravy