With the season right around the corner, college football recruiting is storming full speed ahead. As all fans of recruiting know, it’s a year-round thing, and the Big Ten is always looking up at the SEC it seems. Let’s take a look at how the Big Ten is faring in the national recruiting wars…
Michigan is the cream of the crop right now in recruiting. The Wolverines have arguably the best class in the nation right now, other than maybe Southern Cal. Verbal commitments from QB Shane Morris, DT Henry Poggi, and OT Chris Fox are the highlights thus far. Brady Hoke has done a masterful job turning the Sugar Bowl win over Virginia Tech into a strong class… Nebraska and Michigan State have solid classes at this point. Both teams have some good players verbally committed, but are hoping a strong season will give a big boost in February. Nebraska has particularly placed a strong emphasis of their class on defense, hoping to keep their ‘Black Shirt’ tradition up to par.
Iowa quietly has another quality class in the works. It’s a typical Hawkeye class, with not a lot of hype or huge names. G/T Colin Goebel is one of their key pieces right now, as he is exactly the type of hard nosed and tough lineman that Kirk Ferentz has made a living shipping off to the NFL… Northwestern and Minnesota are struggling right now, at least from a national perspective. Neither school has any big names, but that’s not a surprise. Both coaching staffs know what they are looking for in a player and go after him. They consistently find the diamonds in the rough that few big schools even pay attention to and make them all league performers. Both teams have a lot to prove on the field this fall to translate into recruiting success.
Ohio State and Penn State have both made big splashes in recruiting thus far. Fact is though, Ohio State’s arrow is pointing up and Penn State’s is pointing down. Ohio State has an excellent class right now under recruiting guru Urban Meyer, headlined by CB Cameron Burrows. Meyer found out in the SEC that if you want to win national championships, you better have one heck of a defensive line to pressure the quarterback. Meyer is applying that knowledge, focusing on bringing excellent defensive line prospects like Michael Hill and Joey Bosa to Columbus… Penn State is focusing on just keeping the class intact and adding a few more pieces along the way. If TE Adam Breneman and QB Christian Hackenberg do end up going to State College, it will be a huge boost to a soon to be depleted depth chart.
Illinois has been a pleasant surprise thus far in recruiting, using the coaching transition to their advantage. They will need to put it together on the field though, for this class to remain where it is… Wisconsin is right where they usually are in recruiting. The Badgers are under the radar, finding big, tough, blue collar players who love the game. Not surprisingly, their most talented commit thus far has been an offensive tackle (Jack Keeler). Purdue and Indiana leave much to be desired. Both schools have very few recruits committed, and even though it’s still early, it’s not that early.