Ranking Big Ten Recruiting Classes
How the top Big Ten Recruiting Classes Rank
Pads and playbooks are now packed away in storage following the completion of the 2013 college football season. The closure of a football season is not that dissimilar from the completion of the holiday season where families take down stockings, Christmas trees and Christmas lights and put them into storage. Young children, like college football fans, are now forced to spend a portion of the year in waiting until one of the most exciting times of the year will once again commence.
At the conclusion of the holiday season, many children do not realize that their parents have already began the process of saving the earnings to give them the opportunity to bless their families with gifts. In this sense, a close comparison can be drawn between parents and college football coaches. The football coaches are already deeply involved in the hard work of recruiting when the football season ends. Hopefully as a result of the recruiting efforts, these coaches will be able to bless the fans of their teams with a new crop of talented young men once the college football season once again commences.
The ink may be dry in the score books and stat sheets from the 2013 college football season, but the ink on the tip of the pens in pockets of Big Ten college football coaches is far from dry. Coaches around the Big Ten are in the phase of finalizing their recruiting classes, and here is a look at how they currently rank.
14. Minnesota Golden Gophers (72nd)
The Golden Gophers may be referred to as overacheivers as a result of their performance in 2013, but do not tell them or their head coach Jerry Kill that. Kill and his players are hungry and expect more wins in 2014. Incoming freshman Jeff Jones could be a big impact player at running back for the Golden Gophers.
13. Illinois Fighting Illini (63rd)
The Fighting Illini lost a key player in Nathan Scheelhaase. Their senior quarterback was a great leader and had a win-at-all-costs attitude. The Illini will have a difficult time replacing him. Chayce Crouch may get an opportunity to contribute at quarterback.
12. Maryland Terrapins (60th)
The Terrapins are another team that's new to the Big Ten. The Terrapins will have a difficult schedule in the eastern side of the Big Ten. They will need to rely on some youth and vital positions. Offensive Lineman Derwin Gray could make an immediate impact.
11. Purdue Boilermakers (58th)
The Boilermakers had a tough season in 2013, but coach Darrell Hazell has put that behind him. In 2013, he may have found his quarterback of the future in Danny Etling. If Etling does not work out in 2014, David Blough may be asked to step in and lead the Boilermakers offense.
10. Iowa Hawkeyes (51st)
Head coach Kirk Ferentz lost his top recruiter and son Brian Ferentz when he departed to join fellow Big Ten coach Bill O’Brien with the Houston Texans. However, the Hawkeyes have still been able to acquire top talent like Jay Scheel, who nearly accomplished a 40-touchdown season in his junior year of high school.
9. Northwestern Wildcats (50th)
Pat Fitzgerald and his Northwestern Wildcats had a tough season in 2013 after they got off to a rough start in Big Ten play. Opening loses to Wisconsin and Ohio State proved to be difficult to recover from. The Wildcats are hoping new talent and contribution can make the difference in 2014. An impact player like quarterback Clayton Thorson could make the difference.
8. Indiana Hoosiers (44th)
The Indiana Hoosiers are poised to have a good campaign in 2014. Head coach Kevin Wilson has some great pieces already in place in Bloomington. One of those pieces is quarterback Nate Sudfeld. In 2014, Sudfeld could be looking downfield to top recruit Dominique Booth.
7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (42nd)
The Scarlet Knights will be a new addition to the Big Ten and are in the top half of the conference in recruiting. The Scarlet Knights have a recruit in Saeed Blacknall who could be an immediate impact pass catcher.
6. Nebraska Cornhuskers (36th)
The Cornhuskers are getting their top rusher back, but still have voids that need to be filled and questions that need to be answered. There will be a quarterback competition in Lincoln this offseason, and incoming freshman Zack Darlington could be a part of that.
5. Michigan State Spartans (31st)
If you want to play top-notch defense, you go to East Lansing and learn from Mark Dantonio and Pat Narduzzi. The Spartans may be losing a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but fans need not worry as the Spartans will fill the voids with new pieces. The Spartans may look to Montae Nicholson to fill a void left in their outstanding secondary.
4. Wisconsin Badgers (28th)
The Wisconsin Badgers have always been able to run the ball. Yes, they have had some great ball carriers, but their offensive line is always one of the best in the country. Jaden Gault may be the Badgers' top recruit, and the offensive lineman couldn’t have chosen a better school to hone his skills.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (26th)
The Nittany Lions may have lost their head coach as Bill O’Brien departed for the Houston Texans, but it seems like the Penn State Program is in good hands with new coach James Franklin. Speaking of good hands, Mike Gesicki has a good set and should be a great target for Christian Hackenberg.
2. Wolverines (22nd)
The Wolverines had a season with some disappointing losses. Some of their hardships can be partially attributed to injury, but it is certain that talented football players play at Michigan. We are learning that nothing has changed as the Wolverines have recruited another top class. Jabrill Peppers will be a player to watch as he is one of the top athletes in the country.
1. Ohio State (2nd)
The Buckeyes were picked to win the Big Ten for the majority of the 2013 football season, and came one victory short of doing so. Head coach Urban Meyer is not used to losing and will expect his team to work as hard in the offseason as he and his staff do. He is currently amassing a recruiting class of players fit to play football more specific to his system. That said, do not underestimate Meyers' ability to coach. He will get the most out of every individual he coaches. Middle Linebacker Raekwon McMillan will be a player to watch.