B1G Football Recruiting: Ranking the 2014 Recruiting Classes

By Jordan Wagner on February 10, 2014 at 6:00p
Meyer Flexing
31 Comments

It should come as no surprise that Ohio State owns the Big Ten's top recruiting class for a fourth straight year. This past Wednesday, the Buckeyes signed the nation's third ranked class with 23 new faces headed to Columbus to play under Urban Meyer. 

Some drama still remains with five-star lineman Malik McDowell's letter of intent still not faxed into Michigan State. While Malik wants to be a Spartan, his parents would rather him leave the state and play for Ohio State or Florida State. While I expect him to end up in East Lansing, it's at least worth keeping your eye on. The Buckeyes still have a spot available for the five-star defense lineman from Michigan. 

Before we move our focus to the 2015 recruiting class, lets take a look at how each Big Ten school rounded out their 2014 class. 

14. Purdue

The Boilermakers finish last in the Big Ten rankings after a disappointing finish on the recruiting scene. Purdue lost three-star offensive tackle Miguel Machado to Michigan State and three-star receiver Ladarius Wiley to Vanderbilt in the past week. Their top commitment, four-star safety Drue Tranquill, flipped to Notre Dame earlier in the cycle. 

While Darrell Hazell's first recruiting class in West Lafayette is poor, he did manage to land sleeper quarterback David Blough. While Purdue was his only BCS offer, he drew rave reviews at the Elite 11 QB Camp. 

13. Illinois

The Fighting Illini finished off their unimpressive class with a pair of two-star commitments. Safety Chris James selected Illinois over Iowa State, while signal-caller Jeff George Jr. has elected to gray shirt. 

While Tim Beckman has struggled on the recruiting trail, he did manage to land two highly rated junior college prospects — defensive tackle Jihad Ward and receiver Tyrin Stone-Davis. Both prospects should be able to contribute from day one. 

12. Minnesota

Jeff Jones
Minnesota signs four-star running back Jeff Jones

The Gophers main goal was to keep four-star All-American running back Jeff Jones committed, despite having offers from Florida, Michigan, Missouri and others. Minnesota accomplished that and also prevented three-star tight end Jerry Gibson from signing with South Carolina. 

Coach Kill finished strong with a commitment from three-star corner Craig James, who held offers from Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and others. He also managed to flip three-star defensive tackle Gary Moore from Southern Miss and two-star receiver Connor Krizancic from Cincinnati. 

Three-star center Connor Mayes is the other signee to play in one of the two main All-American games. Jerry Kill should have some talent to play with up there in Minnesota. 

11. RUTGERS

The Scarlet Knights once held a promising recruiting class, but double digit de-commit  totals derailed their class. Kyle Flood and staff lost most of their top recruits to other programs, including Saeed Blacknall heading to Happy Valley. 

Rutgers managed to add a couple of late two-stars to add to their collection. Linebacker Eric Margolis held no other offers before signing with Rutgers. The same could be said for long snapper Alan Lucy

With James Franklin focusing on recruiting the East Coast, Rutgers might have some trouble. At least the Big Ten has the New York TV market, I guess. 

10. Iowa

The Hawkeyes had a quiet Signing Day after wrapping up their class during the prior week. With how much Kirk Fertenz makes a season, Iowa should be expecting better results on the recruiting front. Ferentz, an offensive line guru, couldn't even prevent the top in-state lineman from going to Alabama, despite once being committed to the Hawkeyes. 

They did land their potential quarterback of the future with the flip of one-time Rutgers commit Tyler Wiegers. Four-star athlete Jay Scheel and running back Markel Smith should give Iowa some offensive fire power. Three-star tight end Matt Nelson could be the next great Hawkeye tight end. Nelson held offers from Arkansas, Florida State, Nebraska and many others. 

9. Indiana

The Hoosiers added four late commitments to push their total to a Big Ten high 28 signees. Three-star linebacker Greg Gooch selected Indiana over Cincinnati. Two-stars Derrian Meminger, Robert McCray III and Chris Covington rounded out the ninth ranked recruiting class. 

Kevin Wilson's class features seven Ohioans, including underrated linebacker Tegray Scales. Indiana's biggest signing was undoubtedly landing four-star receiver Dominique Booth, who was once committed to Tennessee. 

8. Northwestern

Pat Fitzgerald hauled in a very solid, small class for the Wildcats. The eighth ranked class was topped off with a verbal from three-star defensive end Xavier Washington. The Texas native landed a late offer after his impressive performance in the playoffs. 

A pair of offensive four-stars and a pair of four-star defensive players headline Northwestern's class. Corner Parrker Westphal was once considered a Michigan "lean." but elected to stay closer to home. Defensive end Garrett Dickerson followed his brother by turning down Stanford for NU. Quarterback Clayton Thorson and running back Justin Jackson should give Fitzgerald some weapons on offense. 

Damian PrinceMaryland lands five-star Damian Prince                     

7. Maryland

The Terrapins landed a huge commitment with five-star offensive tackle Damian Prince picking the Terps over the Florida Gators. Maryland would have finished with a top five class if they would have landed five-star corner Jalen Tabor, who was always predicted to stay close to home. 

Prince will be joined by the nation's top prep school prospect, tackle Derwin Gray. Four-star dual threat quarterback Will Ulmer should be a quality player in the future for Maryland. 

It's a small class for Randy Edsall, but it has some very good talent. If the Terrapins would have landed a few prospects they were once considered heavy favorites for, they could have had a top three class. 

6. Nebraska

Bo Pelini put together a solid recruiting class, but had some disappointing news late. One-time Florida State pledge Blake McClain committed to Nebraska on Feb. 1st, but he would flip to South Carolina a few days later. Three-star receiver Robert Lockhart hasn't signed with the Cornhuskers because of potential grade issues. 

The Huskers also had a few other de-commitments: Terrell Clinkscales to Kansas State. Jason Hall to Texas. Chance Was to Baylor. 

Overall, Nebraska signed a solid class even with rumors surrounding Pelini's job status. A pair of four-stars on the offensive and defensive lines should provide an instant impact. 

5. Wisconsin

Losing four-star Craig Evans to Michigan State was a blow, but it doesn't take away from the fact that Gary Andersen has done very well at Wisconsin. George Rushing, a three-star receiver, selecting the Badgers over Louisville and TCU helped make up for losing Evans. 

DeMatha running back Taiwan Deal is one of my favorite prospects in the 2014 class. I expect him to continue the Wisconsin tradition of great running backs. Early enroll D.J. Gillins is a rare highly rated dual threat QB for the Badgers. One-time Northwestern pledge Dareian Watkins is another big addition for Wisconsin. 

4. Michigan State

The Spartans had a strong finish on the recruiting trail, but it had the potential to be even better. Michigan State received some disappointing news when Jamarco Jones decided to stick with Ohio State. Four-star defensive lineman Daniel Cage also decided to choose Notre Dame over MSU. They would also lose Darius Slade to Ohio State on Signing Day. 

Mark Dantonio and company did land five-star Malik McDowell, although he has yet to officially sign. It's unclear when that will happen, as his parents do not want him there. Sparty stole four-star defensive tackle Craig Evans from Wisconsin and three-star Miguel Machado from Purdue. Safety T.J. Harrell also picked MSU over Georgia and Louisville. 

Chris Frey, a three-star linebacker from Upper Arlington is another one of my Ohio sleepers. He should be able to develop into a solid LB in East Lansing. 

3. Penn State

James Franklin finished of his first class with a pair of pledges, but also lost four-star Lloyd Tubman to Kentucky. The Nittany Lions added a surprise addition from three-star safety Christian Campbell, when he selected PSU over Minnesota and Missouri.

Mike Gesicki
Mike Gesicki is a big time prospect for Penn State

Franklin also managed to flip three-star athlete Torrence Brown from Southern Miss. 

Mike Gesicki was a prospect that the Buckeyes really want, but the Nits won out. He will be a prospect Ohio State wished they could have landed. Gesicki and three 4-star wide receivers should give Christian Hackenberg some weapons to use. Losing Tubman to UK and Thomas Holley to Florida cost Penn State the B1G's second ranked recruiting class and a top 15 class nationally. This is still a very good class under the circumstances and things will probably only improve under Franklin. 

2. Michigan

The Wolverines got off to a hot start with the 2014 class, but had a rough finish. Michigan missed out on Five-stars Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell, both who were once considered strong UM leans. 

Seven of their 16 signees are early enrollees, which could allow for them to make a quick impact in Ann Arbor. One of the nation's top receivers, Drake Harris, should be able to make his presence know right away. Five-star safety Jabrill Peppers should end up being a special player in the Maize and Blue. 

Three-star Ohio native Noah Furbush is easily the most under appreciated Michigan signee. He was never offered by Ohio State and that could come back to haunt the Buckeyes. 

1. Ohio State

The Buckeyes were expecting to have a quiet Signing Day after Jamarco Jones reaffirmed his pledge to Ohio State. That turned out to not be the case with Darius Slade committing. 

The linebackers, offensive lineman and secondary signees will be called on to contribute from day one. OSU's top prospect, five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan, could start as a freshman. The same is possible for four-star offensive guard Demetrius Knox


Rankings Overview

No. School Commits SCOUT
★ AVG
RIVALS
★ AVG
247
★ AVG
ESPN
★ AVG
OVERALL
★ AVG
1 Ohio State 23 3.78 (5) 3.74 (3) 3.83 (3) 3.74 (7) 3.77
2 Michigan 16 3.56 (27) 3.44 (31) 3.56 (20) 3.75 (18) 3.58
3 Penn State 25 3.12 (25) 3.20 (24) 3.32 (24) 3.28 (24) 3.23
4 Michigan State 23 2.26 (19) 3.26 (21) 3.17 (25) 3.29 (29) 3.25
5 Wisconsin 26 3.12 (29) 2.88 (33) 2.96 (33) 3.08 (34) 3.01
6 Nebraska 25 3.04 (34) 2.92 (32) 3.08(35) 3.17 (39) 3.05
7 Maryland 17 2.59 (61) 3.06 (54) 3.00 (43) 3.25 (50) 2.98
8 Northwestern 16 3.00 (59) 3.00 (69) 3.19 (45) 3.38 (41) 3.14
9 Indiana 28 2.73 (44) 2.77 (37) 2.75 (51) 3.05 (55) 2.83
10 Iowa 21 2.95 (41) 2.79 (60) 2.80 (53) 3.11 (49) 2.91
11 Rutgers 25 2.64 (55) 2.60 (57) 2.60 (59) 2.90 (56) 2.69
12 Minnesota 20 2.54 (49) 2.70 (53) 2.60 (64) 3.00 (58) 2.71
13 Illinois 18 2.61 (71) 2.67 (72) 2.67 (70) 3.06 (66) 2.75
14 Purdue 18 2.61 (68) 2.53 (75) 2.72 (72) 3.00 (69) 2.72

Number in parentheses is national rank

31 Comments

Comments

BuckeyeJ's picture

What a class!!! I really caint wait to see what LJ can do with Slade. I have watched his tape, and although i am not sure on how tough his league was, he looks to have some great upside! And if Coach Johnson wanted him, there has to be a reason.

+2 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture

Not just Slade.  He has 16 guys and most have had some playing time already.  It would be real nice to have a good rotation of players on the defensive line so we can just attack, attack, attack and if the dude is tired he needs to get off the field and it's next man up 

+1 HS
OSUpawn's picture

And one of those 4 stars is Joey man child Bosa! I think he deserved that fifth star.

I believe the SEC players put their pants on one leg at a time like we do.

+4 HS
BuckeyeRealist13's picture

One of my best friends is from Toms River, NJ and closely follows NJ high school sports. I asked him the question on NSD, how tough was the league that Montclair High played in. He said they played some of the toughest competition in the state, and on the way to two state championships played the best in the state. Although public / private schools do not meet in the post season in NJ. 

I've spent time in the South, I don't care what anybody says they don't have the passion for football that us Ohioans have. 

d1145fresh's picture

I didn't follow Michigan's recruiting much but is there a reason they only took 16 players? That seems very low. Also I would have to say they had one of the biggest falloffs in recruiting since they were on track to be a consensus top 10 and maybe top 5 then it seemed like they kept missing. 

+1 HS
Buckeye419er's picture

I was curious about that as well..

tOSUswaggernut's picture

Classes of 22,27 and 25 in 2011-2013 with little turnover. 

buckeyedude's picture

they had one of the biggest falloffs in recruiting since they were on track to be a consensus top 10 and maybe top 5 then it seemed like they kept missing

I think the way TTUN finished the second half of the season had something to do with that. I really believe it was a big reason D'Shawn Hand bailed on them.

 
 

Jordan Wagner's picture

They were always expected to take a small class, but missing out on Da'Shawn Hand, Malik McDowell and a few running backs hurt them. 

Brady Hoke is good at getting off to fast starts, but he has struggled down the stretch. 

rekrul's picture

Probably from the lack of conditioning, it is hard to believe that considering the outstanding physical specimen he is...

Out Work, Out Think, Out Play!!!

+6 HS
BuckeyeJ's picture

he is not the closer?? 

Huntdawg44's picture

Our defensive line is going to be scary next year. Can't wait!

In Old Ohio There's A Team That's Known Throughout The Land

+1 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

Early on, they were trending to a top 5 class.  Not sure what happened.  Losing Hand was definitely a big blow, as they were supposedly clear cut favorites.  

 

Does anyone really see Hoke being there much longer?

Seattle Linga's picture

Rumblings are that this is his make or break year Johnny - we potentially could see some new blood in there next year.

tOSUswaggernut's picture

They were on track for a top 5 because Hokeburger's philosophy is, "sign 'em early in the year so I can eat more chicken wings."

+2 HS
buckeyedexter's picture

I think our class is even better than it's rating because we got what we needed and I trust the coaches opinion of talent more than I trust recruiting sites.  Some of those 4 stars are really going to play like 5 stars.  Booker if you can call him under rated being in the top 100 gets little attention, I think he's going to be one of the greats when it's all said and done.

+3 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

I second that ............ all day long Dexter

buckeye4life050233's picture

I'm more excited for Hubbard, Erick Smith, and Damon Webb on the defensive side.  Smith plays the game with a swagger that should translate well to man to man lock down coverage

+1 HS
BuckGnome's picture

Yep.  I think Erick Smith is going to turn some heads early in his Buckeye career as well.

+2 HS
SilverState's picture

Interested in seeing how Hazell continues to do on the recruiting trail.

Think Mr. Blough should fit right in.

 
 

 

+1 HS
German Buckeye's picture

Poster child for their mascot for sure...

BuckeyeRealist13's picture

Will be very interesting for me to see who ends up with the higher rated classes annually, Maryland or Rutgers. Both states / regions have so much talent in them, that if either school were able to keep their top prospects, they would be top 15 teams nationally. 

I've spent time in the South, I don't care what anybody says they don't have the passion for football that us Ohioans have. 

+1 HS
BuckeyeRealist13's picture

Regarding Michigan's final class rankings, even if they had landed Hand, McDowell, and some other prospects they missed on, they were always bound to be a middle of the top 25 ranked class based on the low numbers they were able to take. Their class is still stacked, with one of my favorite WR's in the class (Drake Harris). 

I've spent time in the South, I don't care what anybody says they don't have the passion for football that us Ohioans have. 

Jordan Wagner's picture

If Michigan landed Hand and McDowell, they would have finished 11th in the nation. You add in one of the running backs they were targeting and you have at least a top ten class, perhaps eight or nine. I was told they could have taken as many as 19, if the right guys wanted in. 

BuckeyeRealist13's picture

Fair enough. If Michigan had 19 commits, and those commits included McDowell and Hand, yea they for sure would of been top ten. 

I've spent time in the South, I don't care what anybody says they don't have the passion for football that us Ohioans have. 

MVJ's picture

The B1G East is going to be a loaded division for the next few years.

"You win with people "

steveoz49's picture

Of all the guys on the line, I'm most excited to see Jamal Marcus next season.  He had a coming out party against Clemson and I think he's got a massive upside.

+4 HS
Crimson's picture

Nice article.  I love the new table of standings.

Also, corner

five-star conner Jalen Tabor

and over

George Rushing, a three-star receiver, selecting the Badgers of Louisville and TCU

-1 HS
BukFan's picture

Penn state is really suffering in 3rd place.

MarylandPride's picture

As a Terps fan overall, I can't complain too much.

Yeah, I wish we had gotten Tabor and entered the B1G with a bang but it is what it is.

While our class could have been better it does fill some needs.

Maryland's biggest weakness was along the offensive line and they (hopefully) shored up that weakness.

We brought in 3 guys who will more than likely be starting in the fall.

5* OT Damian Prince,

4* OT Derwin Gray, Second-best prep player in the country, best prep offensive tackle

3* OT Larry Mazcyk  Juco All-American

So like I said, I can't complain much.

 

 

Jordan Wagner's picture

It's definitely a solid class. Would have loved to see the Terps land Tabor and Jared Cohen. Wish Demetrius Johnson would have qualified. Would have been a much better class. Those three guys are going to be good.