Big Ten Football Recruiting Class Rankings: August 5, 2014

By John Brandon on August 5, 2014 at 1:05p
Ron Franklin has Penn State out to an early lead in our Big Ten recruiting rankings.

Camp season is pretty much behind us and much of the Big Ten has filled up a good portion of its classes. Penn State started out at a scorching pace, much like Michigan's summer recruiting in recent years. Do the Lions still hold the top spot?

Speaking of the Wolverines, they've completely changed the script and have among the fewest commits of any Big Ten team. Wisconsin is recruiting at a high level, Michigan State is trying to build on recent on-field momentum and the Buckeyes are always in the thick of things for Big Ten recruiting championships.

So, without further ado, here are the highly anticipated inaugural 2015 B1G recruiting rankings.

14. Minnesota

Despite a hot finish to the month of July, the Gophers find themselves at the bottom of the B1G in all the recruiting sites' team rankings. Minnesota is on the upswing under Jerry Kill and was even 8-2 at one point last year, but the success hasn't translated to the recruiting trail. Missing out on a rare elite in-state prospect like Jashon Cornell stings.

The Gophers have some intriguing prospects, namely quarterback Demry Croft, a big dual-threat quarterback who received interest from MAC schools. Croft has the size and athleticism to be a solid college QB. The next guy to watch for Minnesota is Quinn Oseland. He recently visited Minnesota and is expected to decide in the next couple of weeks.

Recent Commitments: Jaylen Waters, Jonathan Femi-Cole, Ray Buford.
Visitor News: Minnesota hosts a couple of their bigger targets later in August. Michigan athlete John Kelly visits next week and JUCO defensive back Charlie Rogers will be in town the following weekend.

13. Indiana

Indiana has built a pretty decent class to this point, led by quarterback Tommy Stevens and a group of Ohio offensive linemen – Hunter Littlejohn, Simon Stepaniak and tight end Austin Dorris – who will help bring some toughness to Bloomington.

Some targets to keep an eye on to round out the Hoosier class include Tremain Dillard, D'erren Wilson, Chuck Davis, Timothy Nolan and Justin Tranquill.

Recent Commitments: None.
Visitor News: Not much on the horizon, but Toledo linebacker Chris Green visited this past weekend and is planning a return trip in two weeks. Indiana and Illinois are his top two schools.

12. Purdue

The Boilermakers edge out their in-state rivals thanks in large part to quarterback Elijah Sindelar, who is rated a 4-star by Scout and ESPN. The Boilers also landed 3-star Georgia receiver Tyshawn Brown, who picked Purdue over Indiana, Virginia, Wisconsin and others on Monday. Darrell Hazell has done a nice job of acquiring national talent, holding commits from Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and of course Indiana. The Boilers hope to add another Florida commit soon in offensive lineman Reche Thomas.

Recent Commitments: Tyshawn Brown.
Visitor News: Nothing right now.

11. Illinois

Tim Beckman's seat may be a bit toasty but he's putting together a respectable class. Illinois' headliner is Gabe Megginson, one of the Midwest's best offensive linemen. Like Purdue, Illinois has done well with out-of-state prospects, attracting several players from California and Texas. In an effort to add some instant impact, the Illini also have three junior college commitments.

Fans of Illinois recruiting will keep a close eye on Quinn Oseland and Chris Green, each of whom has Illinois in his top two and could decide shortly.

Recent Commitments: None.
Visitor News: Chris Green has a visit scheduled to Indiana for Aug. 15. Green will visit Illinois shortly thereafter and a decision could come after those visits.

10. Rutgers

Nowhere near as strong as its recruiting class was at this point last year, Rutgers' class remains solid thanks to a large number of northeastern prospects. Buckeye target Lawrence Cager was very high on Rutgers, but will likely be an Ohio State commit now. Some other top Rutgers targets to watch include Shareef Miller, Qaadir Sheppard and Chris Barr. An interesting side note: Rutgers commit Deonte Roberts is a former teammate of Curtis Samuel.

Recent Commitments: Ronnie James.
Visitor News: 2016 prospect Kelvin Harmon visited this past weekend, and Rutgers is the early favorite.

9. Iowa

Iowa continues to recruit like, well, Iowa. The Hawkeyes did beat out the Buckeyes for offensive lineman James Daniels, a minor victory after losing out on Justin Hilliard. Elsewhere, Iowa was recently named the leader for Missouri athlete Michael Slater Jr. and Texas speedster Bryce Balous.

Recent Commitments: James Daniels.
Visitor News: Nothing scheduled before the season.

8. Maryland

Maryland has put together a nice class, and it would have been nicer if offensive coordinator Mike Locksley's son Kai had committed to them and not Florida State. While the Locksley miss stings, look for Maryland to move up in these rankings soon, as they sit in great shape for 4-stars Quarvez Boulware and Isaiah Prince.

Recent Commitments: Mike Majette.
Visitor News: Maryland recently hosted 2015 linebacker Shaq Jones, who is very interested in the Terps and could be in line for an offer soon.

7. Northwestern

Northwestern recently lost commitments from St. Edwards' David and Andrew Dowell, their only four-star prospects. Still, the Wildcats' class is solid from top-to-bottom, led by Cincinnati's Jordan Thompson. It will be interesting to see how Northwestern's stance on providing additional benefits to student-athletes as a private school impacts future recruiting.

Recent Commitments: Jacob Murray.
Visitor News: Nothing right now.

6. Nebraska

Nebraska checks in at sixth, and there's a pretty significant gap between them and seventh. Right now, the Huskers' prospects are high in quality and low in quantity. They have a good class so far, led by a pair of 4-stars from Colorado in Eric Lee and Avery Anderson.

247Sports 4-star Marquise Doherty, a running back from Missouri, is one of their top targets to keep an eye on. Bo Pelini's future may be having some impact on Nebraska's recruiting.

Recent Commitments: None.
Visitor News: Nothing until the season.

5. Michigan State

The Spartans have yet to see the recruiting bump one might expect from Big Ten and Rose Bowl championships. They did beat out Ohio State for Larry Scott, and quarterback commit Brian Lewerke was a participant at the Elite 11. Missing out on 4-star athlete Brian Cole was disappointing and a bit surprising, but Michigan State still has some pretty big targets on the board.

Columbus linebacker Anthony McKee looks like he'll be a Spartan, and MSU is in the running for Ricky DeBerry, Neville Gallimore and Mike Weber, all top national prospects.

Recent Commitments: Tyler Higby, Kaleel Gaines, Cameron Chambers (2016).
Visitor News: It's a big week for the Spartans, who host Weber, 2015 athlete John Kelly and top 2016 targets Josh King and Thiyo Lukusa tomorrow.

4. Michigan

The Wolverines boast the highest star average in the Big Ten, but they only have nine commitments so far. The recent commitment of Brian Cole was huge, adding to an offensive skill class that already includes top tight end Chris Clark. Though the Wolverines will probably miss out on Damien Harris, they are the odds-on favorite for their other running back target, Mike Weber.

Michigan could add four-star players Darian Roseboro, Asmar Bilal and Tyrone Wheatly Jr. in the near future. The Wolverines also have a shot at luring 5-star Keisean Lucier-South from southern California. Expect them to finish with a top 2-3 class in the B1G unless things go south on the field.

Recent Commitments: Brian Cole.
Visitor News: Michigan's BBQ recruiting weekend was once again a success. Expect things to be relatively calm until the season starts.

3. Wisconsin

The Badgers have a real shot at finishing with their best class in recent history. Only once in 15 years have they had a top-30 class (2001), and according to the 247Composite this year's partial class is the highest-ranked in that span. Gary Andersen's Utah connections have also paid off, as the Badgers plucked dual-threat QB Austin Kafentzis from Sandy, Utah. He should help them better establish Andersen's spread offense.

Stereotypically, the Badgers' top five prospects include three offensive linemen and two tight ends. The big target to watch is A.J. Alexander, a 6-foot-4 receiver/tight end from Virginia (he holds an OSU offer). Alexander could bring an added dimension to the Badgers offense: a big, explosive pass-catcher.

Recent Commitments: Jake Pickard, Dominic Sheppard.
Visitor News: Quiet until the season.

2. Ohio State

The Buckeyes check in at number two in the first B1G recruiting rankings, but it's temporary; the Buckeyes will likely finish with the conference's top class. With elite targets Damien Harris, Torrance Gibson, Drew Richmond, Matthew Burrell and others still on the board, the Buckeyes figure to finish with one of the nation's top classes again.

Recent Commitments: Joshua Alabi, Josh Moore.
Visitor News: With fall camp starting, don't expect many more visitors before September. Once the season starts, we'll start seeing big time prospects in town every weekend.

1. Penn State

The Nittany Lions jumped out to a hot start and have established the Big Ten's best recruiting class to date. With one commitment in the last month Penn State is just about done, as sanctions forbid them from signing more than 20 kids in this class. Candidates to round out the class include top targets John Reid, Jordan Whitehead and Christian Wilkins.

Recent rumors indicate that 4-star QB Brandon Wimbush could flip to Stanford, so that's obviously a huge story to watch.

Recent Commits: None.
Visitor News: Not much on the 2015 front, but Penn State hosted a few underclassmen yesterday – including Aaron Mathews, one of Pennsylvania's best.

Rankings Overview

No School Commits Scout ★ AVG Rivals ★ AVG 247 ★ AVG ESPN ★ AVG ★ Avg
1 PENN STATE 18 3.56 (6) 3.61 (5) 3.61 (5) 3.50 (5) 3.57
2 OHIO STATE 14 3.36 (17) 3.29 (16) 3.36 (15) 3.50 (6) 3.38
3 WISCONSIN 18 3.17 (21) 2.78 (22) 3.06 (20) 3.11 (31) 3.03
4 MICHIGAN 9 3.89 (20) 3.67 (29) 3.67 (28) 3.67 (20) 3.73
5 MICHIGAN STATE 12 3.33 (24) 3.00 (35) 3.17 (26) 3.40 (28) 3.25
6 NEBRASKA 11 3.27 (30) 3.36 (28) 3.18 (33) 3.18 (30) 3.25
7 NORTHWESTERN 16 2.88 (33) 2.75 (31) 2.94 (30) 2.94 (36) 2.88
8 MARYLAND 16 2.75 (47) 2.69 (33) 3.06 (35) 3.23 (NR) 2.74
9 IOWA 14 2.93 (35) 2.57 (43) 2.93 (44) 3.00 (NR) 2.86
10 RUTGERS 18 2.72 (45) 2.29 (55) 2.93 (46) 3.00 (NR) 2.72
11 ILLINOIS 12 2.92 (48) 2.75 (46) 2.92 (48) 2.67 (NR) 2.81
12 PURDUE 13 2.90 (59) 2.54 (59) 2.92 (50) 2.92 (NR) 2.82
13 INDIANA 10 3.00 (51) 2.90 (59) 3.00 (60) 3.10 (NR) 3.00
14 MINNESOTA 8 2.78 (70) 2.56 (79) 3.00 (79) 2.89 (NR) 2.81

Number in parentheses is national rank


Comments Show All Comments

Citrus's picture

Beating the brakes off of Penn State in Happy Valley is going to be extra pleasurable this year. 

+28 HS
sharks's picture

Good to see that it appears the whole conf. is apparently recruiting better. I missed the St. Ed twins decommit- anyone know what happened there and are they really trending towards Kentucky?

A man got to have a code...

+3 HS
DCNick's picture

The only Big Ten schools that they both have offers from are Indiana, Illinois and Northwestern. The only SEC schools are Vandy and Kentucky. They are both 4 stars so that's kind of surprising. Perhaps they want to earn offers from some better programs. They seem like the kind of in-state guys that OSU may offer if they miss on bigger out of state targets.

kholmes's picture

Sounds like Fitzgerald wasnt too pleased about how it went down.

+2 HS
Byaaaahhh's picture

I'm reading the justification Fitzgerald and Pelini have on abolishing NSD, and I think it's a little stupid. A lot of binding commitment that doesn't really help anybody, to be honest.

kholmes's picture

Agree with you that abolishing the NSD making little sense. Allowing recruits to sign at any time just sounds like we will see scenarios where coaches are trying to pressure someone into signing it before they really think it through (even if there is small cooling off period of 48 hrs like Pelini suggests). There is really no upside to a kid having to go to a school that he no longer wants to attend. That said, i do think an early signing period would be good as it would force the issue of allowing official visits earlier than fall of senior year (which would be a good thing for B1G schools to get visits from recruits in south and west). 

FROMTHE18's picture

wait for the season to play out, if PSU performs as I think they will, things will change for them. 

CincyOSU's picture

I don't know why so many people think this way? You don't think these kids know the situation they are walking into? Hell, it's probably a SELLING point for PSU....come help rebuild our program and play right away. These kids are only going to have 2 years of the bowl ban and the scholarship restrictions are loosening...this team could be competitive again by their Jr/Sr years.

Could a few kids flip(Wimbush)...of course, but I wouldn't hold my breath for a mass exodus.

+7 HS
kc_buck's picture

CincyOSU... I agree with you. Penn State football will be just fine (or better).

+5 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

Exactly. People keep saying their class will "fall apart" once the season starts, but they're not realizing that immediate playing time is precisely what Franklin (and BOB) is selling. I wouldn't bet on them slipping.

+2 HS
THEOSUfan's picture

I remember saying 2 years ago that Christian Hackenburg would never suit up for Penn State once he realized how devastated that program would be due to the sanctions.

I've since turned in my license to operate as an oracle.

+3 HS
ToetotheFace's picture

Competitive again? Yeah they aren't an elite program for the time being, but 8-4 and 7-5 is solid with their restrictions, and they have one of the most promising QBs coming back. Yeah they won't have a lot of depth, and they are in the tougher division, but to say that recruits for NEXT YEAR have to wait a long time for this program to be successful is pretty ridiculous, especially when there are already movements to end the penalty now by important people. They won't have a lot of depth but Franklin is a good coach and at the top of their depth chart they are very solid for the most part, not to mention that Franklin is a great recruiter who will continue to get good talent even with restrictions.

Hell, a lot of players would rather get big time playing time to help PSU rebuild than many other situations.

+1 HS
Barnsey69's picture

Wow, hadn't heard the Wimbush rumor...that is interesting. Stanford is making some noise, especially if they lure Ben Edwards as well.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

+2 HS
tussey's picture

Everyone loves to rip on ESPN but what is funny is that our class has the highest star average from them.

+4 HS
Patriot4098's picture

And it blows my mind.

"Evil shenanigans!"     - Mac

BeijingBucks's picture

I'm not sure what it is because I stopped watching them.  But in print at least the occasional times I am drawn there (trip fall and accidentally click a link) it feels they are toning down their anti Buckeye rhetoric a tad.

Of course, time will tell....

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

HoopHal's picture

Good for Stanford. If he does not commit to the Buckeyes I hope he flips to Stanford. But remember, Ben,unlike Auburn, One actually has to go to class at Stanford.

+4 HS
robobuck's picture

Same at tOSU

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

+1 HS
RunningFree's picture

I'm not sold on Franklin until PSU takes the field.  Even then, we won't get the full picture until a couple years have passed.  Hoke brought in some "great" recruiting classes during his time, and well... look how that has turned out.  Time will tell if Franklin can handle, and coach, top talent a lot better than Hoke has.

+4 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

It's a shame to hear about the Dowell brothers.

As for Wimbush it'll be telling if he has a full load of AP classes on his schedule this year.

+1 HS
Byaaaahhh's picture

it'll be telling if he has a full load of AP classes on his schedule this year.

May or may not. I think Stanford has some stringent AP standards and many AP credits won't count for them. I'll be impressed if he takes them anyways, but in terms of necessity, there's not a whole lot of official benefit.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

That wasn't idle speculation on my part.

northcampus's picture

Losing the St Ed's twins to Kentucky or Vanderbilt is a disaster for Northwestern's class, and bad news for the conference.  I've visited UK numerous times and I can see why an Ohio kid without strong interest from OSU would find the program attractive (especially with the Stoops/Marrow ties in Ohio), but programs such as Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, and NW should be able to put together competent recruiting pitches to bring in these 3/4 star Midwest kids that are trending to UK, U of L, UC, and other non-B1G programs.

I know most only care about OSU around here, but UK coming into Ohio and beating out every B1G program besides OSU and UM for kids is troubling for the future of the conference (I didn't include PSU because they seem to be more focused on PA/MD/VA/DC).  Recruiting is a national game now, but Ohio will always be kind to the B1G, no matter where expansion takes college football.

+2 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

With one commitment in the last month Penn State is just about done, as sanctions forbid them from signing more than 20 kids in this class.

We'll wear the B1G recruiting crown again as long as this holds up, HOWEVER, if Penn State gets the scholarships back next month and takes the full 25, it might be tough. There's more reductions coming to their sanctions, whether we like it or not.

-1 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

It will be interesting to see how much of an early impact the freshman from these future classes will make once they get to OSU, considering that many of Urb's recruits are starting tot become starters. I mentioned in a different thread that this year is the first year this is the first year that we will see mostly Urb's recruits on the field. Depending on future QB development, Urb's vision of speed and going from A to B as fast and hard as you can will really shine through and hopefully swing like a pendulum, gaining momentum along the way.

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

+1 HS
Jabba1977's picture

I cannot wait to see Urbs recruits gel on the field together!!


Seattle Linga's picture

IMO - I think Urban is really chomping at the bit to wrap this class up - of coarse NSD isn't until February but I think he knows he has the potential to be the number on class in the nation if things really slant our way. 

+1 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

Mathematically impossible to pass Alabama with only 20 scholarships.

Rob Reese's picture

The Wolverines boast the highest star average in the Big Ten

Not bad.  Old Brady's out there crootin' impressively this year.   I think he needs another 142 offensive linemen though, like his last several classes.

Alumni lounge attracts pretty people