Big Ten Football Recruiting Class Rankings: August 5, 2014

By John Brandon on August 5, 2014 at 1:05 pm
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

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